What is a Feather Skirt?

Erica Stratton

Usually, the term "feather skirt" refers to a kind of fashionable skirt that is completely covered with a layer of feathers. It is typically worn in a short style with the hem falling at knee-length or higher. The term can also refer to a skirt that has been made entirely out of fabric, but embellished with a feather design. Several fashion houses began manufacturing feather skirts in 2008, making the original designer difficult to pinpoint.

A feather skirt is completely covered with a layer of feathers.
A feather skirt is completely covered with a layer of feathers.

Feather skirts are created through stitching a layer of feathers over the outer fabric of a skirt. The feathers used can be from many different species of birds. Ostrich feathers create a wispy, fringed effect, while pheasant feathers create smooth, scalloped layers. The skirt is often finished off with a ribbon waistband.

Feather skirts have much volume and texture, so it is recommended that they be worn as the main focus of an outfit. Fashion experts recommend that feather skirts be paired with a simple top or jacket and minimal jewelry. These skirts also emphasize the legs and are often worn with tights or bare legs and sandals.

Depending on the way in which it is worn, a feather skirt can evoke several styles and eras. It can be seen as a fun, flirty party outfit, or as a rich boudoir fantasy. Their unique texture makes feather skirts a daring fashion decision for some, and they have been worn by celebrities and rock stars seeking a unique look.

There is much labor involved in creating feather skirts, so they are often expensive, high-fashion pieces. There are a few do it yourself (DIY) guides available for those wanting to create their own. One method involves stitching feather boas on top of a regular skirt in a zig-zag pattern until the fabric is completely covered.

The layers of stitching required to hold the feathers in place, as well as the delicacy of the materials, make it difficult for a feather skirt to be cleaned at home. Most feather skirts must be dry cleaned. They also need to be carefully hung up when they are not being worn in order to keep the feathers from being crushed.

A feather skirt may appear to be vintage-inspired or from the flapper era. Though feathers were a fashionable accessory during these times, they were more often used as a trim than as a covering for an entire garment. The term "feather skirt" is also used to refer to a skirt made entirely of fabric that has been printed with a feather pattern or has some kind of feather-like embellishment. Such skirts are made in a variety of lengths and styles and are often sold in shops specializing in vintage clothing.

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