A skirt is the lower part of a dress or gown, covering the person from the waist downwards, or a separate outer garment serving this purpose.
The hemline of skirts can vary from micro to floor-length and can vary according to cultural conceptions of modesty and aesthetics as well as the wearer's personal taste, which can be influenced by such factors as fashion and social context. Most skirts are self-standing garments, but some skirt-looking panels may be part of another garment such as leggings, shorts, and swimsuits.
In the western world, skirts are more commonly worn by women; with some exceptions such as the izaar which is worn by Muslim cultures and the kilt which is a traditional men's garment in Scotland and Ireland. Some fashion designers, such as Jean Paul Gaultier, have shown men's skirts. Other cultures traditionally wear 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 or hips and fuller below, with the fullness introduced by means of darts, 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.
A straw-woven skirt dating to 3900 BC was discovered in Armenia at the Areni-1 cave complex. Skirts have been worn by men and women from many cultures, such as the lungi, lehnga, 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 (短裙苗), 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.
In the Middle Ages, some upper-class women wore skirts over three metres in diameter at the bottom. At the other extreme, the miniskirts of the 1960s were minimal garments that may have barely covered the underwear when seated. Costume historians typically use the word "petticoat" to describe skirt-like garments of the 18th century or earlier.
During the 19th 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. In the 1890s the rainy daisy skirt was introduced for walking or sportswear. It had a significantly shorter hemline measuring as much as six inches off the ground and would eventually influence the wider introduction of shorter hemlines in the early 20th century.
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.
Long skirt, floor or near-floor length.
Ankle-length skirt or 'maxi,' a term introduced in the late 1960s
Mid-calf length or 'midi,' a term introduced in the 1970s.
Miniskirt, a skirt ending between knee and upper thigh. (1960s onwards)
Microskirt, an extremely short miniskirt.
High-low/hi-lo skirt, a skirt with an asymmetrical hemline.
There are a number of garments marketed to men 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 commonly considered primarily women's clothing – which, historically, was not always the case.
Full (in motion)
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Historical clothing • Traditional and national clothing
Ænglisc Scyrte ▪ العربية تنورة ▪ Armãneashti Bâcă ▪ Avañe'ẽ Sái ▪ Azərbaycanca Ətək ▪ Bahasa Banjar Rok ▪ Bân-lâm-gú Kûn (ho̍k-chong) ▪ Беларуская Спадніца ▪ Беларуская (тарашкевіца) Спадніца ▪ Български Пола ▪ Boarisch Rock (Gwand) ▪ Brezhoneg Brozh ▪ Català Faldilla ▪ Čeština Sukně ▪ Dansk Kjole og skørt ▪ Deutsch Rock (Kleidung) ▪ Eesti Seelik ▪ Emiliàn e rumagnòl Vésta ▪ Español Falda ▪ Esperanto Jupo ▪ Euskara Gona ▪ فارسی دامن ▪ Français Jupe ▪ Gaelg Skyrt ▪ Gàidhlig Lèineag is sgiort ▪ Galego Saia ▪ 한국어 치마 ▪ Hrvatski Suknja ▪ Ido Jupo ▪ Bahasa Indonesia Rok ▪ Iñupiak Yuukkaaq ▪ Íslenska Pils ▪ Italiano Gonna ▪ עברית חצאית ▪ Basa Jawa Rok ▪ Қазақша Юбка ▪ Kreyòl ayisyen Jip ▪ Latina Gunna ▪ Latviešu Svārki ▪ Lëtzebuergesch Jupe ▪ Lietuvių Sijonas ▪ Lumbaart Soca ▪ Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄ Gùng ▪ Nederlands Rok (kleding) ▪ नेपाली स्कर्ट ▪ 日本語 スカート ▪ Norsk bokmål Kjole og skjørt ▪ Polski Spódnica ▪ Português Saia ▪ Română Fustă ▪ Runa Simi Aksu ▪ Русский Юбка ▪ Sicilianu Gonna ▪ Simple English Skirt ▪ Српски / srpski Сукња ▪ Srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски Suknja ▪ Basa Sunda Erok ▪ Suomi Hame ▪ Svenska Kjol ▪ Tagalog Saya ▪ తెలుగు స్కర్టు ▪ ไทย กระโปรง ▪ Türkçe Etek ▪ Українська Спідниця ▪ Vèneto Cotoła (abijamento) ▪ Tiếng Việt Váy ▪ Walon Cotrê ▪ ייִדיש ספודניצע ▪ 粵語 裙 ▪ 中文 裙 ▪