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What is a Tiered Skirt?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 21, 2024
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A tiered skirt is a type of skirt in which the fabric is layered all the way down the skirt, making it appear as if it is made up of different tiers. It often gives the skirt a layered, ruffled appearance that can look very feminine and dressy, especially when worn with a more simple top, since the skirt is more flashy. A tiered skirt is a popular clothing choice because it can look formal or casual, depending on the rest of the outfit; it works with many different body types, and is available in various fabrics, styles, and lengths to suit nearly any preference.

The most common type of tiered skirt is about knee-length and cut in an A-line shape; this means that the skirt is narrow at the waist and then widens slightly away from the thighs, with the widest point of the skirt at the bottom around the knees, as in the shape of the letter A. This shape is flattering for many people because it camouflages larger thighs, while still showing off the the rest of the legs. There are some tiered skirts available in shorter variations that may hit about mid-thigh; these typically are straight skirts, with the layers or tiers themselves providing the only movement, and may also be called a cocktail skirt.

A longer tiered skirt may be available as well. These look like peasant skirts, and may be made in either a straight or A-line shape, and typically reach to the ankle or beyond. The length of skirt one chooses to wear depends on personal preference and the occasion. One of the benefits of a tiered skirt in all of these variations is that it can be made more dressy when worn with a stylish shirt, jewelry, and heels, or more casual with a simpler shirt and flats. Tiered skirts are flouncy skirts that offer a lot of movement, and are often dressed up with sequins or other materials to add visual interest and catch the light.

In general, a tiered skirt will be created with the same fabric for the entire skirt; each layer will simply be made with another cut of the same fabric. In some cases, however, different types or colors of fabric will be combined for the different layers, creating an even more unique look. Tiered skirts are available in many different fabric and color combinations, with lighter materials used for summer clothing, and thicker darker material used for fall and winter fashions.

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Discussion Comments
By healthy4life — On Jul 14, 2012

I can still remember my first tiered denim skirt. I got it when I was in elementary school, and I thought it was the cutest thing I had ever worn.

It was short. I believe it only came a few inches above my knees. When you are little, you can get away with wearing stuff like that to school, though.

It was acid-washed, so the denim was really light and flecked with spots of darker blue. It had three ruffly tiers. I loved wearing it with neon shirts covered in glitter, because that was the trend of the time.

By orangey03 — On Jul 13, 2012

@Oceana – I had the same problem with my first tiered peasant skirt. I had been washing it on the gentle cycle and drying it on the delicate setting, but still, it began to fray.

I decided to start handwashing it instead. It does require extra effort and it is an inconvenience, but if you have a favorite item of clothing, you will be motivated to go the extra mile.

I started putting it in a plastic bucket in the bathtub and adding a gentle detergent to the cold water. I would swish it around in there and rinse it out. Then, I would roll it up in a towel to get the excess water out before hanging it up to dry.

Since I've been doing that, I haven't had any more areas of the skirt starting to fray. I have bought another tiered skirt since then, and I handwash it, as well.

By Oceana — On Jul 13, 2012

Tiered skirts are definitely an interesting alternative to the boring pencil skirts I usually wear to the office. I like to wear tiered skirts when I go out with friends, because they are casual yet dressy at the same time.

The only issue I have had with tiered skirts is that the fabric tends to wear out before long. It's incredibly thin, and it starts to fray at the edges after only a few washings.

Does anyone else have this issue? Is there anything I can do to prolong the life of my tiered skirts?

By Perdido — On Jul 12, 2012

I have a long white tiered skirt that has an interesting hemline. Instead of being straight across, the hem falls just below my knees in the front and tapers down to the middle of my calves in the back.

Also, the hem is wavy. There are eyelets along the edges of each tier. The whole skirt reminds me of a fancy wedding cake!

I like to pair it with a black lace top that has white trim. I think it looks incredibly dressy. The funny thing is that both the skirt and the top were very inexpensive, but they look so glamorous!

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