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What happened to the skirt, the history of skirt length! Or why don’t young girls wear a skirt in these days?

Updated on December 29, 2011

I do not know how fashion is in the rest of the world, but here in northern Europe the fashion to wear tights has now resulted in that some young girls and also some women walk around in tights/leggings or pantyhose without wearing any skirt! After a little thought I came to the conclusion that both skirt-length and the fashion with pantyhose/tights/leggings have a role in this! And I must say, no matter how beautiful or how young the women is, it simply looks as if they had forgotten something vital when they got dressed in the morning. And I really don’t know if it is the pants or the skirt that is missing!

This made me wonder why the skirts have gone from mini-skirts to the extreme “nothing”, and when will fashion turn around again into mini-skirts or to skirts with more fabric and length! And how did pantyhose turned into leggings that can be worn without any skirt and then back to pantyhose again and still without any skirt to go with them?

To be able to answer these questions I decided to go a little bit back in time! And I will start with the beginning of the last century! The following isn´t supposed to be read like an absolut truth regarding the years mentioned. It is simply for the point of showing how the length of skirt has changed during tha last century!

The ideal women in the early 1900 with no stomach!
The ideal women in the early 1900 with no stomach! | Source
Totally straight fashion!
Totally straight fashion!

A bit of skirt history!

In the early 1900s the fashion for women was “sanse ventre” which means that they used a corset of metal to squeeze in the stomach a lot, they should in fact look like they was cut in half in profile and didn’t have any stomach! At least the stomach wasn’t supposed to be visible and the chest should be grossly and sit on top of the stomach- less part. But their hips should at the same time be narrow like on a teenage boy.

To me this sounds like a total different body than the usual human body! I can´t imagine how it must have felt for those poor women that had to be dressed like that!

Skirt fashion in the early 1900s was a skirt that was tight over the hips and down to the knees, where the skirt then flared out in masses of frills and flounces. This fashion made it even worse, I think! It gave the women a rather dramatic and quite strange silhouette; they should look like they had only one leg and it can’t have been easy to walk for longer distances!

So, the women shouldn’t have any stomach, have one grossly chest and one leg! I certainly hope that fashion will not come back even if they were dressed and also more than properly covered with lots of fabric!

Around 1910 women began to wear long narrow divided skirts or dresses with petticoats. It was necessary since the women need to be more mobile and had to work as farmers, drivers and so on during the First World War. But for those women who didn’t have to work it still was a status symbol to have much fabric in the skirt and the skirts were long and wide.

Skirt length changed significantly from about 1915 when the length of the skirt was just below the knee. Now it was permissible to show a bit of the legs again! During the 1920s women were dressed in dresses that looked like a tunic with the waist located at the hip. Women were now supposed to look like they had no waist, no bust and no hips! But at least they could move around on their own.

At the same time as the stock market crash in the late 20´s, so did the skirt length and it fall drastically down to the calves. And during a couple of year after 1930 the skirt length falls a bit further down to about 10 cm above the ankle.

During the Second World War the skirts was again more for practical use, the length of the skirt raised again and women clothes looked more like a uniform. After the Second World War when there was possible to get more fabric, the skirts length dropped again to mid -calf and full length. But there was also another fashion trend; the “pencil skirt” that was a long and narrow skirt that again made it more difficult for women to walk! Why and who creates fashion that makes it difficult to walk?

In 1950 the skirt length rise a little again and was now located below the knee. After that the skirts became gradually shorter and looser until the 60´s when Twiggy and miniskirts make an entrance. In the middle of the 60´s the length on both dresses and skirts was barely on mid thigh level.

The very poplar fashion with miniskirts was maintained during the 70´s, and at the same time came an etno- wave and also a more political awareness which created a fashion with long, ankle-length skirts, wrap skirts and ruffles.

Around 1980 the dress was fashion, at least for older women, with tight skirts with length to the knee. Younger women did still wear the miniskirt.

During 1990 the skirt length remained at knee level more or less. But in 2003 the miniskirt was back again.

It is funny thing with fashion and in many ways fashion is a result of the time present. The fashion of skirt during the last century differs from practical to totally unpractical and also so unpractical that the poor women couldn’t move freely. It seems like the practical fashion dominates during war or other critical times. And in between those practical times fashion can develop at any direction.

Dressed in leggings but without skirt!
Dressed in leggings but without skirt!
Where is the skirt or the leggings?
Where is the skirt or the leggings?

And where is the skirt length now?

At the same time as the miniskirt emerged again during 2000 the tights have transformed from pantyhose’s to leggings with thicker fabric. And that seems to be very practical in many ways; you still show the legs but you don´t have to freeze to death! But even though this has been common on young girls for a couple of year, I can´t say that I like it. I always feel that they have forgotten something when they got dressed. The only good thing about it is that it must be very practical and also be very nice to wear.

But now I see a tendency that the leggings are transforming again, and this time back to thinner leggings that can’t be described as anything less than footless pantyhose.

But, here comes the worst; the skirt still seems to be missing all together!!

This isn’t the common way of dressing amongst young girls, not yet! But since some of the celebrity is dressed like this in public, I fear the worst!

And, I wonder, will the skirt length drop to at least miniskirts soon? Or will it drop to full length just for the cause of being very different? Some say that the skirt length is dependent on the economic situations in the world, and if that is right, maybe it isn’t a wonder that the skirt is totally missing now days and that the leggings or the tights becomes thinner and thinner!!

As you can see, I have no answers! I will just have to wait and see! But if history repeats itself, (and I sure hope it will) the skirt length will drop soon! I hope that fashion for women would be good looking, decent but yet sexy, comfortable and practical! How difficult can that be?

Some great quotes for you:

I do not have the right shape to be able to wear jeans - Margaret Thatcher.

The dress must adjust to a person’s standard and situation- Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Do not judge people from their clothes, some is poor on the outside and rich on the inside, and some is rich on the outside and poor on the inside! Barbara Ring.

Clothes do not create women, and the absence of clothes doesn’t make an actor! Carrol Baker

Look out for bears when the skirt length drops again!
Look out for bears when the skirt length drops again! | Source

Skirt length fashion summary!

The modern woman seems to get dressed after the motto; the more men can see, the less they have to imaging!

At last, I must share this story with you:

I read the following in an article about old believes among Swedish people. It was from the times when people believed in fairies, demons and other creatures, and it goes as follows;

If a women pulled up her skirt and showed the butt in front of a bear in the woods, it would make the bear disappear!

So, my conclusion: If that is right, the young girls of today can go calmly in the woods, at least for the bears!

Where will the length of skirts be during the decennium 2010 ?

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    • Mrs. J. B. profile image

      Mrs. J. B. 6 years ago from Southern California

      That metal corset made half the ladies back then swoon....Young girls that are in fairly good shape can get away with wearing just the spandex or leggings but when an older woman wears them and she has a little bulge here and there it is indeed very unattractive! I enjoyed this hub very much.

    • thougtforce profile image
      Author

      Christina Lornemark 6 years ago from Sweden

      Hi Mrs.J.B, yes, I hope that the fashion with corset never returns... I do agree with you about older women! Even if it is comfortable to wear I couldn't dress like that in public. I would feel quite naked! Thanks for coming by and leaving your interesting comment!

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 6 years ago from UK

      I too lament the gradual extinction of the skirt. There is an elegance to it that cannot be matched by tights alone. Nice bit of skirt history and the abominable bone corsets, well, I wonder how many suffered silent ailments by squeezing the abdomen into half!

      There is a naughty poem about skirts from a 'Carry on..' film which goes:

      ' If skirts grew any shorter

      Said the sweetie with a blush

      There'll be two more cheeks to powder

      And a lot more hair to brush!'

    • thougtforce profile image
      Author

      Christina Lornemark 6 years ago from Sweden

      Hi Docmo, "The extinction of the skirt", I love that!

      Yes, there is something about women in a skirt, and it simply does not look as well without it! Thanks for stopping by, and for your input to this hub! Your naughty poem is on the spot:)

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      A great hub , different and very interesting. I'm afraid I am not a skirt person myself I will wear one every so often and vow to carry on doing so, but do I?? No you've guessed the answer.

      Thanks for sharing this with us.

      Take care

      Eiddwen

    • thougtforce profile image
      Author

      Christina Lornemark 6 years ago from Sweden

      Hi Eiddwen, No, it isn’t always practical to wear a skirt, and many times the practical issues must win. But most women look good in skirt! I wear skirt mostly in my spare time, since it wouldn’t be practical at all in my work:) I am so happy to se you here, and many thanks for your comment!

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

      I haven't worn a skirt in a few years, you're right. I do wear my kilt to church on the kirkin and such but not out and about as I once did. Your on to something. Well Done! :) Katie

    • thougtforce profile image
      Author

      Christina Lornemark 6 years ago from Sweden

      Hi katiem2, No, skirts on women isn’t as common as it was before. And once you have been used to be dressed in pants, to put on a skirt feels a bit unusual and it often requires some pantyhose, which adds to down sides. But with thinner leggings it is much more practical even if it isn’t as elegant as with pantyhose! Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the missing skirt, your visits are always welcome!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Good hub! I don't wear skirts nearly as much as I used to. And I never noticed that other women don't either. Very observant and clever hub, and a vote up. :)

    • thougtforce profile image
      Author

      Christina Lornemark 6 years ago from Sweden

      Hi Genna East, This seems to be the case with all women who commented on this hub. I guess women today must be practical first and to dress just to look good come second! I am so glad you came by and added your comment to my hub! Maybe I shall change the hub after Docmos comment, "the extinction of the skirt" since it seems the skirt is extinct and not just missing!

    • Erin LeFey profile image

      Erin LeFey 6 years ago from Maryland

      Great hub. About six years ago I went to the stores to buy a work dress...I was told that they weren't in fashion any more. I think they are coming back so perhaps skirts are too. The but picture was downright scary. I still wear skirts with tights, but not with leggings...I do wear long shirts though. Great research and observations! namaste.

    • thougtforce profile image
      Author

      Christina Lornemark 6 years ago from Sweden

      Erin LeFay, Ah, finally, a women who sometimes wear a skirt:) Good to hear, and like you, I hope that both skirt and the work dress will come back. I also wear long shirts with legging, and even if it isn´t elegant, it is very comfortable and you are at least properly dressed! Thanks for your comment!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Hehee- great Hub!! I am known for never wearing pants, and I love short skirts and dresses, but I sure haven't gone out in panty hose and nothing else! Fascinating history, skirts have. Thanks for writing this!

    • thougtforce profile image
      Author

      Christina Lornemark 6 years ago from Sweden

      Hi Simone Smith, Good to hear that the skirt isn’t extinct yet! I think that women dressed in skirt looks so neat and stylish. And it is suitable in most situations also! Lets hope that it never become hot fashion and common to be dressed in just panty hose!

      Thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment in benefit of the skirt, and I am glad you enjoyed the hub!

    • profile image

      ScRuTTy 6 years ago

      hahahaha love it!

      you see leggings are so comfortable that a lot of girls and women have forgotten what it is like to wear trousers, so anything that is restricting is out the window. But I do understand why you think it doesn't look right.

      I will wear leggings with a long T shirt that covers the vital parts, but i can not leave my house just in leggings and a top, I kinda feel naked !

      :)

    • thougtforce profile image
      Author

      Christina Lornemark 6 years ago from Sweden

      ScRuTTy, how nice to meet you here, and you are right on about why young girls are dressed in leggings! And I know what you mean! Leggings are indeed very comfortable to wear, and with a long T-shirt it can also look quite nice! I really hope fashion stays that way, or that the skirt will return! I see how the skirts on my teenager starting to be shorter and shorter and just barely cover the vital parts! But I watch over her and she will not be allowed to go out without a long T-shirt or a skirt!

      Thanks for stopping by and I am so glad you liked this! Your comment is much appreciated!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I am glad to read the history of skirt length. Very informative. Thanks for share with us. I liked something about history and vintage. I found this through your hub. Vote up. God bless you.

      Love and peace,

    • thougtforce profile image
      Author

      Christina Lornemark 6 years ago from Sweden

      Hi prasetio, and you are so welcome here! I am also interested in history because history can many times tell us why and how about our present time! And as for the length of the skirt there seems to be some connection to the times that repeat itself. Thanks for the vote and for your kind comment! Take care!

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 6 years ago from South Africa

      Very interesting indeed. Thanks for sharing the history of the skirt which does bring a smile!

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • thougtforce profile image
      Author

      Christina Lornemark 6 years ago from Sweden

      Hello Tonymac,I am delighted that you found this interesting and also that it put a smile on your face! That is the way it is; some fashion looks good and some do not:) Thanks for your kind comment! Bye for now!

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Thanks Thougtforce for a great and entertaining hub. There is the stock market theory that says the market goes up when the skirt lengths go up, but I don't know what it means when there is no skirt, like in that photo.

      Rated up and funny.

    • thougtforce profile image
      Author

      Christina Lornemark 6 years ago from Sweden

      Hi toknowinfo, yes I have also heard about that connection between the stock market and skirt length and it seems to be right, at least to some extent! But it must be the first time in history that the skirt is missing totally so maybe it isn´t easy to draw any conclusions:) It is hard to know if it means the stock market is going up high or down totally!

      Thanks for stopping by, for the rating and for your great comment!

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

      A very interesting Hub. I think what we are seeing is a general lack of modesty since the sexual revolution of the 1960s. I enjoyed your article. It is good.

    • thougtforce profile image
      Author

      Christina Lornemark 6 years ago from Sweden

      Hi James, I think you are right, but I wonder how far from modesty it can go and when the pendulum turns! There is so much good looking and sexy fashion already made and less isn’t always more. At least not when it comes to clothing!

      Thanks for your visit and for your thoughtful comment.

      Tina

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      I think girls in skirt look lovely. Thank god, girls in my country still wear skits.

      I did not know about the history, thanks for writing on this topic.

    • thougtforce profile image
      Author

      Christina Lornemark 5 years ago from Sweden

      Hi Vinaya! I agree with you about girls looks lovely in skirts! It is a shame that it is becoming more and more unusual. In a way I can understand why since it is much more practical with tights or jeans and so. But it can never compete with the skirt that always looks so good on women! Thanks you so much for reading, I appreciate it!

      Tina

    • profile image

      onlooker 5 years ago

      I have never understood the leggings without the skirts situation. The visual from behind seems not quite right. I am sure some people can pull it off but really? is that it? (my thoughts)

      I loved the sense of fashion during the 60's and 70's and the make up too which is all back now =)

      This hub was useful, informative and interesting. Thank you!

    • thougtforce profile image
      Author

      Christina Lornemark 5 years ago from Sweden

      Hi onlooker! No, it doesn't seem quite right and I hope it is a trend that is passing over very fast! There are so many great fashions to choose from these days so I am very surprised that this style is so popular! Yes, you are right, there is many things from fashion during the 60s and the 70s that are back now, and personally I like it also! Thanks for reading, and for the comment and I appreciate your vote!

      Tina

    • Byonder5 profile image

      Byonder5 3 years ago

      Good thoughts on skirts. I personally like a nice traditional cut of medium length A-line skirt, lined, with a nylon waist slip worn underneath and tights.

    • thougtforce profile image
      Author

      Christina Lornemark 3 years ago from Sweden

      Hi byonder5, Yes, I prefer those types of skirts too. A skirt like that can give a well dressed apperance on almost anyone. Thanks for your thoughts about skirts,

      Tina

    • Michaela Osiecki profile image

      Michaela 20 months ago from USA

      I feel like a lot of skirt styles are actually making a comeback in some areas. I spend a lot of time on fashion blogs and such, and I see a lot of girls experimenting with pleated midi skirts, maxi skirts, and even full skirts.

    • kaf9292 profile image

      kaf9292 20 months ago

      For skirts to become a garment that has a lasting place in history it must return to its roots as being a practical garment that is not exclusively masculine nor feminine. There is no question that a mature man will be more comfortable in a skirt than in pants, shorts or jeans since the comfort factor comes from the absence of a crotch. There are so many varieties of skirts that one exists for almost every activity and weather condition. A skirt is an essential ingredient in fashion choice rather than fashion tyranny.

    • profile image

      Quentin 4 months ago

      I personally wouldn't worry too much about what women/ girls are going to wear. After all they adopted a lot that was once masculine wear and somehow feminised it to their likings.

      For example the 'tunic' that was the main staple of male fashion for the longest time have eventually evolved to become a woman's 'dress'.

      I am not blaming this entirely on the women folk, men over time have changed the way they perceive and reinvented their masculine identity. The problem with this is that it seems that once men change from one thing to another (in fashion), there is no going back to it as oppose for women; their fashion sense seemed to not only change more often than men's but also that women can go back and re-wear what was once fashionable from some time ago.

      In essence, men in the 21st. century need to come to full term that it is time for male fashion to make a change.

      It's not like all of us guys are working in a field nor mining for coal so the need to wear pants/trousers ALL THE TIME is completely UNNECESSARY.

      I almost have to laugh at this one; if anyone out there know of the Peanuts Gang aka Charley Brown and his friends. It seems the majority of men are like Linus (the boy with the blanket). It's like when he is challenged to go without his blanket he throws a fit. He HAS to HAVE his blanket and refuses to go without it.

      In a way, so are many of today's men with their pants. It's like no matter what evidence proves men once wore skirts, tunics, etc., they refuse to wear anything but their pants all the while scoff and make fun and ridicule what few men who are MANLY enough to put on a skirt or tunic.

      You have to admit there is some irony in today's man.

      Personally I prefer a kilt. Whether it be an acrylikilt during the summer, an acrylic/wool blend during the fall or a woolen kilt during the winter. I always keep an open mind when it comes to modesty and wear a pair of solid matching color sport tights or thin insulation tights (both which can be found in men's wear).

      Does this make me a sissy or fem? HELL NO!

      Do I still wear pants/trousers? Damn right I do.

      Like women, men too can and should change up what they wear. Does this keen men should wear high heels, fishnet stockings, makeup? NO!

      I say it is and should be equally acceptable in today's society for men to wear skirts to, skirts that wear and still are for men as long as men are open minded enough to wear such.

      I say again, just because a man wears a skirt does NOT make him a woman. It's NOT the close that makes a man, it's character from within that makes the man. Is it not through his character comes his action that reflect who and what he is, not what he wears? The very same thing applys to women.

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