Home » History in Fashion: Skirts

History in Fashion: Skirts

The original idea of a modern skirt was born during the 15th century form the gotic sukiene, which split into two elements : the corset and the skirt. The skirt has become a staple for females and has changed in volume, length and shape throughout centuries. Let’s take a quick look at various skirt types existing between the 15th and 19th century.


The smock functions as protection for garments and has remained this way since the Egyptians. It was also used by aristocratic women during the 19th century, while they embroidered linen. In some cases, the smock was embellished with precious lace, to be part of a sophisticated women’s attire.

Bell-Shaped Skirt

A wide shaped skirt that is shaped to create a bell-inspired shape. The accent of volume at the hips is a clear tribute to female fertility. This is the most popular and iconic skirts of all time and is widely used to outfit a princess in a fairy-tale story.


Made from horsehair, crinoline is a rigid structure and was developed in the 18th century. It was originally used for a soldiers’ collar and was then made to be a part of a women’s wardrobe. The skirt was made to enhance width and was made out of soft fabrics for padding, wooden frames, whalebones, bamboo circles and air chambers.


The train was a sophisticated silhouette, gave importance to women and was used mostly by aristocratic families. In some European courts, the length of the train was also determined by the noble rank. The longest train recorded in history was worn by Catherine of Russia for her coronation trailing behind at 230 feet long and 22 feet wide – it was carried by 50 pageboys.

Cul de Pairs

The Cul de Paris first appeared during the 18th century and was in trend during 1880. The skirt has a padded back and made with iron circles or whalebones, it is then decorated with bows and ruffles.


This is a long skirt and narrows at the ankles. This was fashionable between 1910 and 1914. This is the story of it’s origin, as written in a newspaper from that period:

“The silhouettes give the chance to be noticed in a decent way, respecting traditions, with a grotesque result…At the beginning no divas were enthusiastic about this Paqiun’s creation. Even Sarah Bernhardt, who had an extravagant style, refused to wear the skirt. But Madame Sorel, who was very famous for her exquisite taste, needed a dress to appear in a frame of a movie, standing for a long time, leaning against a pillar. In order to appear in great shape, Madame Sorel needed a smart resolution. The hobble-skirt seemed to have all the qualities: if you want to wear it you should stay still like a statue. After that the bobble-skirt became a successful item and women went crazy for it. They wanted to take a walk or dance in it, sure to have the most glamorous and equally uncomfortable outfit ever. At the time the skirt was described as pure madness.”


This sporty skirt was very famous in France, where it was called jupe-culotte. It was worn by gentlemen and female of the European upper-classes during the 1930s. It was developed for horseback riding so that women could sit astride a man’ saddle rather than riding side saddle. It looks like a skirt with wide pleats in the front, but when in movement it revealed the shape of trousers.

More Fashion Fabula

Burgundy for Fall

Clockwise from left to right: Open Shawl Collar Jacket, Felt Floppy Hat, Pencil Skirt, V-Neck Tee

Memorial Day Sale Event!

Leave it to us to search our site for the most coveted brands and top designer goods on sale. We’ve put together the most incredible

Best Street Fashion: Oakland

Just a hop over the bay from San Francisco sits Oakland, a multi-cultural hotspot for fashion firsts and trendsetters, specifically the area around Lake Merritt.

Weekend Look by Madewell

Counter clockwise from left to right: Madewell Sweatshirt, Dolce Vite Bootie, Madewell Skinny Jeans, Madewell Leather Tote

Editor’s Picks: White Out

From left to right: Topshop Crochet Overlay Dress, Dior Mono Eyeshawdow, MAC Eye Kohl, Matt Bernson Slide Sandal, MARC BY MARC JACOBS Cross Body Bag

The Best Jackets For Spring

Allow us to introduce you into the world of “transitional dressing”. This is your definitive guide on deciding how to dress when the weather is

Best Face Masks for Oily Skin

Face masks are the easiest way for a quick fix. Unlike serums, oils or moisturizers, face masks aren’t absorbed into the skin. Instead, they sit

Topshop + Adidas

From left to right: Topshop Check Topper, Topshop V-Neck Tee, Topshop Moto Ankle Skinny Jeans, Adidas ‘Stan Smith Sneakers

How to Dress For a Music Festival

If you think music festivals are all about running around in the desert with denim cutoffs and waving around a peace sign— think again! This

Sunglasses: Shop By Face Shape

Ever wonder which sunglass frames work best for your face shape? We’ve got you covered with this guide. Summer is almost “officially” here so we’re

Editors’ Picks: Summer Jumpsuit

Splendid Nautical Stripe Jumpsuit This lightweight jumpsuit epitomizes quintessential high-seas style. Steve Madden ‘Aintso’ Strappy Leather Toe Ring Sandal Classic and summery toe-ring style sandal

Behind the Brand: A.P.C.

Known for it’s minimalist designs and timeless aesthetic, founded by Mr Jean Touitou in 1987,A.P.C. (which stands for Atelier de Production et de Création) was

Sunglass Obsession: The Right Fit

Quick, name one item you never leave home without. If you said sunglasses, you’re on the ball. Sunglasses, just as much as your hairstyle, purse

History of Fashion: Plaid

Whether you love it or find it a symbol of all things hipster, plaid has been remarkably successful. It’s one of the most widespread, recognizable