Skirts in the '20s

Written by tabitha harwell
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Skirts in the '20s
Mid-calf skirts gained popularity around 1924. (Brooke/Kirby/Valueline/Getty Images)

The roaring '20s, and the aftermath of WWI, sent women into a frenzy to express themselves through their appearance. In addition to shorter hairstyles, such as the bob, women's skirts also got shorter with each passing year. Designers, such as Coco Chanel, influenced the changing hemlines, giving women a variety of skirt styles and lengths to choose from during the jazz era.

Skirt Length

Skirt lengths gradually got shorter throughout the '20s. During the early '20s, skirts reached the floor and grazed the tops of low-heel shoes. Women accentuated their boyish figures with drop-waist skirts which elongated their frames. During the middle of the '20s, the hemlines got shorter, just at mid-calf. Women often wore this length during evening hours and on holidays. As the '20s neared the end of the era, just before the Great Depression, hemlines went their shortest at just below the knee. The short hemline was worn during the day and often carried into the night.

Styles of Skirts

Due to the changing hemlines, the styles of the skirts had to evolve as well. Detailing, such as panelling, draping and uneven hemlines, were all the rage during the '20s. Women would flock to the stores to see the latest designs by Coco Chanel and her dramatic, scalloped hemlines in neutral tones such as beige, sand, cream and navy. The flappers of the '20s often wore the shorter skirts with pointed segments so the skirt was short but gave the illusion of a longer skirt because of the uneven hem.

Skirt Silhouette

Matching the trendy boyish figures of the women, the skirt kept up in style by dropping the waist. The term "dropped waist" is figurative as women did not actual drop their waist but created a silhouette that enhanced their want for straight lines. According to Fashion Era, after WWI, the style of dress was more "manish" than feminine. Women preferred straight, boyish hips and suppressed bosoms; therefore, skirts reflected that style with the dropped waist and straight cuts.


While the dress was more "manish," women still maintained their elegant and glamorous looks by wearing coordinating shirts with deep V-necks, stockings in tan or nude and shoes with low heels. One rule of thumb was the shorter the skirt, the longer the strands of jewellery around a woman's neck. In addition to jewellery, hats were a hot accessory with skirted outfits and were often worn during the day; however, at night, women either wore a fancier hat or pulled hair into an elegant updo.

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