I sometimes wonder why I ever dispose of any of my clothes. If you stay alive long enough every trend seems to reappear at some point posing as the latest in thing but looking exactly like styles from decades ago. So it has proved with the tiered skirt. Sadly I am old enough to remember the original heyday of what has been called the skirt with no name. It was all the rage in the 1970’s and if I am not mistaken hit its height in popularity during the summer of 1978.
The precise origins of the style are unclear as inspiration was taken from a number of cultures. The tiered, bohemian, hippy garment was reminiscent of gypsy, Wild West and Spanish flamenco styles hence no exact name was ever quite settled upon. Back in 1978 they were generally known as peasant skirts and they were absolutely everywhere.
I can still remember the intense desire to fill my wardrobe with the pretty skirts which seemed such an incongruous fashion to appear during the emergence of the punk scene which featured androgynous and rather aggressive styling. Peasant skirts were distinctly feminine and wistful and I was delighted with my first skirt which was a delicate floral affair featuring several tiers trimmed with pretty cream lace. Quite why I wanted to look like an escapee from Little House on the Prairie I will never know but I did. I was desperate for more skirts but my teenage budget was stretched and so my mother decided to make one for me.
Too Many Tiers
I chose the fabric and the lace and she set to work but got rather carried away. The skirt was a monument to excess and included so many tiers that despite the floral motifs it rather made me feel like I should attend a Flamenco class. All I needed was the signature fan and shoes and I would fit right in! Alternatively I could have passed as an elaborate wedding cake!
By the end of the year the skirts were falling out of favour and were nowhere to be seen for two decades and more. What followed was a period of experimentation, flamboyance and power dressing but anyone feeling nostalgic about the hippie garments needn’t have worried. In 2005 tiered skirts were back big style, this time with the Boho moniker and since then they have never really gone away.
I now wish I had held on to my original skirt. Not that I could fit into it at the moment as my size 8 days appear to have gone! The style is not one that flatters a rounder figure either but those skirts were so comfortable. I do not regret the demise of the home-made version however. There are frills and then there are excessive frills and that skirt had enough fabric to clothe a small nation. More bonkers than Boho, it was a ridiculous garment which in truth I only wore once but perhaps such things will be right on trend sometime soon.
Article by Sally Stacey