Tiered Skirt

AKA: ruffle skirt

How to say it: teerd  skurt 

Traditional Features: 

Tiered Skirt


  • made from several separate layers of fabric
  • each layer is cut slightly larger than the previous one
  • fabric tiers are attached at one edge to create a ruffled look
  • can be any length with any number of layers


…of the style: The tiered skirt dates back at least as far as the Minoan Civilization (27th – 15th centuries BC). The Minoans were amongst the first people to show a more complex approach to dress, and while the men stuck to loincloths and kilts, women’s fashion was much more intricate, featuring geometric patterns, low-cut bodices and tiered skirts.

The tiered skirt has popped up in pretty much every era since the Minoans; it was particularly popular during the times when dress was used as a means to display wealth and prosperity (E.g. The Renaissance period). Having multiple tiers on a women’s skirt meant the family could afford the cost of the multi-layered garments in a time when fabrics were very expensive. I have found images of tiered skirts in the Victorian, Edwardian, Regency, Gothic, and the Baroque periods, but the list goes on!

In more modern fashion history, the tiered skirt was popular in the 1840s and 60s, as well as the 1920s and 30s. The style suffered under the fabric rations of the early 40s, then slowly made its way back onto the fashion scene until it finally had a comeback of sorts in the late 80s/early 90s.

In 2012, 80s fashions were on trend which brought the tiered skirt back into the spotlight and while it was never really a full-blown trend on its own, the tiered skirt has since become a common commodity in the marketplace.

…of the name: The skirt is made up of several separate tiers of fabric, hence the name.

For more info on Tiered Skirts try WiseGeek or check out the Fairchild’s Dictionary of Fashion

21st Century Tiered Skirts

The 21st century tiered skirt tends to be short and comes in a plethora of fabrics and colours. From a sophisticated 2-tier to a cute and flirty, multi-tiered ruffle creation, the tiered skirt has a heavy presence in the marketplace and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon.

BCBGeneration Elizabeth and James

BCBGeneration, Elizabeth and James

H&M See by Chloe

H&M, See by Chloe

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