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The chronicling of skirts and  skirt suiting

is of importance on the fashion history timeline.

Skirt length and silhouette provide ready reference

to identification of specific historical eras and

the evolving transitions of women’s socio-political status.

In late 19th century European fashion,

skirt suiting appears as a distinct dress

comprised of jacket with matching skirt (without bustle).

This outfit emerged as an appropriate riding costume,

accessorized with a high-collared shirt or chemisette,

and a top hat with a veil.

(images from historical tidbits):

riding costume woman from historicaltidbits1862 fashions.23 riding habit

19th century riding costume

The skirt suit was also an ensemble worn when

out and about on leisurely strolls.

The outfit included a

jacket and skirt (with bustle),

accessorized with a small hat or bonnet.

19th century walking costume historical tidbits1876 fashions.160 dresses

‘walking’ outfit with bustle skirt

As the 19th century progressed,

skirts became less voluminous,

more fitted to the body and bustle-free.

With the advent of the 20th century,

and the difficulties of two international conflicts (WWI, WWII)

which forced women from home into non-traditional work,

skirt fit became more comfortable to accommodate the new labour tasks.


During the years of the Second World War  (WWII),

there was a pronounced shortage of fabric.

The scarcity of material increased the popularity of the skirt suit.

  Women were able to add longevity to their wardrobe

by mixing and matching skirts, blouses, and jackets

to create various outfits.

Skirts suits of this period were known as Victory or Utility suits.

When the war years ended, the skirt suit maintained its dress distinction

due to its’ comfort and practicality.

It had achieved full celebrity status as a fashion mainstay.

(image from vintage dancer.com):

What Did Women Wear in the 1940s?

 Utility skirt suits

As the years moved on, the skirt hem-line

continued its gradual rise:

ankle-length, calf-length, knee-length.

Rising skirt lengths mirrored the rise of

women’s increased socio-economic status and the

skirt suit was fashion integral to the process.

By the mid -20th century,

with the hem-line holding at the knee,

a modern twist was introduced to

skirt suiting via fabrication:

cue Coco Chanel and the tweed skirt suit.

(image from elle.com):

chanel tweed suit elle.com-chanel-00-h

Chanel tweed skirt suit

With the application of tweed, a material associated with men’s suiting,

Coco Chanel used this durable fabric to create a suiting of

a slim, knee length skirt (pencil-like in silhouette)

and collarless cardigan-style jacket embellished with

braid, gold buttons and patch pocket details

The Chanel tweed skirt suit has evolved into a classic piece

and today continues to maintain its iconic standing.

By the 1980s, power skirt suiting ruled:

jackets with board shoulders and shoulder pads.

It seemed the sartorial stance was one of

‘being able to play with the big boys” of the boardroom.

(image from etsy.com):

1980s power skirt suit from etsy.comil_570xN.438489109_bkjg

Packing a fashion punch:  ’80s power suiting

As the 20th century dimmed

and the light of the new millennium dawned,

skirt suiting was no longer held to any particular dress dictate.

Skirt lengths, jacket/skirt silhouette, fabrication, styling,

all were open to creative interpretation

be it runway revved or street-wear steady.

Skirt suiting,  a/w  2014



(images from style.com):

On the runway



from A.W.A.K.E

skirt suit AWAKE_style032_1366.450x675

oversize jacket with extra wide shawl-like lapels and

asymmetric hem skirt with front slit

skirt suit AWAKE_ style023_1366.450x675

with asymmetric trench – inspired jacket

from Chanel

skirt suit chanel a14 styleCHA_0111.450x675

tweed, cinched at waist with corset-like affect;

worn over matching,  sparkly roll neck jumper and leggings

skirt suit chanel a14 styleCHA_0427.450x675

demure “lady who lunches” suit, teamed with

urban-sass, lace-up, knee high tweed trainers


from Yeohlee

skirt suit yeohlee style_LKV9894.450x675

lined sections

Vivienne Westwood

skirt suit vivienne westwood red label a14 styleKIM_0339.450x675 skirt suit westwood red label a14KIM_0144.450x675

jackets of major interest

Veronique Branquinho

trouser suit with skirt veronique branquinhoPG_6368.450x675

with trouser pairing

Alexander McQueen

skirt suiting men alexander mcqueen_ARC0140.450x675 skirt suting men alexander mcqueen_ARC0161.450x675

the gents in on the skirt suiting action

Anna Sui

  skirt suiting anna sui a 14 style_ARC0361.450x675

decadent textile

Alexander Wang

skirt suiting alexandr wang a14 style_ARC0621.450x675

suited and booted

(image from mtrls.com):

Jonathan Liang

skirt suit by Jonathan Liang from mtrlst.comLook-09

cut-away jacket, skirt with asymmetric hem and zipper detail

Out and about


(image from whowhatwear):


skirt suitingstreet longskirt pinstripemain.original.585x0

ladylike pinstripes:

long line jacket, to-ankle skirt with soft pleats

(image from ellecanada.com):

skirt suiting ellecanada.com lfw-fall-2014-street-style-androgyny-56

plaid pleasing with 3/4 length sleeve jacket and

 to knee skirt with soft folds

(image from glamour.com):

skirt suit glamour.comella-catliff-london-street-style-printed-outfit-h724

three piece with flora print

(images from elle.com):

skirt suiting edgyelle-02-paris-street-fw-2014-style-6-v-xln

cropped boxy jacket with drop shoulders and pocket details

flared mini skirt

no nonsense over-knee black high heeled boots

skirt suiting grey skirt black boleroelle-11-paris-street-style-3-v-xln

the brief:  grey/black/white colour coordination

with a zap of florescent yellow

skirt suiting stone elle-07-paris-street-style-fall-2014-day-7-v-xln

jacket with apron front and origami folds

paired with mini circle skirt

skirt suiting pleat skirtelle-03-paris-street-fw-2014-style-6-v-xln

collarless jacket with zipper detail and full pleat skirt

(image from ellecanada.com):

skirt suiting ellecanada.comparis-street-style-office-7544

linear focus:  sport lux crew neck top and matching pencil skirt

(images from ellecanada/com):

skirt suitellecananda crop trench-jacket pencil skirtfb58e46e-ce23-4589-adce-5ddd1e0f8e27

cropped trench affect jacket paired with colour band pencil skirt

skirt suit double breast black gold buttons ellecom print skirt-12-lfw-fw-2014-street-style-day-five-v-xln

double breast black jacket with gold buttons,

shoulder detail and cuffed sleeve;

flirty, pleated, B/W graphic skirt