Young slender brunette in long red skirt and black boots balancing on one leg looking at camera on red background
100 Years of Fashion: Skirts
Until the 1920s, women wore their skirts either ankle length or to the floor, but starting in the '20s, the hemlines rose and the waistline dropped, resulting in a tubular silhouette. The style was deemed provocative because it reflected a newfound freedom of self-expression.
By the beginning of the 1930s, hemlines dropped and skirts made a marked return to the old style where curves were on display with a bias cut. However, as the decade progressed, the hemlines began to rise again and the midi skirt became the most popular style.
The 1940s ushered in material rationing due to World War II, so hemlines stayed at midi length and skirts didn’t have any pockets, fringes, or ruffles. After the War, however, pleated A-line skirts came back with a vengeance and were roomy enough to move in.
Christian Dior debuted the “New Look” in 1947, but it only took off in the 50s and featured a full skirt with an emphasis on the waistline. The skirts of the 50s aimed to highlight the contrast between a girdled waist and a full skirt made with as much as five yards of fabric.
Pencil skirts became very popular in the 1960s, but because they restricted movement, they were made shorter. Mini skirts were everywhere by 1966 and were associated with youth; however, by the end of the decade, hemlines began to lengthen once again to ring in the hippie era.