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What is a Broomstick Skirt?

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  • Written By: N. Phipps
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2016
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With an extremely rich history, the broomstick skirt has been called by many names. This full, free-flowing skirt has been referred to as a tiered skirt, peasant skirt, gypsy skirt, hippie skirt, Indian skirt and crinkled skirt. Broomstick skirts are thought to have derived their name from the tightly pleated tiers that flare out much like the bristles found on a broom. However, it is more likely that the term broomstick came about by the way in which these skirts are given their crinkly texture.

To create the crinkly, wrinkled effect, the wet broomstick skirt was traditionally twisted around the handle of a broomstick and allowed to dry. These long, comfortable skirts can be found in a number of materials, from rayon and cotton to denim, velvet, and even silk. During earlier times, they were more commonly seen in lightweight cotton, which was easier and cheaper to obtain. Broomstick skirts may still be made by hand, and numerous patterns for them can be found online.

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These skirts are also relatively easy to care for. There’s no need for ironing since the wrinkled appearance are their trademark—simply wash, tie in a knot, and dry. In addition to the various fabric materials that are available, you can also find the skirts in numerous colors, patterns, and designs. In fact, the broomstick skirt with multicolored patterns was quite popular among Navajo women. This Indian skirt, as it was called, may have given way to the wide range of cowgirl designs as well.

Even as far back as the Renaissance, the broomstick skirt could be seen, albeit in a somewhat different style. Known then as peasant skirts, they were typically thicker and made of muted colors. Yet, for those with more resources available to them, additional colors and lighter fabrics became fashionable. Thus, the age of the gypsy skirt came to be with bright colors and varied patterns. Later, broomstick skirts would take on a more daring look with tie-dye methods employed during the “hippie” generation.

Today, the broomstick skirt has versatile uses. Its lightweight texture makes it great for summer and can be casually worn with sheer tops or tanks and sandals. The skirt can also be dressed up in cooler months with a sweater or jacket and boots. The variety of colors and patterns makes finding one for nearly any occasion quite simple. These skirts are especially good for those on a budget by choosing neutral colors and then mixing and matching them to create several outfits.

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anon993070
Post 7

Broomstick skirts are also great for concealing disabilities or physical problems. I have to wear a catheter (leg bag for urine) for the next three months while I heal from surgery.

Broomstick skirts and crinkle skirts are a salvation. They may not look "dressy" but they work and they don't show the silhouette of the catheter the way that solid colors, dress fabrics and pants. Most are long enough to cover anything.

SarahSon
Post 6

I have more than one broomstick skirt and they are one of my favorite wardrobe items. I have a black broomstick skirt that I love to wear because it goes with just about anything.

What I like best about broomstick skirts is that you don't have to iron them and they look great. I have always loved the casual, crinkle look.

Wearing these skirts in the summertime with a pair of sandals is much more comfortable than wearing a pair of jeans. This gives you the opportunity to be comfortable, and yet look dressy.

Monika
Post 5

@indemnifyme - I know just the look you're talking about. However, I've seen some more stylish looking broomstick skirts too! If you want to wear a broomstick skirt, you don't necessarily have to go with one that is tie-dyed.

In fact, I think it would probably look fairly stylish to wear a broomstick skirt made of dark indigo denim. Denim is one fabric that never goes out of style!

indemnifyme
Post 4

@rugbygirl - I agree. Broomsticks skirts aren't really restaurant appropriate. I feel like most of the more formal looking skirts these days tend to be a bit more fitted, like a pencil skirt.

I have to say that I don't really like broomstick skirts for any occasion. I feel like they look really dated, like something an aging hippie would wear. In fact, when I was younger, I had a math teacher who totally fit this profile. She seemed a bit "fuzzy" (maybe she did too much acid in the 60's?), had really long, straight grey hair, and wore a broomstick skirt every single day!

Maybe I'm biased because of my wacky math teacher. Either way, "aging hippie" is definitely not the look I'm going for at any point in time!

rugbygirl
Post 3

@manykitties2 - I don't really think that a long broomstick skirt is appropriate for a nice restaurant. It has that sort of hippie feel that makes it ideal for a stroll in the park or a street festival. (That's where I bought my broomstick skirt, in fact - at a street festival!) Don't get me wrong, I think they're great for other occasions. Backyard barbecue, kids' soccer game where you'll be sitting on a blanket, etc. Just not quite the thing for a nice dinner.

A shorter broomstick skirt with a nice sweater, you could maybe get away with at a nicer restaurant. They don't have that three-tiered gypsy quality. I would go with simple cotton in a nice print if you want that kind of versatility; denim would have that "sturdy" quality that, again, makes it ideal for a lot of daytime uses.

manykitties2
Post 2

There are so many great dresses and skirts that adding a long broomstick skirt to your collection is a no brainer. The only thing I have been having trouble with is deciding which kind of broomstick skirt would be more versatile.

Do you think that I should go with a simple cotton broomstick skirt or something a bit heavier like a denim broomstick skirt?

I usually go to pubs with my friends and occasionally out to a nicer restaurant. So I would need something that can fit both occasions well. I also spend a lot of time in coffee shops, so I would like something that works on a really casual basis as well.

Sara007
Post 1

The broomstick skirt is the perfect addition to any wardrobe, as they come in all sorts of colors and can be easily dressed up or down. One of the easiest ways I have found to accessorize the peasant skirt is with a natural material belt, made of something like coarse rope and wooden beads. I find that really adds to the gypsy/hippie look that is so popular.

Another thing you can do is wrap a light scarf that you like around your waist. I have one that is made out of a silk with a bit of woven sparkle to it. The two pieces together look really great.

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