What is an a-Line Skirt?

Dorothy Bland

An A-line skirt is a skirt style in women’s clothing characterized by a wider hem that gradually flares out from a fitted hip. This unique design causes the skirt to resemble the overall shape of a capital A. The term A-line shape is also used to describe women’s dresses and coats that follow the same A-line shape. On these items, the A-line typically starts at the shoulders, and the garment then flares out.

Some versions of the crinkle skirt are cut with an A-line shape.
Some versions of the crinkle skirt are cut with an A-line shape.

Although there are many varieties of women’s skirts available to wear, the A-line look is considered a fashion classic that has managed to remain in popularity for decades. In some form or another, the A-line skirt has been around for some time. The modern type of A-line look worn today, however, is usually traced back to the mid-1950s and the designs of acclaimed fashion designer Christian Dior. Dior’s design featured a very full pleated skirt worn over a pleated jacket. Over time, the look has been simplified by a number of other fashion designers, leading to a style today that emphasizes a more relaxed and sleek look.

A-line skirts feature a fitted waist and an overall triangular shape.
A-line skirts feature a fitted waist and an overall triangular shape.

With the wide hem featured on the A-line skirt, it is generally suitable for fitting a variety of body types. For instance, pear-shaped body types often feature wider hips and bottoms. The flare of the A-line skirt, however, can help to de-emphasize this fullness and create a more balanced-looking silhouette. A-line skirts or dresses are also available in various lengths, ranging from those that end well above the knee to wedding dresses that trail across the floor.

The length of the garment and the style will also play a role in determining which body type it flatters best. Women with larger thighs or hips, for instance, may choose a flared A-line skirt that hits slightly below the knees. The pleats can add movement to the garment to distract from larger hip size. Women who want to draw attention to their legs, however, may choose a bright-colored A-line skirt that is well defined at the waist and cut above the knees, drawing the eyes up to shapely well-toned legs. Petite women may also be able to add the illusion of a fuller figure by looking for an A-line skirt made out of a heavy, stiff fabric, and pleats can also help to add the illusion of curves to thin hips.

Most women will have at least one A-line skirt in their closets. The garment is available from numerous fashion designers and can be found in an almost unending range of colors, styles, and fabrics. Flared A-line skirts are also commonly available in children, adult, and plus sizes.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


The article touched on the reason the A-line skirt has retained its popularity: it looks good on nearly every body type. It can be worn successfully at different lengths, in different fabrics and with different accents, which is not true of just any skirt style.

The A-line looks professional, neat and groomed on nearly everyone. Not all women can wear a pencil skirt effectively, for instance, but they can wear a narrow A-line with the same effect.

Post your comments
Forgot password?