Skirts have a long history. In fact, it’s mankind’s second-oldest garment, next only to loincloths. Depending on culture and traditions, both men and women wore skirts. This includes the ancient Egyptians, the dhoti in India, kilt in Scotland, the Japanese kimono, the Chinese cheongsam, the Arabic thobe, the African Senegalese kaftan and the Christian cassock.
Women used to wear long skirts not just out of modesty but to flaunt their economic status since fabric used to be very expensive. Over the years, the length of skirts dictated the fashion zeitgeist — short skirts for the 1920s, long for the 1930s and shortest during from 1967-1970.
Table of Contents
- Skirt Types Chart
- Gypsy (Tiered)
- High Waisted
- Mermaid (Fishtail)
- Pencil (Tube)
- Knife Pleated
- Fix Box
- Fall/Winter Skirt
- Inverted Pleat Skirt
Skirt Types Chart
Here’s a great overview chart showcasing the different types of skirts.
A-line skirts are fitted at the waist and hips and get wider nearer to the hem. If you look at the way this skirt is shaped, it is similar to the letter A, hence its name. One of the biggest assets of purchasing an A-line skirt is that it is a great option for both casual and business-type dress, so you can wear it to work or on an evening out, and it looks good in both situations.
Asymmetrical skirts are skirts that have different lengths throughout the skirt, giving a unique look that befits almost any occasion. The most popular types of asymmetrical skirts are now the ones that are knee-length or shorter in the front and longer in the back, giving them a very elegant look regardless of their color or other features. They can be made longer on one side than the other, different lengths throughout the skirt, come to a point in the front, or even have two separate lengths in the front, but any skirt with varying lengths can be called an asymmetrical skirt.
A bell-shaped skirt flares out on either side and can come in numerous styles, including pleated and many different lengths. These skirts can be made out of various types of materials and colors, and the flare gives them an elegant look that many women consider more on the formal side. Bell-shaped skirts often look like they are layered, and they look great in both solid colors and various patterns.
Bubble skirts are unique in that they have a very pronounced hem that draws together a puffed-out look resembling a bubble. They are often pleated, although they don’t have to be, and the puffiness at the hem gives them a very unique look that is difficult to ignore. If you want to wear a skirt that attracts attention, the bubble skirt is the one for you.
Although bustles are usually associated with a design that is included in the back of a skirt, bustled skirts can have that look in the front as well. Whenever you see a skirt that has a bunched-up look either in the back or all over it, this can be considered a bustled skirt. Bustled skirts can also be shorter in front and much longer in the back, which truly accentuates the character of the bustle.
Broomstick skirts are long skirts, or maxi skirts, that are pleated all the way down. The pleats are usually narrow in width and provide the skirt with a flowing, casual look that also exudes comfort and style. Broomstick skirts often have elastic waists to make them even more comfortable, as well as various patterns and bright colors to make them more enticing for women to wear. If you’re looking for a cute, casual skirt to wear to the movies or a night on the town, a broomstick skirt could be just what you need.
Circular skirts are simply skirts with a round look instead of a straight or puffy look, which includes most skirts. These skirts can come in many different lengths and can be pleated or un-pleated. They have a nice flowing characteristic that make them both fashionable and comfortable, which is one of the many reasons they are so popular.
Made of denim material, these skirts can be light or dark, casual or formal, faded or plain, and long or short. Many denim skirts are made just for casual outings, while others are so dressy that they can even be worn to the office. When it comes to denim skirts, there is no end to the styles and designs you have access to, because there are even skirts with rhinestones, colorful graphics, and a faded look that is now so popular. You can even choose between blue and black denim, giving you options you simply don’t have with other types of skirts.
A dirndl skirt is a peasant skirt that consists of a tight-fitting bodice and a look that is full and wide. Popular in printed patterns, dirndl skirts are very popular in certain parts of the world, including Austria and Bavaria, and are gaining popularity everywhere else as well. Although they can come in any length, they are most often found in a knee-length style.
Flared skirts jut out a little and usually have folds that allow them to gently flare out whenever you walk. When the wearer is standing still, the folds are a little more obvious, but they are needed for the effect whenever you walk or twirl while wearing the skirt. Flared skirts have a simple yet elegant look that looks especially good in formal settings such as the work environment.
These two skirt types are very similar but do have differences. Gored skirts normally have an A-lined shape that is sectional, while godet skirts have fabric pieces sewn into them that give them a flared look around the hemline. If you view the skirts in silhouette it is easier to see the difference, and some designers have even created skirts that have gored panels, although somewhat modified, and inserts shaped like godets. The skirts are often seen on runways and have a sexy look that many women love.
Gypsy skirts, or tiered skirts, were originally made for dancing and always consist of versatile designs and colorful fabrics. They are extremely comfortable but also pleasant to look at, and they usually have a flare to them that makes the skirt swing back and forth with any type of movement. It is almost always a midi or maxi skirt.
As the name implies, these skirts fit high at the waist and normally have a waist that is very wide as well. As soon as you look at a high-waisted skirt, you notice the difference between this type of skirt and others, because the high waist is always very pronounced and noticeable. High-waisted skirts can come in any length and in many different materials, but they always have a very unique waist that sits very high on the natural waistline.
A layered skirt consists of several layers, or sections of material from top to bottom. It can be long or short, but it always has several layers of material throughout the skirt. Most layered skirts contain the same material and color over the entire skirt, although some of them have layers of various colors and even materials to make them a bit more interesting.
A maxi skirt can come in any color, fabric, or style, but the thing that makes it different is that it is a full-length skirt, with a length that reaches to the floor. In addition to evening gowns and other formalwear, other skirts also come in this length, including skirts made of fabrics such as denim. If you like both comfort and style together and don’t want to worry about showing too much skin, maxi skirts are for you.
Mermaid skirts are so named because of their resemblance to the shape of a mermaid. These skirts are almost in an hourglass shape, with a wide top, much narrower middle section around the knees, and a flaring out at the bottom of the skirt. They are attractive and more formal than casual in nature, and even come in shorter lengths, which narrow at the area half-way between your thigh and your knees before flaring out into a larger design.
Miniskirts come in a wide selection of lengths. Some are so short they reach only to your thighs, while others stop right above the knee. Any skirt that is short and ends before the knee is considered to be a miniskirt, and they are very popular with younger females. They also come in a wide variety of colors and materials.
There are several characteristics that make peasant skirts unique, starting with the fact that they are long in length and usually have a lot of pleats or gatherings on them. Peasant skirts can also be made of two or three different types of materials, and they often have several levels of pleats. They are a comfortable and fashionable way to dress and are popular with many women of all ages.
Although they can come in various lengths, pencil skirts are always straight skirts that fit tightly against your skin. They have a long, flat look and are very common among professional and business women. Of course, pencil skirts can also be casual in nature, but their unique characteristic is that they are very straight and narrow.
There are many different types of pleats, including narrow and wide, small and large. In fact, pleats come in many different sizes and types, so regardless of your personal preferences and tastes, you can easily find a pleated skirt that meets your approval. They come in many different lengths as well, which means you can find pleated skirts that are long, short, or in between.
Poodle skirts were very popular in the 1950s but can still be seen today. They describe the design on the skirt itself – a poodle – that is usually in a contrasting color from the skirt itself. The colors of the skirts can range from pink to black and even red and blue, and the poodle is usually sewn on the skirt separately. It is also sometimes made of a different fabric than the rest of the skirt, including chenille.
Sarong skirts are made out of a long scarf-like material that you can easily wrap around yourself to make a skirt or scarf, as well as other articles of clothing. In addition, sarong skirts are extremely popular at the beach and can be used to cover up your swimsuit. Because of this, sarong skirts are usually made of thin, lightweight materials, and they can also come in various colors and designs.
Also called a puffball or bouffant skirt, these skirts resemble the skirts that skaters use and are usually short and high-waisted, with a hemline that is always above the knee. The skirts are made of very lightweight materials and have a look similar to a circle, which gives them a flowing look every time you move or dance in them.
With the comfort of a pair of shorts and the elegance of a skirt, skorts are perfect for a variety of occasions. They are made like shorts but have a skirt on top of the shorts, and come in everything from denim to cotton, as well as many others. They look like skirts to other people, but the wearer knows and can enjoy the fact that there are shorts underneath the skirt element.
Straight skirts are very similar to pencil skirts but are not usually as narrow or close-fitting as pencil skirts. They come in many different lengths and can be casual or formal in design, but they always go straight down and have no pleats, puffiness, or other special features. They are a basic skirt that is perfect for the workplace, which is why so many professional women wear them.
Trouser skirts are actually trousers, but they are made out of material that flares a lot, so if you’re standing with your legs close together, they look just like skirts. Some trouser skirts have a skirt panel included in the back of the item, but however they are made, they always look like regular skirts from most distances.
Also called a balloon or bubble skirt, these skirts have a lot of fullness and hems that are tucked back under the skirt, which creates a balloon effect. Tulip skirts were very popular in the 1950s but are making a comeback in many parts of the U.S. today. They can have irregular hems and overlapping panels, and they look like an inverted tulip, hence their name.
Very popular among dancers and little girls who like to twirl around while they play, tutus are made of a thin veil-like material called tulle, and they can be made by using one piece of tulle or dozens of strands of tulle placed together. Tutus can also be made of materials such as nylon, gauze, tarlatan, or muslin, among others.
A wrap skirt is one in which the wearer must wrap the skirt around the body once or twice to get it to close properly. It is usually secured with a tie instead of a zipper or buttons, and you can tell a wrap skirt simply by looking at it. It is often worn by people who want a more casual look that is also comfortable. Wrap skirts come in many different lengths and materials, and they are one of the easiest types of skirts to make yourself because of their simplicity.
An underskirt, also known as a petticoat, or a slip, is meant to be worn underneath a dress or another skirt. It is worn to help the dress or skirt hand on the body smoothly, to prevent any chafing on the skin, to protect against perspiration, and to add extra warmth.
When a skirt is “Knife pleated”, it means that it is a sharply creased and narrow pleat, with one outside fold and one inside fold, usually made by folding a series of pleats in the same direction. They are layered one over the other with all the pleats pressed, facing in the same direction. A knife pleated skirt is the most commonly worn type of pleat, and it can be worn either in the daytime or as nightwear, depending on how long it is and the type of fabric.
A draped skirt is an above the knee or knee length skirt that has loose folds which drape off on one end at waist level. This style makes for a very slimming and contouring effect. They are most suitably worn for formal and semi-formal settings, or for party attire.
An accordion styled skirt is a tight pleated, full circle skirt that has narrow, evenly spaced vertical folds pressed into the fabric. This results in alternate raised and recessed ridges. The width of the pleat is widest at the hem, gradually becoming more narrow as it moves down towards the waist, which gives the accordion skirt a flared look. Its name stems from the fact that when you spread open its fabric, it resembles an accordion. They are soft, flowy, and come in a variety of fabrics and lengths.
A skirt that is ruffled will have just that, ruffled all throughout the skirt, or going towards the bottom of the skirt. This creates a fun, flowy and voluptuous appeal. Ruffled skirts come in all shapes and sizes, and can be worn casually, semi-formally, as party wear, and less commonly, formally. Ruffled skirts are often worn as dancing attire. They are most often seen long, at ankle length but can be much shorter, at the upper thighs, as well.
A fly skirt, or a flared skirt, are designed to flare out a lot from the hem. They tend to be on the shorter side, at either knee length, ankle length, or calf length. Their fabric is usually cotton, linen, silk, satin, lace, or nets. Depending on the skirts particular fabric and design, they are worn best as casual, formal, or party wear.
Fix box skirts are also known as box pleated skirts or box skirts. The two upper folds of the pleat face in opposite directions, with the two under folds laid toward each other. The seam is located on the inside. These skirts typically lay at upper thigh to knee length.
As the name implies, a button-up skirt is a skirt that sports buttons, (usually running down the front of the skirt), however, the skirt can sometimes button up on the side. These skirts tend to be at around knee length, but can be longer or shorter. They come in a variety of fabrics, but mainly in denim. Button-Up skirts work best as casual, party, and business, casual attire, depending on the design.
Panel skirts are typically long, flowy, or straight skirts that go down to the ankles. This length may vary slightly depending on the particular panel skirt. Ballroom skirts, for example, are almost always paneled skirts. They are great for formal wear, dance (ballroom) attire, or casual.
Trumpet skirts, also known as mermaid skirts, give a slimming effect by hugging your hips tightly. The flared out bottom of the skirt looks like the tail of a fish, and combined with the form-hugging waistline, is designed to accentuate curves. They are most often calf length or ankle length and are most fitting as either party wear or formal wear.
A Cullote is a combination of shorts/pants and a skirt. They are usually flowy, with silk and a variety of other fabrics being used. Most commonly, they are found at a little above knee length but range from upper thigh length to ankle length as well. Cullotes are made to be worn as formal wear and party wear, but they can also come as undergarments.
A Cowl skirt, similar to a straight or A-line skirt, hugs the hips, drawing attention to the waistline, and then flare out slightly at the bottom. They tend to be worn in formal and casual settings, falling at either knee length, calf length, or ankle length. Silk, cotton, wool, lace, and linen are all the most commonly used fabrics in cowl skirts.
Skirts that fall into the fall or winter category are made of thick, warm fabric, such as leather, wool, or polyester. They tend to be pleated and hang at ankle level most often. Fall and winter skirts are suitable for casual, semi-formal, formal, and party wear. Fall and winter skirts can really be any style of skirt, as long as it is made with a warm fabric.
A sheath skirt features a silhouette style fitting snug against the body. Its hemline can be anywhere from mid-thigh to mid-calf. The focal point of these is intended to be the waistline. The shorter a sheath skirt is, the better suited it is for parties or cocktail party attire. The longer it is, the more it drifts toward being office wear.
The peplum skirt is a type of design, most often seen in a pencil or tube skirt. They showcase the waist, with an extra piece of fabric cinching the waistline. They are most often worn right above the knees. Their sophisticated and stylish appeal looks great as semi-formal and formal wear.
A pegged skirt can also be classified as a pencil skirt. It is narrow, tapers off at the bottom, and are usually cuts off at the knee. They are great for semi-formal and formal wear and depending on the cut, can sometimes be worn casually. You’ll find that pegged skirts are more often than not of cotton, wool, linen, or silk material.
A tulle is a fine mesh net fabric. The Tulle style can come in the form of a bubble, ruffled, or straight skirt. The best example is the cut you see on the bottom of a lot of wedding dresses. This is fluffed up and the shapely look, created by the tulle, is what you see in a Tulle skirt. The tulle can be found on top of the fabric or underneath. It can be made from different fabrics, including nylon, silk, and cotton.
Inverted Pleat Skirt
An inverted pleat skirt is the same as a box pleat skirt, with the only difference being if the pleat is on the right side of the skirt or not. It is sewn, with two equal folds of fabric, folded toward one another, so that they meet at the center of the pleat on the front. More simply, an inverted box pleat skirt is what a box pleat skirt looks like from behind.
Cotton is by far the most popular and one of the most comfortable types of fabrics, in part because of its breathable qualities. It is a soft and flexible fabric, which means skirts made of cotton are always extremely comfortable and accommodating. Cotton also comes in various thicknesses and can be blended with other fabrics, meaning you can always get what you’re looking for when buying this type of material.
Cotton Lawn or Voile
Also called lawn cloth, this type of fabric is made mostly of 100% cotton and is similar to batiste but with a little more structure. It contains very fine threads and resists wrinkles, keeps the skirt’s shape, and has lighter colors that can have an almost transparent quality. In addition to skirts, this material can also be used to make drapes and clothing for warmer weather.
Denim is a sturdy type of cotton with a twill weaving pattern and diagonal ribbing that comes either dyed, which is called indigo denim, or left white, which is what most other types of denim are made of. It is a warp-faced type of fabric that is most commonly used to make jeans and skirts. It is a very comfortable and popular material.
Jersey knit is a popular material for many types of clothing, and today it is made of a blend of synthetic fibers, wool, and cotton, although it was originally made of pure wool. It is known for very small, close-knit stitches, and its characteristics include its warmth, durability, looseness, and softness. In addition to skirts, items such as t-shirts can also be made of this material.
Like cotton, linen is durable, strong, and soft, but linen blends are made with other materials as well and have advantages that include an ability to become stronger when wet, a natural resistance to bacteria, and high absorption capabilities. Linen blend skirts are extra comfortable and low-maintenance, and it is also a great material for tote bags, shirts, and even accessories.
This is a mixture of cotton and polyester, and the reason it is so popular for skirts is because it is easy to care for and slow to wear out or stain. The polyester makes the skirt strong and resistant to wrinkles, while the cotton makes it soft and comfortable. The most common combination is 65% cotton and 35% polyester, although 50/50 blends are also very popular. Since cotton is generally more costly than polyester, this blend is a great way to enjoy a mostly cotton fabric at a much lower price.
Poplin fabric is very strong and is made of a plain weave of almost any type of fiber or blend. It is usually made with a corded surface, and it is now made of polyester, silk, wool, or rayon, or even a combination of these materials. Items such as skirts that are made of poplin tend to be slow to wrinkle and easy to iron, and it is often called broadcloth. Poplin can also be used for elegant upholstery or formal dresses.
Made from regenerated cellulose fiber, rayon has many grades and types. Rayon can imitate other fabrics, including cotton, wool, silk, and linen, and it is made from cellulose that comes from wood pulp. Although rayon is made with natural materials, it is not considered a natural fabric because the process to turn it into a wearable fabric is quite extensive. It is still, however, a very popular material for both skirts and other apparel.
Seersucker is usually made out of either a synthetic material or a material such as cotton. It has a surface made of both flat and puckered sections, giving it a truly unique and interesting look and feel. Seersucker often is striped or is made of materials with various patterns and designs on it, and it has a wrinkled appearance in many areas.
Stretch cotton is not exactly stretchy like elastic, but instead it has a small amount of “give,” which is just enough to make it super comfortable and accommodating. It has either a two-way or four-way stretch when being made, and it moves with you all day long, which makes it perfect when you’re looking for something that is both comfortable and long-lasting.
Twill fabric is a weave fabric that is usually made out of materials such as cotton, silk, or polyester, and it is characterized by parallel, diagonal ridges. Some of the many characteristics of a twill skirt include resistance to staining, its ability to cover up dirt in the fabric, its durability, and its attractive look. Twill also resists wrinkles and creases, and it gives skirts and other articles of clothing a unique and sturdy look, making it a very popular type of material to make a skirt from, not to mention items such as hats and even blazers.