1920’s Skirts – Photographs

Here’s someĀ of my favourite pictures showing the trends on 1920’s skirts.

skirt 1
Textile Exposition and Style Show held at the Textile School, North Carolina State College, Raleigh, April 10-11, 1929.

skirt 2

skirt 3
March 25, 1925. “Washington debs rehearsing for comedy.”
skirt 4
Washington, D.C., 1922. “Group of pages.”
skirt 5
Jean Patou creations.
“Holton-Arms School.” Circa 1927 in Washington. D.C.

See more here.


1920’s Skirts

In the same way as the blouses, skirts followed a similar look as dresses. From 1919 to 1929, the most fashionable shape was straight and knee length, hiding women’s curves through loose waists and sashes around the hips.

In this topic, it is interesting to talk about the changes of the hemline – it is a myth that the skirt was short the entire decade. The most fashionable shorter hemlines were worn most often by younger women, but some older, curvier women also adopted these fashions and began showing off their legs for the first time. More conservative, or reserved, women wore similar straight dresses with ankle-length hems.


In the beginning, 1920’s skirts were 9 inches off the ground, and stay there all the way until 1922. In 1923-24, the hemline dropped and in 1925 it went a little bit up again, when the “shift” type dresses with no waistline emerged.

By 1926 skirts were at their shortest and showed the knee until 1928. The whole leg as far as the kneecap was revealed – this was the height of flapper fashion.

In 1929, the hemline plummeted (along with the stock market) back down to the lower calf.

handkerchief skirt
Handkerchief detail. Click on image to see sellers.

Most skirts featured straight hemlines that neatly circled the upper calves. However, more flowing lines came into fashion later in the decade. The handkerchief hemline was created by circling the waist with an over-skirt made of thin, transparent panels of fabric, which gave glimpses of the shorter straight hem of the tubular layer below. One corner of each fabric panel pointed toward the floor, giving the hemline an uneven look. Skirts with handkerchief hemlines hung below the knee.

These changes laid the foundation for the elegantly styled fashions of the 1930’s.

In the winter, skirts were made of wool in darker colours like black, brown or navy blue, whereas in the summer, delicate fabrics like silk, cotton and flannel wool were worn in brighter and pastel colours.

pleated skirt
Pleats detail. Click on image to see sellers.

The pleated skirt is probably the most recognisable and characteristic style that remained fashionable the entire decade. Different types of pleats became popular, however, the knife-pleated skirt was the most wanted style in every women’s wardrobe.


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