Skirt

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For the cut of beef, see skirt steak.
Polka dot skirt on a hanger.

A skirt is a tube- or cone-shaped garment that hangs from the waist and covers all or part of the legs.

In the western world, skirts are considered women's clothing. However, there are exceptions. The kilt is a traditional men's garment in Scotland and Ireland, and some fashion designers, such as Jean-Paul Gaultier, have shown men's skirts.

At its simplest, a skirt can be a draped garment made out of a single piece of material (such as pareos), but most skirts are fitted to the body at the waist and fuller below, with the fullness introduced by means of dart, gores, pleats, or panels. Modern skirts are usually made of light to mid-weight fabrics, such as denim, jersey, worsted, or poplin. Skirts of thin or clingy fabrics are often worn with slips to make the material of the skirt drape better and for modesty.

The hemline of skirts varies according to the personal taste of the wearer which can be influenced by such factors as social context, fashion, and cultural conceptions of modesty.

Some medieval upper-class women wore skirts over three metres in diameter at the bottom.[citation needed] At the other extreme, the miniskirts of the 1960s were minimal garments that may have barely covered the underwear when seated.

Costume historians[who?] typically use the word "petticoat" to describe skirt-like garments of the 18th century or earlier.

History[edit]

A straw-woven skirt dating to 3,900 B.C. was discovered in Armenia at the Areni-1 cave complex.[1] Skirts have been worn by men and women from many cultures, such as the lungi, kanga and sarong worn in South Asia and Southeast Asia, and the kilt worn in Scotland and Ireland.

The earliest known culture to have females wear clothing resembling miniskirts were the Duan Qun Miao, which literally meant "short skirt Miao" in Chinese. This was in reference to the short miniskirts "that barely cover the buttocks" worn by women of the tribe, and which were "probably shocking" to observers in medieval and early modern times.[2]

Skirts in the 19th century[edit]

During the nineteenth century the cut of women's dresses in western culture varied more widely than in any other century. Waistlines started just below the bust (the Empire silhouette) and gradually sank to the natural waist. Skirts started fairly narrow and increased dramatically to the hoopskirt and crinoline-supported styles of the 1860s; then fullness was draped and drawn to the back by means of bustles.

See also History of Western fashion: 1795-1820, 1820s, 1830s, 1840s, 1850s, 1860s, 1870s, 1880s, 1890s
Victorian fashion, Artistic Dress movement, Victorian dress reform.

Skirts in the 20th and 21st centuries[edit]

Beginning around 1915, hemlines for daytime dresses left the floor for good. For the next fifty years fashionable skirts became short (1920s), then long (1930s), then shorter (the War Years with their restrictions on fabric), then long (the "New Look"), then shortest of all from 1967 to 1970, when skirts became as short as possible while avoiding exposure of underwear, which was considered taboo.

Since the 1970s and the rise of pants/trousers for women as an option for all but the most formal of occasions, no one skirt length has dominated fashion for long, with short and ankle-length styles often appearing side-by-side in fashion magazines and catalogs.

Basic types[edit]

Fads and fashions[edit]

T-skirt

Lehenga[edit]

Lehenga or Ghagra or Garara is a form of skirt which is long, embroidered and pleated. It is worn as the bottom portion of a Ghagra choli. It is secured at the waist and leaves the lower back and midriff bare. It is worn by females mostly in North India[3] and Pakistan.

Male wear[edit]

Main article: Men's skirts

There are a number of male garments which fall under the category of "skirt" or "dress." These go by a variety of names and form part of the traditional dress for men from various cultures. Usage varies - the dhoti is part of everyday dress on the Indian subcontinent while the kilt is more usually restricted to occasional wear and the foustanella is used almost exclusively as costume. Robes, which are a type of dress for men, have existed in many cultures, including the Japanese kimono, the Chinese cheongsam, the Arabic thobe, and the African Senegalese kaftan. Robes are also used in some religious orders, such as the cassock in Christianity and various robes and cloaks that may be used in pagan rituals. Examples of men's skirts and skirt like garments from various cultures include:

Aside from the wearing of kilts, in the Western world skirts, dresses and similar garments are considered primarily women's clothing. Historically, however, this was not the case.[5] The wearing of skirts by men in Western cultures is generally seen as cross-dressing although some fashion designers such as Jean-Paul Gaultier and Givenchy have produced skirts for men.

Gallery of skirt styles[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "5,900-year-old women’s skirt discovered in Armenian cave". News Armenia. September 13, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2011. 
  2. ^ Harrell, Stevan (1995). Cultural Encounters on China's Ethnic Frontiers. University of Washington Press. pp. 98 & 103. ISBN 0-295-97528-8. 
  3. ^ Social Science a Textbook in History for Class IX as per New Syllabus - FK Publications
  4. ^ "Gho & Kira: The National Dress". Bhutan's Culture. RAOnline. Retrieved 31 July 2010. 
  5. ^ A closer look at men in skirts, CNN, November 3, 2003. Retrieved March 17, 2008.

1983; ISBN 0-9508913-0-4

External links[edit]