Umbrella Skirt

AKA: pleated skirt

How to say it:  uhm-breluh  skurt

Traditional Features: 

Umbrella Skirt

  • circular-cut or gored
  • widely spaced pleats similar to accordion pleats
  • falls in folds to look like a closed umbrella


…of the style: There is not a lot of information available about the umbrella skirt, despite the fact that there seems to be more than a few of them on the market at the moment.

In the 1890s the umbrella skirt was full length, bias cut, usually with a smooth, narrow front forming into a pleated train at the back. This style of skirt was particularly popular until 1893 and was the basis for many Charles Worth designs of the time.

And then there seems to be no mention of the style (although I am sure it existed in some form) until around 2012 when the umbrella skirt appeared to make a comeback, but in a very different version to the 1890s skirt.

The modern umbrella skirt is generally short, cut in gores or as a circle with wide, accordion-like pleats around the waistband that give the skirt an overall silhouette similar to that of a closed umbrella – in a good way. They seemed to be popular in the Spring of 2012 and are still available in the current marketplace.

…of the name: This style is called an Umbrella skirt as the folds in the skirt created by the pleats emulate the folds in an umbrella.

There isn’t a lot of information available regarding this style, but the Fairchild’s Dictionary of Fashion has a decent description of the garment. Otherwise try your favourite internet browser and see what you come up with.

21st Century Umbrella Skirts

Whilst not quite readily available, the umbrella skirt still has a decent presence on the fashion marketplace, and for those who know to look for it, the style offers a touch more sophistication and style than a regular pleated mini.

Fausto Puglisi Viktor & Rolf

Fausto Puglisi, Vikto & Rolf

Eggs 3.1 Phillip Lim

Eggs, 3.1 Phillips Lim


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