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skirtcafe.org • View topic - A matter of evolution

A matter of evolution

Non-fashion, non-skirt, non-gender discussions. If your post is related to fashion, skirts or gender, please choose one of the forums above for it.

A matter of evolution

Postby crfriend » Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:04 pm

Or is that "evilution"?

In Oldsalt's "Many Minis" thread there's some discussion of what types of skirts are "appropriate" for what types of settings -- and it's pointed up that it's a moving target and will likely remain so. None of us is clairvoyant, so we're not going to be able to divine what the future holds, but we should be able to look back and see what was where in the past.

For instance, when did miniskirts become "appropriate" business or semi-formal attire? When did the long skirt get relegated to "casual" attire? Now, that's a pretty extreme inversion of roles, and it's happened in the lifetimes of many of us here. It's also likely local culture -- or what passes for -- that's in play.

An example of this is "When did trousers become 'appropriate' for a business setting?" -- and I can put a date to this from where I was working in the 1990s. Up until about 1995, the company I worked for (now deceased -- a "prototype Enron") relaxed its dress code (shirts/ties for non-management men/suits for the managers and skirts or dresses with appropriate shoes for the women, and no bare legs/feet) to "business casual" (which remains another moving target) and things started going downhill pretty quickly from a style perspective. The slide became a downwards-facing rocket-assisted dive with the institution of "casual Fridays" in 1998 or so.

Skirts in the business world here in the early 1990s were virtually universally knee-length or longer, with length and material selection down to the individual. Once in a great while one would encounter a short skirt in the workplace, though virtually never a true mini, and even then only on very young and junior types. Virtually never did anybody of rank wear anything much above the knee. For semi-social gatherings, it'd be suits for the guys, and frequently very long skirts or dresses for the women.

Clearly there was a ground-change in the mid 1990s -- and women took much advantage from it. The only thing that happened for men is that a more slovenly appearance began to be tolerated and the era of khakis was reborn (from the 1950s very casual "preppy" world).

The explosion of creativity and exuberance in style (for both men and women) in the late 1960s and '70s had been forgotten by the mid 1980s when the climate chilled due to the rise of the neo-cons, and by the late 1990s any notion of "style" was rather largely dead and buried.

It'd be interesting to identify some clear milestones and put dates to when they were passed.
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Re: A matter of evolution

Postby Disaffected.citizen » Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:00 pm

A real can of worms there CRF :D

I would be hard pushed to pin actual dates, but I suspect Ally McBeal had some influence on hemlines in professional settings; so IMDB might provide some point of reference.
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Re: A matter of evolution

Postby crfriend » Sat Jan 07, 2017 12:08 am

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Re: A matter of evolution

Postby Pdxfashionpioneer » Sat Jan 07, 2017 12:39 am

Carl when you try to dismiss the influence of Ally McBeal I think you miss the place of media in our society. They're pretty much at the cutting edge, sometimes leading trends, sometimes just behind, often right at, and sometimes creating trends.

I'm not sure what the value of pursuing the history is. I remember that in the early 80's there was a woman in a low-level backoffice position who was criticized behind for her miniskirts. I thought her critics were NUTS! She was beautiful, with a good figure and great legs. Who cares which birthday she had passed? She looked terrific, even if she was a little out of step. A few years prior, miniskirts had been quite acceptable. There just weren't many women in high-level positions and fewer yet who looked good in minis. Several years later, it was anything goes, so long as it looked good and didn't look overtly trampy.

I think "The West Wing" does a good job of reflecting the business attire of the period (mid-90's) in which it was shot.

What matters is what are people wearing to work now? Anyone planning to wear a skirt or dress to work should look around the office they're working in and try to figure out what things that the women are wearing would look good on themselves. If that's too small a sample size or you're some sort of free-lancer or consultant, make a point of finding a busy street corner and staying outside during lunch hour to observe. Then dress a half of a step more conservatively or more formally than your female peers. I say that because I feel we're betting a little of our professional credibility with this step so to maintain your status you go high not low, to paraphrase the First Lady. (Yet another example of what a loss this last election inflicted.)

This should be a better guide than anything that gets posted on this forum because every city is a little different.
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Re: A matter of evolution

Postby crfriend » Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:38 am

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Re: A matter of evolution

Postby Disaffected.citizen » Sat Jan 07, 2017 3:20 am

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Re: A matter of evolution

Postby crfriend » Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:26 pm

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Re: A matter of evolution

Postby Gordon » Sat Jan 07, 2017 9:29 pm

Location and money are a big part of how people dress also. I live about 50 miles north of Seattle Washington in what could be called a rural area. When the wife and I go shopping at a local mall you hardly ever see people "dressed up". But if you go near downtown Seattle or over to the east side of Lake Washington to Bellevue there is a distinct difference in how people dress. There were lots of dresses, skirts, hosiery and high heels. Bellevue is known to be a very rich area of Washington state. You see lots of very expensive cars.

We went to Bellevue square yesterday and I thoroughly enjoyed the visual feast of lots of ladies dressed very well and some of them were definitely sexy. Something I never see locally (very very rare). I was wearing a grey knee length dress skirt with a black with white pinstripes woman's top, black semi opaque tights and 3" heeled oxfords. I got a few stares but I felt very comfortable and got some smiles too.

I love to go shopping in Bellevue, something I do once or twice a year.
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Re: A matter of evolution

Postby skirted_in_SF » Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:42 am

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Re: A matter of evolution

Postby Kilted_John » Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:01 am

I'm about 20 miles ENE of Bellevue, in Duvall, which is a rural town. It's slowly and very slowly becoming suburbanized, but only about 2 miles outside of town. Get out of the incorporated part of town, and it's mainly a rural setting. Just tonight, I saw at least one other skirted person here in town. A plus-sized woman wearing an ankle-length pleated black skirt while shopping at the local Safealbertwayson's (I now call both Safeway and Albertson's that, since they're both the same company). I have no idea if she even noticed the longhaired guy in the knee-length denim skirt, kneesocks, and hiking boots.

Even in Bellevue (and Seattle), skirted women can be a rarity, especially if it's winter and not the holiday period... About 90-95% of the time, I see working women in trousered clothing on the east side. In Seattle, probably 75-80%. Those who don't are frequently younger and may be working at retail stores catering to the alternate culture crowd, since a lot of the styles worn have some goth or steampunk elements in them, as well as lolita.

Last time my mother wore a skirt publicly for a non-wedding event was sometime in 1992. A few times, she's worn a skirt or a dress at home when it's been hot, but, the rest of the time, she's either in pants or a pair of shorts. My sister last wore a skirted outfit on the job in 2005 or so. Ever since then, trousers. Wore the outfit when she was working for one of the congress members. She recently wore an LBD while dating in 2015, but has since reverted to trousered outfits.

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Re: A matter of evolution

Postby moonshadow » Sun Jan 08, 2017 6:42 pm

Skirts are particularly popular around these parts on women. I'd say about 60-70% of them are longer midis and maxis, very few of what we would call a "mini", younger girls (teens, early 20's) may be seen on occasion wearing skirts above the knee, however that generation seems to favor yoga pants in the winter and short shorts in the summer.

The most common skirt is of the calf length variety worn mostly by mid-aged women, hems go a little lower (about to the ankles) on older women. Still virtually all women in these parts that wear skirt to the knee or lower look like the "churchy" type.- Nothing too flamboyant. But hands down, the most popular "bottom" among the ladies ARE trousers of various types, and yoga pants.

Interestingly, during the summer months I'm seeing more and more men wearing kilts, particularly Utilikilts.

At our corporate office, which is really my only practical sampling of what's "in" for office women, I can tell you about one third of women there wear skirts and dresses. Knee length is the most common size. I've seen very few midis and maxis to date. Of those knee length skirts, the most common style is the pencil skirt. Very few A lines.

But really, I still believe we're overlooking the 800lb gorilla in the room... when it comes to evolution, we (men in skirts) are blazing our own trail, "evolving" in our own direction. Why do we spend so much time trying to decipher what's in style for women?

If it's all about what's in style, we'd be best to stick to kilts of various types and refrain from anything "womens". Since my employer has strict rules on what's acceptable per gender, I am forced to distance my taboo choices in style to my own time, and even then, out of sight and out of mind of those I work with. Thus, I look at it this way: I choose my clothes the way I want, as long as I'm not wearing something that's going to get me arrested why should I care?

Sure, I make efforts to "look nice", but to "look nice" to my eye. Sometimes I get compliments, sometimes not. Every so often I lay a bad egg, but we all do. We say to "look to women to see what we should wear", but in all honesty, I don't particular fancy what's "in" in womens fashion more often than not. Perhaps it's just me, but I find great beauty in that which is uncommon and unique. There is nothing inspiring about what "everyone" is wearing. "Oh look, there's another guy in pressed trousers and a tie, Oh look there's another woman in a pencil skirt..." whoopdiedo!

MEANWHILE, whilst eating at a Captain D's in Bristol with Amber, an elderly, somewhat chubby woman was across the room. She looked to be in her 80's or 90's, and as far as her body goes, well past her prime, but she was wearing the most elegant gown I'd ever seen. A long white flowing gown type dress with golden trim. She had a small flower tied in her hair. The outfit looked somewhat biblical, and I wondered if she was one of those hard nosed religious types that would douse me with holy water and salt.

I was wearing one of my skirted outfits, I believe a floral skirt with a decorative top. As she walked by, she stopped, smiled at me, put her hand on my shoulder and said "you look very pretty today!". I smiled back at her and said "thanks- I was thinking the same about you!". She told me to have a blessed day and went on her way.

What she was wearing was not something you'd find in an office environment, but I swear to you, it made her look like she descended straight from heaven.

It's a real shame that those type of styles are not encouraged more. She was like a 80 year old female "Carl". A real pioneer of style. Granted, not something that would suit me to wear for myself, but I have to give her props for her uniqueness.
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Re: A matter of evolution

Postby crfriend » Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:30 pm

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Re: A matter of evolution

Postby crfriend » Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:26 am

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Re: A matter of evolution

Postby moonshadow » Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:49 am

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Re: A matter of evolution

Postby Uncle Al » Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:51 am

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