A skort is a garment that may slightly resemble a skirt, but has divided legs that give you the ability to be more active. The skort is a combination, or portmanteau word that brings together the two terms short and skirt. Traditionally the skort is fairly short, offering the coolness of wearing either garment, but the benefits of more modest coverage provided by shorts.
There are two types of skorts popular today. The first has a layer of fabric covering the front of the short section of the garment. From the back this type of skort looks like a regular pair of shorts. You might find this style on swimsuit bottoms, in tennis dresses, or simply in regular clothing stores.
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The second type of skort looks much more like a skirt from back and front. It has a layer of fabric or a skirt that surrounds a pair of shorts. This style again might be seen in swimsuits, tennis dresses or in school and cheerleader uniforms. The skirt fabric on this skort is really merely for show, while the short coverage underneath the skirt ensures that great activity will not accidentally show off any undergarments.
Sometimes people may refer to any wide legged shorts, or short pants that are above the knee as skorts. Usually there is enough extra fabric in these styles to make them appear more like a skirt than a pair of shorts. Wide-legged pants that look like a skirt are more properly called culottes or palazzo pants.
The early inspiration for the skort was likely of two sources. Culottes were initially designed for men’s military uniforms. They were worn with high knee socks or leggings, and knee-length boots. In the 19th century, women began to want skirts that were divided so they could ride astride instead of sidesaddle. Divided skirts were greatly similar to a regular skirt in length and quantity of fabric. They did give women a little more freedom and especially gave them the chance to retain their modesty while participating in activities. Gradually divided skirts began to use less fabric, becoming the modern pants worn by women today.
Many women like the ease and freedom of the skort, and the fact that it reveals less of the figure than does a pair of shorts. The skort can hide any perceived figure faults, and remains slightly dressier than shorts.