Which Types of Skirts Should You Choose From?

types of skirts

As far as women’s fashion is concerned, skirts are probably the most popular item of clothing (along with fashionable shoes). These wonderful clothing items have been around for centuries and have evolved in shape, length and style (among many other things) over time. Whether it’s schoolgirls going to their classes or supermodels walking down the runway in a French fashion show, skirts are ubiquitous. There is absolutely no limit to how a skirt can look. It can be figure hugging, or loose and airy. There are a lot of different types of skirts for you to choose from. The great thing about skirts is that you can truly make them your own if you spend enough time while searching for the right pattern and fabric to complement your figure and body type. Even men wear skirts in some cultures such as the Scottish kilts with uniquely woven patterns which represent clans. Whether it’s the prim and professional pencil skirt or the sleek and sensual sarong skirt, these pieces of clothing can go a long way in helping you make fashion statements. In this post, we will cover some of the types of skirts available for you to purchase.

Here are the different types of skirts available for you:

A-Line Skirt

The A-line skirt is a wonderful skirt for the pear-shaped woman. This skirt is typically knee-length and forms a triangular shape when laid flat. It is a simple to stitch option and makes up nicely in most fabric types. 

The A-line skirt doesn’t hold close and snug on the hips and flattens out from the waist. That makes it a really flattering option as far as skirts are concerned. Because of its flared shape, it does not need slits in the side or back in order for the wearer to walk easily. A-line skirts are generally fitted at the waist and as such need shaping in the form of darts or a gently curving waistband. The waistband can be high, low or even elasticized.

Asymmetrical Skirt

The design of this skirt relies on the asymmetrical lines created by the cut of the material and along with the different levels of the hems. An asymmetrical skirt is typically cut on the diagonal across the body with one side lower from the opposite. This is slightly different from the high-low skirt (coming up later) as the asymmetry in that type of skirt is between the front and the back. Asymmetrical skirts come in three forms: tight, billowing or flared.

Box Pleat Skirt

The box pleat skirt is a type of pleated skirt. A box pleat is made by allowing the two folds of the pleat to meet each other and form the box part of the pleat. The same pleat pattern is sustained around the skirt. Box pleat skirts are often made in thicker fabrics to offer volume and shape to the skirt.

Bubble Skirt

The bubble skirt puffs out at the hem because the material of the hem is gathered onto a band rather than a turned up hem. This band is kept under the skirt so the top of the skirt ‘bubbles’ over the band.

These sorts of skirts take tons of cloth as essentially you’ve got 2 skirts – one straight skirt underneath then the gathered portion on the surface. Bubble skirts are not really wardrobe staples and they come and go with seasons. Bubble skirts tend to be cut above the knee as any more length adds a lot of volume to the skirt.

Circular Skirt 

The circular skirt, sometimes referred to as the skater skirt, is cut like a circle. The fabric is attached to a waistband that sits exactly on the wearer’s waist. The skirt forms a circle when it’s laid flat. 

The circular skirt takes a good amount of cloth. It can be stitched in all types of lengths ranging from long and flowing to short and sassy. The circular skirt makes an excellent skirt for active outdoor wear and is used a lot by female tennis players.

Variations of the circle skirt include a half circle skirt or maybe a double circle skirt for maximum flare.

Cowl Skirt

The cowl skirt adds extra fullness to the area just under the waistband. The fullness is made by cutting curved lines from three points marked on your skirt pattern. Mark the designated points and the curve and then cut and alter accordingly. 

The curve when opened out adds fullness to the pattern and creates folds that drape at the sides of the skirt. The cowl skirt is a wonderful design for soft and flowing fabric types.

Gathered Skirt

The gathered skirt is a very straightforward style to follow. These sorts of skirts are gathered onto the waistband. The fullness of the skirt is decided by the quantity of cloth within the skirt. A gathered skirt ranges from short to full length. It’s best when stitched with medium weight fabric.

Godet and Gored Skirt

Godet and gored skirts are filled with extra flare and movement. The godet is usually a triangular shape of cloth inserted into a panel within the skirt. 

Gores are the panels of the skirt that are cut with extra flare. The flare may begin from thigh-length or knee-length to give extra fullness to the skirt.

Handkerchief Skirt

The handkerchief skirt is a fun to wear skirt with points hanging down as the handkerchief shapes are attached and dropped down from the waist. It is cut in a rectangle or square shape to achieve this look. Soft fabrics that drape must be used otherwise the points will stick out,  adding a lot of unwanted volume to your skirt.

High/Low Skirt

The high/low skirt is strictly how its name describes it. The front of the skirt is above the rear, creating a high and low effect. The design of the skirt makes it ideal for sewing with soft and flowy fabric. The difference between the front and back can be subtle or quite dramatic. Some high-low skirts are so low at the back that it looks like a train draping out from behind the body.

High Waisted Skirt

The main feature of this skirt is a high waistband.  The fullness of the skirt is attached to this band and it is usually a decorative part of this style. High waisted skirts can also be made using flat bands or an elastic strip. High waist skirts look best when worn with a tucked in fitted shirt to create a flattering silhouette around your lower body.

Mermaid or Fishtail Skirt

The mermaid or fishtail skirt gives the wearer an hourglass shape and the tailpiece flares out at the bottom of the skirt.  These kinds of skirts are used as wedding gowns by many women. A lot of them also choose to attach a long or short train to the back of the skirt. Mermaid skirts need to be paired with a fitted bodice to accentuate this design and are very good at giving you that hourglass shape.


This iconic skirt rose to prominence during the swinging 60s. The description of the skirt is in the name. It’s a very short skirt. Dress designer Mary Quant made this skirt popular. It is economical to make as it uses very little fabric for obvious reasons. Mini skirts are traditionally fitted but can also be flared or even circular. Denim miniskirts are easy to wear for a casual look as well.

Pencil Skirt

Pencil skirts have become the favoured option for women in the professional and business world. This type of skirt forms a rectangle when laid flat and is usually cut down to desired lengths and forms. Some may also taper inwards at the knee.

If it is not made from stretch fabric, it will generally need a slit at the back or side. Without a slit, they can be really hard to walk in especially with a pair of heels.

Peplum Skirt

The basic underskirt of this style is the pencil skirt. The peplum is an added flare attached to the waist. It is a very decorative style of skirt. The peplum is close to a circular shape and the bias cut helps with the flared effect enabling it to fall softly. Peplum skirts are great for balancing out wider shoulders and hide hips for a flattering look.

Pleated Skirt

The pleated effect of this skirt varies with the size of the pleats. Knife pleats that sit flush with the body of the skirt are flattering. Pleated skirts are worn in different lengths and with different size pleats. 

The pleats follow a pattern, once the size of the pleat is decided, the same size is followed to complete the skirt. Pleated skirts are often made in synthetic fabrics that can be permanently pressed so the pleats do not fall out when washed. You do not want to be ironing pleats back in after every wash.

Sarong Skirt

This skirt is a must-have for a holiday on the beach or for a casual day by the pool.  It wraps around the wearer at the waist and ties at the side.  It can be made in different lengths and is usually made of cotton or natural fiber fabric. A sarong skirt can be short above the knee or much longer. It typically shows some legs on one side as you walk due to the long slit created. The more confident you are with your body, the better you will be able to pull it off. Knee high slit, thigh high slit, it’s up to you. If you feel uncomfortable with the lack of coverage, you should consider a wrap skirt instead.

Tiered and Layered Skirt

These skirts are similar in the effect they create. The ‘swing’ of the skirt is created by utilizing multiple layers of fabric. Tiered skirts are layers joined together while layered skirts may have the layers free to give a ruffled and frilly look.  Layered skirts are often found in girl’s clothing designs while for women, they can give a free, floating and bohemian look. If these skirts are made of soft floating fabric like rayon, they can be very flattering to various kinds of body shapes.

Tulip Skirt

The tulip skirt is basically a straight skirt with an irregular hem edge. That makes the skirt look like a Tulip and gives it the name. The edges of the tulip skirt can be bound in bias tape to pick up the overlapped detailing.

Wrap Skirt

Wrap skirts are among the most flattering types of skirts. They wrap very well around your figure and tie up at the waist. Wrap skirts are made with many different fabrics and come in sizes to suit any occasion. While wrap skirts utilize more fabric than other skirts to sew, they are quite easy for beginners to sew.

Many wrap skirts fasten with ties wrapped around the body but buttons can also be used to hold the wrapped portion in place. The inside of the wrap skirt is held with a button. 

Yoke Skirt

Using a yoke effect at the top and on the waistband creates a slimming look for the yolk skirt.  The yolk hugs the figure and the skirt is gathered or eased onto the yolk to complete the design. The yoke may be narrow or much wider and is cut on a curve in order to not need darts to shape at the back.

Conclusion: Which Types of Skirts To Choose From

Former UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill famously said, with reference to skirts and good speeches, that a speech, like a skirt should be ‘long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to create interest.’ Even though Winston Churchill is one of the last names you would associate with women’s fashion, his point about skirts is very valid. As far as types of skirts are concerned, the world is your oyster. No matter your body type, you can find a skirt that suits you and enhances your looks. Your skirt can be as short or as long as you want it to be. There is no right or wrong way here. All that matters is that you should wear a skirt that makes you happy.

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