Inverted Pleat Skirt


How to say it: in-vurt  pleet skurt

Traditional Features: 

Inverted Pleat Skirt

  • has at least one inverted pleat
  • may be straight or flared
  • the pleat sits flat on the body
  • underfold is hidden by the pleat and opens when in motion to allow for the movement of the body


…of the style: The technique of pleating fabric to shape a garment and allow for movement has been used for thousands of years – evidence of pleating was found on a garment in a Viking grave in Birka and dates back to 10 BC. Since the Vikings many different styles of pleats have been created and used in clothing through the ages, one of which is the inverted pleat.

The inverted pleat is created by doubling fabric back on itself to form a loop and creasing the fabric where it meets in the middle to create two folds that face each other. With the initial creases sitting together on top and in the middle of the loop, it is then pressed evenly into two side folds that face away from each other, becoming the underfold. The pleat is then stitched into place, creating a smooth, flat front with the bulk of the pleated fabric hidden underneath. This type of pleat is popular in clothing as it provides a flat, smooth shape on the body with the underfold opening up when in motion, allowing for movement of the body.

I couldn’t find any information regarding who, when and where this style of pleat was introduced, but I assume it has been around for a long time (I have found images from the late 1800s, but I imagine the inverted pleat was being used long before that).

In terms of the modern inverted pleat skirt, the style rose to popularity in the 1920s and has remained a basic skirt style ever since. The style was popular again in the 1940s as the pleat added extra room for movement, and a bit of flare, without having to add too much more fabric; the inverted pleat was one of the few design features that were begrudgingly allowed during the fabric rationing of WWII. The inverted pleat was utilised again in the 1960s as its flat front allowed designers to maintain their smooth futuristic silhouettes whilst making allowances for the movement of the body.

In the 21st century, the inverted pleat skirt is widely available, with designers utilising the pleat in various ways which allows them to update the style season after season.

…of the name: The main feature of the skirt is the use of inverted pleats. Hence the name.

The inverted pleat is named so because it resembles an inverted or upside-down box-pleat.

There is not a lot of information about the Inverted Pleat Skirt out there, other than a description – I got mine from Fairchild’s Dictionary of Fashion. For more information on pleats in general try Wikipedia, EcoSalon or WiseGeek.

21st Century Inverted Pleat Skirts

One pleat, two pleats, vertical pleats or diagonal pleats – designers in the 21st century are constantly updating this classic skirt to keep it looking new and interesting without losing the classic silhouette of the original style.

Akris Jil Sander

Akris, Jil Sander

McQ Alexander McQueen Victoria Beckham Denim

McQ by Alexander McQueen, Victoria Beckham Denim

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