Can You Identify These Skirt Styles Through the Ages?



By: Jane Andrews

6 Min Quiz

Image: Jasmina007 / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

One of the most common forms of clothing, skirts have been worn since prehistoric times. Unearthed artifacts dating back to 4000 B.C. depict both men and women wearing long, skirt-like garments covering the lower half of their bodies. These pieces were very simple — usually, just animal skins tied around the waist with reeds. But by the time ancient cultures like the Egyptians, Mesopotamians, and Sumerians figured out how to weave, they were creating stylish, colorful skirts complete with pleats, patches and other intricate designs.

Fast forward to Europe and America in the early 18th century. Because fabric was so expensive, full, floor-length skirts served as a sign of wealth and prestige. They featured complex details such as trains, bustles and steel hoops, all of which were designed to show off master craftsmanship and costly materials. Once fabric became more affordable, and mass production was made possible, these lavish details were no longer a significant sign of status. The garments became much more streamlined as a result, and by the time World War II rolled around, women were sporting skirts that were shorter, smarter and more conducive to a work environment.

Today, it seems that no style of skirt is off-limits. From fabric-rich maxis and peasant skirts to revealing miniskirts and skorts, the possibilities are endless. This quiz will test your knowledge of skirt styles through the ages. How many can you identify? 

This type of skirt is named for its resemblance to which letter?

A-line skirts are fitted at the waist and flare out evenly as they reach the hemline, resembling the shape of the capital letter "A." A universally flattering shape, they can be thigh, knee-. calf- or ankle-length.


These skirts were extremely popular in the 1950s. Do you know what they were called?

Made of felt or wool, these wide swing skirts feature a decorative appliqué on the front, often in the shape of a poodle (hence the name). Created by American designer Juli Lynne Charlot in 1947, these playful skirts became a must-have item for teenage girls in the 1950s.


What's the name of this long, tight-fitting skirt?

Like a mermaid's tail, this hourglass-shaped skirt is wide at the top, tight and narrow around the knees and flared at the bottom. It's also sometimes referred to as a fishtail skirt.


This type of skirt has been an office wardrobe essential since the 1950s. What's it called?

Long and slim (like a pencil!), these fitted skirts typically have hemlines that fall above or just below the knee. Originally designed by Christian Dior in 1954, they can be worn either as a separate piece of clothing or as part of a suit.


Do you know this style of skirt, which is named for a musical instrument?

This type of full-circle skirt features narrow, evenly spaced pleats pressed into the fabric. The folds are widest at the hem and become narrower by the waist, creating a fluid, flared shape.


Can you tell us what this style of poofy skirt is called?

Short and statement-making, bubble skirts feature material that's gathered at the waistline to create a voluminous, bubble-like shape. They're also sometimes referred to as balloon skirts.


What's the name of this sexy skirt, which became popular in London in the 1960s?

While short skirts existed before the 1960s, the term "miniskirt" was not coined until then. With a hemline often reaching the upper thigh, the miniskirt became a staple of Swinging Sixties fashion.


What do you call a long skirt like this one that reaches the feet?

Long, loose and billowy, maxi skirts flatter a wide range of figures. They're comfortable, versatile and can be dressed up or down. Pair them with a flirty tank top in the summer or a chunky knit sweater in the winter.


Do you know what you call this type of maxi skirt?

Broomstick skirts are full, usually ankle length and pleated down to the hem. Slightly gathered, they usually feature bright colors and patterns, and have comfortable drawstring or elastic waistbands.


What's the name for this hybrid of a skirt and shorts?

A skort is essentially a miniskirt with an attached pair of shorts. They're popular in women's sports such as tennis and field hockey, and they are often incorporated into athletic uniforms for girls.


This type of skirt is named for a flower. Do you know what it's called?

Short, full at the hips and narrow at the hem, this style resembles and an upside-down tulip. Tulip skirts sometimes feature irregular hemlines and/or draped, overlapping panels in the front.


These skirts are often made of tulle and worn by ballerinas. What are they called?

While tulle is the material typically used in ballet, tutus can be made from a range of materials, including nylon, gauze, tarlatan and muslin. They can be made from one uniform piece of material or numerous strands pulled together at the waistline.


How would you define a midi skirt?

As the name suggests, a midi skirt has a length between that of a miniskirt and a maxi skirt. Most midi skirts have hems that fall midway down the calf, somewhere between the knee and ankle.


Can you name this simple but stylish skirt, which has no zippers or buttons?

This type of skirt is wrapped around the body, usually once or twice, and secured with a tie. Wrap skirts typically fall below the knee and are made from soft, lightweight fabrics.


What do you call this type of long, layered skirt?

Sometimes called gypsy skirts, tiered skirts are usually knee- or floor-length and have a sweeping, A-line shape. They have horizontal layers of fabric and often feature ruffled hemlines.


This type of skirt was popular during the Victorian era. What's it called?

Worn as undergarments, Victorian hoop skirts featured stiffening agents (such as steel, whalebone or rope) that were sewn directly into the fabric to hold up long skirts. Today, they usually feature nylon hoops and are often worn under wedding gowns.


Do you know the name of this funky and flowy skirt/pant combo?

Culottes are technically trousers, however, they're cut with very full legs so they resemble a skirt when worn. While they can range in length, modern culottes typically fall just above or below the knee.


What's the name of this fitted skirt style?

Short and sexy, sheath skirts are designed to fit snug against the body and show off the waistline. Their hemlines typically reach anywhere from the middle of the calf to the middle of the thigh.


While you can find this style of skirt in many different fabrics, denim is one of the most popular. Do you know what it's called?

Featuring a row of buttons either at the front or along the side of the garment, button-up skirts are fun and casual. They feature hemlines that fall just above the knee or above the ankle.


This type of skirt is named for a sport. Do you know which one?

Skater skirts are so named because they resemble the short, flowy skirts worn by professional figure skaters. They're typically made of lightweight materials and always have a hemline well above the knee.


What is this unevenly hemmed skirt called?

Any skirt with varying lengths can be called an asymmetrical skirt. One of the most popular types is the high-low skirt, which is short in the front (usually the hem falls at or just above the knee) and longer in the back.


Do you know what type of material this skirt is made of?

Denim skirts come in all different lengths and shapes, from super-short minis to full-length maxis. They first became popular in the 1970s, when people started to recycle their aged denim jeans and fashion them into skirts.


The common name for this style of skirt has a nice ring to it. Can you guess it?

Skirts that are bell-shaped flare out slightly over the hips, then fall straight to the knee, mimicking the outline of a bell. They are usually made with heavier fabrics to help them hold their shape.


What do you call a skirt with this bunched-up feature?

While a traditional bustle is usually found on the back of garment, bustle skirts can have this feature on the front, the back or all around the skirt. They are usually long and feature textured materials.


Do you know what this traditional Austrian skirt is called?

A dirndl is a skirt that features a tight-fitting bodice and is typically paired with a puffy white top. They were worn by domestic workers in the early 19th century and eventually became popular with the upper class.


Can you tell us the name of this type of maxi skirt?

Long and pleated, peasant skirts usually feature bright and colorful patterns. They have a loose fit, feature lightweight fabrics and are sometimes made with more than one type of material.


This type of skirt is often worn as a cover-up on the beach. What's its name?

A sarong is simply a rectangular piece of fabric worn on the lower half of the body. They usually feature bright, colorful fabrics and are worn around the world, including India, Indonesia and the Arabian Peninsula.


What would you call this old-fashioned undergarment?

First worn as underskirts in 16th-century England, petticoats were popular throughout Europe and America well into the 20th century. They were often meant to be seen and designed to be worn with open gowns.


Is this a gored skirt or a godet skirt?

While these terms are often used interchangeably, they are not the same style of skirt. A godet skirt features a pronounced A-line flare at the hem, while a gored skirt features triangular fabrics inserted into the hemline to give the garment extra movement.


What's the name of this playful skirt?

A cross between a skirt and a dress, this type of A-line skirt features shoulder straps. Typically worn in the summer, the style first became popular in the United States during the 1920s.


Can you name this design feature, which is most often incorporated into pencil skirts?

Derived from the Greek word for tunic, a peplum refers to a short, slightly flared piece of fabric that wraps around and cinches the waistline. It can be attached to a skirt, a top or a jacket.


How would you describe this skirt shape?

A pegged skirt is full at the waist and narrows at the hem, resembling the shape of an upside-down pear or inverted wedge. They're typically formal in style and most often made of cotton, wool, linen or silk.


These types of skirts are made of thick, warm fabric. What are they commonly called?

Any skirt that's made of a warm material, such as leather, wool or polyester, can be considered a fall/winter skirt. They're usually pleated and fall just below the knee or at the ankle. They look great with boots!


What would you call this extra-wide skirt?

Flared skirts are A-line skirts that feature extra width at the hem. They allow for a lot of movement and twirl easily when the wearer spins around. It's best to style this type of skirt with a fitted top to avoid creating a silhouette that's too wide.


Can you name this old-timey skirt style, which was popular in the early 1900s?

Hobble skirts were named for their very narrow hems, which made it nearly impossible for women to walk properly. Most likely for this reason, this style's popularity fizzled out by World War I.


Do you know what this style of pleat is called?

A knife pleated skirt has one inside fold and one outside fold. The pleats are narrow, sharply pressed and layered one over the other so that they face in the same direction. Knife pleated skirts typically have a hemline above the knee.


This type of skirt features a fitted band at the waist. What's its name?

A yoke is a fitted band that's placed at the top of a skirt in lieu of a waistband. Instead of sitting up around the waist, yoke-waisted skirts fit right on the waist and go down over the hip.


What would you call this type of skirt?

Draped skirts are similar in shape to tulip skirts, but feature a loose piece of fabric that drapes off one or both sides at waist level. They are usually worn for formal occasions and are popular for their slimming effect.


This type of skirt is fun and flowy. What would you call it?

True to their name, ruffled skirts (which are also called flounce skirts) feature lots of frilly ruffles. Often worn as attire for dancing, they usually have hemlines that fall near the ankles, though sometimes they are knee-length.


How would you refer to this style of skirt?

A gathered skirt is fashioned from fabric that's drawn together around the waist. They are full and typically fall above the knee, although some styles can reach down to the mid-calf.


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