Skirts: they’re a classic women’s garment that comes in countless styles and designs. A skirt is defined as a piece of clothing that’s secured around the waist and drops down around the legs. The result of this is an elegant, feminine item of apparel that’s hugely versatile and can be paired with all sorts of different tops, shoes, and accessories.
Skirts come in all different lengths, from thigh-level to knee-length to calf-height to floor-length. The length of a skirt can determine the occasion that it’s suitable for. A tight miniskirt isn’t ideal for office wear but will look fantastic on a night out. Pencil skirts are a bit plain to wear for a dressy event but make for an appropriate business outfit.
Varying lengths of skirts create different proportions and are flattering for individual body types. In fact, one of the main factors to consider when selecting a skirt type for you is the silhouette that it will create for your body. Different varieties of skirts complement different body types more than others, so it’s in your best interest to try on several styles. When you try each style on, you can consider which one flatters your unique body. When a skirt is a right fit for your body type, you’ll feel comfortable and confident.
A mini skirt is defined almost entirely by its length, which is far shorter than many other skirt styles. The classic mini skirt design has a hem that hits less than a foot below the wearer’s bottom. Mini skirts leave most of the legs bare and revealed for a sexy, long-legged look.
Miniskirts date back far earlier in history than many people would imagine. Ancient Egyptian artwork shows acrobatic women wearing miniskirts. Archaeological research has revealed European figurines from between 5400 to 4700 B.C. wearing miniskirts. So, it’s clear that this variety of skirt is deeply rooted in human society.
While during the 1800s it was scandalous for women to show their ankles, skirts began becoming shorter and shorter in the 1920s, In particular, flapper skirts were an early example of skirts with shorter hemlines that revealed more of the legs. However, flapper skirts only neared the shortness of the miniskirt for a brief period of time between 1926 and 1927. After that, “on trend” skirts and dresses became longer again.
One famous early example of the mini skirt was seen on Josephine Baker, a famous singer and dancer in France during the 1920s. She wore a miniskirt made of bananas at the Folies Bergère music hall during her performance of La Folie du Jour.
According to various options, the miniskirt is synonymous with 1960s fashion. Rudi Gernreich is the designer who was at the forefront of the miniskirt craze in America during the 60s. Originally from Austria, Gernreich was, in his early years in the U.S. a costume designer for the company at which he danced, the Lester Horton Modern Dance Troupe. He then worked at a boutique in Los Angeles and his own fashion company, Rudi Gernreich Inc., was created in 1960. The December 1st, 1967 issue of TIME had the headline “The Miniskirt is Here To Stay” and featured miniskirt designs from Rudi Gernreich.
Main Features of Mini Skirts
- Since miniskirts are so tight, the seams are important. Seams should be placed strategically to create as flattering a look as possible. Many miniskirts have just two seams, one on either side of the body, which makes for a streamlined design. Princess seams are also a common choice – the style features two parallel seams running down the center of each leg, which creates an elongated line.
- Since miniskirts already have a leg-lengthening effect, they’re often worn with high heels. High-heeled shoes will further accentuate the length of the legs to make women appear taller and leaner.
- Miniskirts are made in all different colors and fabric. While black is a great go-to color for any occasion, you can also opt for a pop of color with a red, blue, purple, or green miniskirt. For big nights out and dressy parties, you can even go for a metallic miniskirt.
- Miniskirts are tight, so you can pair one with a voluminous top to create a balanced silhouette. Blouses with airy sleeves, loose T-shirts or tank tops, and boyfriend-style button downs all make great choices.
- The miniskirt was considered a symbol of youth rebellion in past decades, and this type of skirt is still generally worn by women of a younger age. But, it’s not a style that’s exclusive to teenagers; women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s can still comfortably rock a miniskirt.
In total contrast to a mini skirt, maxi skirts are defined by a low, flowing design. Maxi skirts range in length from just above the ankle to floor-length and have a relaxed, airy style.
While long, floor-length skirts have been worn by women since the 16th century, maxi skirts in their true form didn’t enter the women’s fashion scene until the 1960s. The creation of the maxi skirt is commonly attributed to famous fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, who worked on the design for an ankle-length skirt during this decade. In 1967, maxi skirts were becoming more popular than mini skirts, the trendiest skirt style of the previous decade.
By 1968, de la Renta’s iconic maxi dress design was acclaimed by major publications, namely The New York Times, and worn widely across the country. Before long, other major designers including Dior, Cardin, and YSL followed suit with their own takes on the maxi skirt, further cementing this skirt style as a fixture in women’s fashion. De la Renta’s earliest maxi dress was made of cotton lace and was specially designed for Elizabeth Arden Salon.
By the 1970s, maxi skirts and dresses had undoubtedly become a fashion craze in the United States. Along with its immense popularity came the appearance of boho designs. More specifically, kaftans were becoming popular and more widely worn.
Main Features of Maxi Skirts
- Maxi skirts are often worn with sandals during the summer months. This type of skirt is highly comfortable to wear in warm weather because they’re made from lightweight material and allow for plenty of air to reach the legs.
- Many women choose to tuck in their shirts when the wear a maxi skirt. This emphasizes the waistline, making it look thinner and narrower. This slimming effect is one of the key reasons why maxi skirts are so flattering for women of all different shapes and sizes.
- For a striking warm-weather look, try pairing a cropped top with a maxi skirt and sandals. This summery pairing is both youthful and elegant. Plus, wearing a crop top with a maxi skirt makes for a balanced ensemble, as the exposed midriff evens out the completely covered legs.
- Wear a maxi skirt with high heels or wedges for a dressier take on this classical summer skirt. Wearing heels with this type of skirt will make your legs appear extra long for an elegant appearance. Plus, the length of a maxi skirt will draw eyes down to your shoes, so you can make a bold footwear statement with a fashionable pair of heels.
- A kaftan is a specific variety of maxi dress that originated a man’s tunic in Eastern countries. It features an ankle-length skirt and is loose-fitting. Kaftans are quite lightweight and generally have wide, airy sleeves.
- Maxi skirts went out of style in the 1980s and 1990s. Maxi skirts have an organically bohemian style, which didn’t mesh with the structured styles of the 80s or the edgy punk fashion in the 90s. However, maxi skirts made a comeback in the 2000s and are a widely loved garment among women today.
A-line skirts are a classically feminine and elegant garment. Named for the A-shape that it creates from waist to ankle, A-line skirts have remained popular throughout history and are still worn by women to this day.
A-lines are characterized by a fitted waist and a skirt that widens out to the hem, creating a shape like a triangle, or a capital A. The flare at the hem of an A-line skirt gives it volume and movement, making for an eye-catching style ideal for dressy occasions.
A-line skirts are considered to be very flattering. This is because the fitted waist with gradual volume toward the bottom emphasizes the midsection in a way that makes it look smaller or narrower. The gradual volume lengthens the leg line and creates ideal proportions. This is likely one of the main reasons why A-line skirts have stayed in style seemingly indefinitely.
Main Features of A-Line Skirts
- A-line skirts are an extremely popular choice for wedding dresses. This is because floor-length A-line skirts look fabulous with a long train. Also, the A-line cut is flattering and has a royal look, which many brides are aiming for.
- A-line skirts are characteristically tapered at the waist. This provides an ideal opportunity to wear a belt with the skirt to further accentuate the slimness of the midsection for a flattering silhouette. A belt can also add an interesting stylistic element to your A-line skirt outfit.
- A-line skirts vary in the amount of volume created by extra fabric underneath the skirt. Additional volume is required to create the characteristic diagonal line outward from the hips. This is traditionally created with layers of tulle.
Pencil skirts are one of the most commonly worn skirt types. They got their same because of the silhouette that they provide; fitting closely to the body, the line created by this skirt variety is as straight as a pencil.
Pencil skirts are tight-fitting much like their distant cousin, the mini skirt. However, these two types of skirts differ significantly in length. Pencil skirts are longer than mini skirts, with a hemline that either hits the knee or hits slightly lower than the knee. The result is a skirt that’s more appropriate for business and formal occasions while maintaining an attractive and feminine style.
The pencil skirt design dates back to 1954. It was originated by Christian Dior, and the very first pencil skirt belonged to his H-line collection. The collection was named with an H to refer to the silhouette, which was based on parallel lines – this is perfectly reflected in the straight style of a pencil skirt. Dior’s prior collection, “A-Line”, featured full skirts and nipped-in waistlines.
One of the defining characteristics of pencil skirts, especially early on in their conception, is that they inhibit women’s ability to walk. Pencil skirts are generally so tight and long that women wearing them have constricted leg movement. One can’t take normal-length strides while wearing a pencil skirt because the tight fabric prevents it. In the 50s, it was said that these skirts led women to “walk with a wiggle”.
To make walking in pencil skirts easier and more practical, slits were added at the back. Ranging in length from a few to several inches depending on the length of the skirt itself, these slits allowed women more range of motion so that they could take larger, more regular strides. The slit has stayed in fashion along with pencil skirts and can be found in many modern skirt designs.
Once pencil skirts burst onto the fashion scene in the 1950s, their popularity didn’t fade. In the 1980s, pencil skirts were seen as a key component of women’s’ power suits. Along with shoulder pads and voluminous blouses, pencil skirts became an unmoving stape in women’s office wear.
Main Features of Pencil Skirts
- Nowadays, pencil skirts are worn as both everyday office attire and a dressy, night-out garment. To give pencil skirts a professional style, pair it with a simple blouse and a structured jacket. For a sophisticated, eye-catching night-out look, wear a pencil skirt with an embellished top and strappy high heels.
- To counteract the movement-inhibiting quality that pencil skirts so often have, many clothing makers use stretch fabrics to construct them. Especially nowadays, elastane, Lycra, and other types of stretch fabrics are used to make pencil skirts that provide the slim, sexy silhouette of a pencil skirt without making walking in one a difficult feat.
- Pencil skirts are commonly paired with blazers and worn as business attire. The sleek, pulled-together look that’s achieved by this type of skirt is ideal for businesswomen and women in positions of authority. It creates a professional style while maintaining a look of elegance.
- Pencil skirts were a staple for cultural and historical icon Marilyn Monroe. She became known for the “wiggle walk” that was necessary to move in a tight pencil skirt. Many people may even look to Ms. Monroe as one of the key reasons for pencil skirts’ long-lasting popularity. One of her most iconic appearances in a pencil skirt is in the romantic film Some Like it Hot.
- Similarly to miniskirts, pencil skirts are quite tight and form-fitting. So, extra care must be taken inseam placement. The aforementioned princess seam design is both elegant and figure-flattering, making it a common choice among women.
The bell skirt has a simple, classic, and feminine style. It has, unsurprisingly, the basic shape of a bell, fitting tight at the waist and flowing outward. While it’s not as voluminous as the ballerina skirt, the bell skirt isn’t tight or close-fitting – it has a light, flowy look that’s reminiscent of early women’s fashion.
Bell skirts were all the rage during the Victorian era. Commonly paired with corsets to create a cinched in waistline, bell skirts were worn by women on a daily basis. Although today it may seem remarkable that women wore full-length bell skirts just about every single day, it was the socially acceptable garment of the era. The bell skirt created a feminine silhouette while keeping almost the entire body covered for modesty. Bustle pads were often added to bell skirts at this time in history to push out the upper portion of the skirt for greater volume.
The bell skirt was a staple in virtually all women’s wardrobes during the 1840s. Dresses during this time often features a bell skirt with an off-the-shoulder top. Bell skirts at this time were also quite long, almost always floor-length. If a woman were to wear a shorter skirt during this period, even one that just revealed the ankles or part of the calf, it would have been seen as improper. A decade later, in 1850, flounces and tiers became a popular addition to the classic bell skirt, adding both volume and visual interest.
Bell skirts, both in the 1800s and today, often have pleats. The box pleat is a classic and common style, featuring large, squared-off pleats that create volume all the way down the length of the skirt. Pleats can also emphasize a fitted waist, creating a balanced, flattering, and beautiful silhouette.
Main Features of Bell Skirts
- While bell skirts are similar in volume to many A-line skirts, the two skirt types differ in the lines created by the design. While an A-line skirt has fabric extending in a straight line from the hip, bell skirts create a curved line out from the hip. The result is a softer, more full look.
- Bell skirts are generally made from thick fabric that holds its shape. This will effectively create a full bell shape. Commonly used fabrics include brocade, linen lawn, or cotton.
- Bell skirts have a lot of volume; this skirt type may be the most voluminous of any other item on this list. So, to balance out that volume, you should pair a bell skirt with a form-fitting top. Otherwise, it could end up looking like you’re drowning in fabric.
- Bell skirts are a fantastic option for women who are self-conscious of their lower halves. The full skirt will cover up any problem areas while creating ideal proportions with a fitted top.
Broomstick skirts are characterized by their purposefully wrinkled look. This type of skirt is quite long and typically hits the ankle. It’s called a broomstick skirt because the distinctive wrinkled effect is created with a method using the handle of a broomstick, around which the skirt is twisted to create the unique wrinkles.
Broomstick skirts have a loose, flowing style similar to that of a maxi skirt. This makes them a casual, easy-to-wear garment for warm weather. Women love broomstick skirts because they’re lightweight and comfortable while providing a stylish look. They’re often paired with a simple top, such as a solid-colored tank, so that the skirt can be the star of the show.
Broomstick skirt cleaning is a bit trickier than laundering your average skirt because you have to take extra care to maintain the characteristic wrinkles. Start by machine washing it, then lay it down on a flat surface. Roll it from right to left (or vice versa, just not from bottom to top) and place about ten rubber bands going up the skirt (fewer rubber bands if it’s a shorter broomstick skirt). Leave it like this for 8 to 10 hours. Then, take off the rubber bands and let it line dry. This will leave your skirt with its distinct wrinkles intact after cleaning.
Main Features of Broomstick Skirts
- While broomstick skirt is the most common distinction for this type of skirt, it may also be called a peasant skirt, tiered skirt, hippie skirt, crinkled skirt, or gypsy skirt. These many names are used interchangeably to refer to a lengthy, flowing skirt with distinct wrinkles in the fabric.
- Broomstick skirts may be tiered for a fun visual detail. Tiers visually split the skirt into multiple sections, which emphasizes the length of the skirt and add slight additional volume. Tiered broomstick skirts have a distinctly bohemian vibe that pairs well with large, embellished belts and turquoise jewelry.
- Broomstick skirts are typically made from lightweight materials like linen, cotton, or chiffon. These breathable fabrics make broomstick skirts comfortable during the hot summer months despite their length – an excellent option for women who want to cover their legs but don’t want to overheat.
- Another theory behind the reasons for calling this type of skirt a broomstick skirt is that the wrinkles of the fabric look similar to broom bristles. Many can’t help but think of Cinderella with her broomstick and long skirt when they look at this unique skirt design.
Few things scream Americana more than blue jeans. Denim skirts are a cute take on your average pair of jeans, combining classic blue denim with the stylish cut of a skirt. Denim skirts vary from other skirt types on this list because they’re defined by the type of material that they’re made from, not by their length. So, denim skirts vary greatly in length from the shortest of miniskirts to full-length maxi skirts.
Denim skirts were first spotted on the fashion scene in the 1970s. During this era of hippie fashion, denim skirts were born from the idea to recycle aged denim jeans into skirts that dropped all the way down to the ankle. The earliest denim skirts had many of the same elements as a regular pair of jeans: belt loops, pockets, a tailored waistband, and a front zipper fly. These denim skirts also often had a patchwork style, using sections from jeans of different washes to create a varied look. That being said, denim skirts at this time weren’t always recycled; people in the 1970s began constructing denim skirts with jeans-like features from scratch.
During the 1980s, embellished denim skirts become all the rage. From extra pockets to decorative buttons and even flounces, the 80s made for offbeat denim skirt styles. The iconic denim skirt style from the 80s is the mid-thigh length with a row of buttons in a vertical line going straight down the middle of the front of the skirt.
Main Features of Denim Skirts
- Denim skirts can come in many different washes. The lightness or darkness of a wash will determine its color. Light wash denim skirts are pale in color; their shade may be compared to baby blue. Dark wash denim skirts are a deep navy color.
- Denim skirts may also come in black or white denim. These variations on the regular blue denim make for a unique look. White denim is a common pick during the hot summer months, while black denim has a dressed-up look and may be paired with formal accessories for a fun, night-out look.
- Denim is a classic neutral fabric, meaning that you can pair it with just about any other material, color, or print and still have a cohesive outfit. So, try pairing your denim skirt with a bright red, yellow, or orange T-shirt, or perhaps a large geometric print. Denim allows you to make bold fashion choices and try out new looks that you may not have tried before.
- Just like many jean pants, denim skirts often feature embellishments for added visual interest. Embroidery, patches, studs, colored stitching, piping, and painting are some of the main decorative elements incorporated in denim skirt designs. Denim skirts and jeans with embroidery, patches, and painting are reminiscent of fashion trends from the 1970s, with a playful hippie flare that many women enjoy wearing today.
- Instead of decorative touches, some denim skirts feature rips, fraying, and fringe. These denim styles came into fashion during the 1980s and 1990s during the grunge and hard rock trends. Ripped and fraying denim is in style to this day, especially for casual occasions and among young women.
Bubble skirts are hemmed using a unique bubble technique, giving the garment its name. A bubble hem tucks the edge of the fabric under and inward. This adds volume to the skirt while creating a playful, youthful look.
The first-ever bubble skirt can be traced back to French fashion designer Pierre Cardin in 1954. This was a socially conservative era following World War II, and the voluminous nature of this skirt went against tight clothing to reveal women’s curves. Cardin’s bubble skirts came along with the opening of “Eve”, his first boutique for women’s apparel. The Cardin bubble dress became popular all over the world and stayed in style throughout the 1950s. In 1956, Dior released his own take on the bubble dress, which was made out of red satin and is now on display at the Missouri History Museum.
Bubble skirts were also on trend in the 1980s, namely due to a voluminous skirt design released by Christian Lacroix during this decade. One famous example of a 1980s bubble skirt was worn by Princess Diana in 1987. The skirt featured black and white diagonal stripes. The voluminous hem sat just above her knees. Also, the skirt had pleats that accentuated the bubble effect of the hem, adding even more volume to the design. Princess Diana paired the bubble skirt with a white blazer and white pumps with a contrasting black toe section.
Main Features of Bubble Skirts
- Bubble skirts are commonly paired with tight, form-fitting tops to balance out the volume of the skirt. You may also find that pairing a bubble skirt with a crop top or bandeau makes for a stylish summer look.
- Bubble skirts may also be called “balloon skirts”. This is another name that refers to the characteristic volume at the hem of the skirt.
- Bubble skirts are often paired with off-the-shoulder tops. This combination is quite flattering. This is because the bubble skirt extends far away from the body and shows little skin, while off-the-shoulder tops reveal the entire collarbone for a balanced look.
- Bustier tops are a common accompaniment to bubble skirts for similar reasons as off-the-shoulder tops. Bustiers have a sweetheart necklace, showing cleavage and the collarbone. So, this revealing top complements the more conservative look of a bubble skirt.
Peplum skirts have been around since the 1800s and are an aesthetically interesting alternative to plain skirt styles. The peplum adds volume, visual detailing, and playfulness to a basic pencil skirt. Peplums emphasize the shape of your body between the hips and the waist. So, it’s a great choice of skirt for women with accentuated curves.
By definition, a peplum is a section of fabric added onto the waist of a garment. Peplums are commonly added onto dresses, shirts, and jackets as well as skirts. Peplum skirts began as a combination of two garments: a peplum worn as an overskirt, and a long, floor-length skirt underneath.
Now, there are several variants on the peplum skirt. But, one feature that stays largely consistent is the tightness of the skirt underneath the peplum itself. In order to emphasize the visual aspect of the peplum, the skirt itself is usually tight and form-fitting. Peplum skirts are also often knee-length or slightly shorter than knee-length. Peplum skirts that hit below the knee may be somewhat more difficult to walk in, but this length is also quite flattering for women and lengthens the line of the legs.
Peplum skirts and dresses were commonly seen in the 1800s as part of the floor-length bell skirts that were worn by women on a daily basis. Peplum skirts also gained prominence during the 1930s and the 1940s; during these decades, peplums were seen with greater variations, namely in length, volume, and aesthetic. Some peplums were quite simple, with no decorative elements, while others had ruffles, piping, or scalloping.
Peplum skirts are unique in that they may seamlessly be transitioned from office wear to night out attire. Since they’re a fashionable garment, peplum skirts are an on-trend choice for fun nights out with friends, parties, or even formal events like galas, banquets, and weddings. But, peplum skirts are also appropriate for the office – they look great when paired with a button down shirt and blazer.
Main Features of Peplum Skirts
- Peplums don’t have to be positioned in a perfect horizontal line that’s parallel to the floor. Some peplums are asymmetrical, meaning that they make a diagonal line with one side higher up on the body than the other. This is a more modern take on the peplum and makes for an eye-catching look.
- Peplums vary in volume. While some sit very close to the body, making one’s natural hip curves still visible, others are large and expand away from the body. While voluminous peplum skirts are striking and make for a high-fashion look, they may not be flattering on all body types. Peplum skirts with a lot of volumes were especially popular during the 1980s.
- Peplums are typically positioned right at the “natural waist”, which is slightly above the belly button but below the rib cage. It’s a misconception that the natural waist is located where the hip bones are. Peplums are placed at the natural waist because it’s the most figure-flattering spot for an extra piece of fabric. The natural waist is the slimmest part of your midsection, so the peplum will draw attention to that area for a thin overall appearance.
- Peplum skirts intended for day-to-day or business wear often feature belt loops so that they may be worn with your favorite belt. This adds a formal, less dressy touch to the typical peplum skirt.
Lisa has a Bachelor’s of Science in Communication Arts. She is an experienced blogger who enjoys researching interesting facts, ideas, products, and other compelling concepts. In addition to writing, she likes photography and Photoshop.