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What is a Maxiskirt?

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  • Written By: Matthew F.
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 29 November 2016
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A maxiskirt is an ankle-length skirt. It was made popular in the mid- and late-1970s and has since seen a resurgence in the 2000s. The maxiskirt was popular among women in the 1970s as a less revealing article of clothing. It features the typical A-line design of a knee or shin skirt, but reaches down to the ankles in a narrow fit.

The maxiskirt, as it is now known, was first developed in the 1970s, though its roots can be traced much earlier. Skirts similar to the maxiskirt were worn in the 19th century across the United States, and were again revived in the 1930s, after a decade of short skirts in the 1920s. Maxi-like skirts again became popular in the 1950s in a much more restrictive, conformist culture.

In the 1970s the maxiskirt was first designed as a response to the short skirts of the counterculture youth of the 1960s. The maxiskirt featured a waistline around the natural waist, usually at or just below the belly button. The design was narrow, nearly straight down to the ankle, and the fabric was typical of skirts of the day, cotton or polyester. The narrower fit around the ankles sacrificed the looseness of the Indian gauze skirts popular in the 21st century. The narrow fit showed the shapes of the upper leg, while allowing comfortable room for walking around the knees.

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The maxiskirt was a popular dress choice for women in the workforce, as it covered up much of the legs and maintained a level of professionalism. It grew in popularity largely due to the feminist movement of the 1970s. Feminists, wishing to avoid sexual objectivity, used the maxiskirt to remain covered up, while remaining feminine.

The maxiskirt then saw a revival in the first decade of the 2000s. This revival was due in part to an exploration of alternate fashions. The explosion of fashion designers in the early 2000s, as well as a revival of vintage clothing, brought the maxiskirt back into the female consciousness. At the same time, the maxi allowed an alternative look for growing alternative cultures.

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