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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?
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!
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.
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
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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