Given the recent renaissance of Y2K fashion thanks to TikTok, it was only a matter of time before the skort made its humble return. Cast your mind back to the super miniskirts sported by Christina Aguilera, Victoria Beckham, Paris Hilton and Britney Spears (to name a few), and it becomes clear that a skort is the perfect amalgamation of both early 2000 fashion and current-day athleisure trends.
For those who don’t remember the skort’s first brush with the limelight, the garment consists of a pair of shorts that are overlapped by a piece of fabric to give the appearance of a short skirt. Traditionally, this made them an obvious choice for women playing sports involving fast-paced lunging movements, such as tennis or hockey.
But where did this hybrid fashion item and its portmanteau come from? In its 1959 Spring/Summer catalogue, US department store Montgomery Ward claimed it was the inventor of the clothing item. The store’s version was an accordion-pleated skirt with bloomers attached underneath.
Deidre Clemente, a fashion historian and associate professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas told Refinery 29 that at the time, trousers were still seen as too “masculine” for women. As a result, when tennis first became a popular sport at the beginning of the 1900s, women wore skirts to play. While early uniforms saw women don floor-length skirts, stockings, and long-sleeved tops, Spanish feminist and tennis player Lilí Álvarez became the first to wear a skort when she competed at Wimbledon in 1931. The skort Alverez wore resembled loose culottes underneath a wraparound skirt that hung just above the knee – created by Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. Her outfit paved the way for the skorts seen on the tennis court today.
But with the rise of athleisure, the skort has also made its way into both mainstream fashion and activewear. Today high street brands like Zara and H&M both stock their own versions, while Lululemon sells more than 20 options.
Although Lululemon’s offerings are still advertised as “tennis skirts” as opposed to fashion pieces, over on TikTok the skort is very much a staple piece in Gen-Z’s summer wardrobe. Videos using the hashtag “skort” have received more than 17 million views, with countless creators showing off how they style their skort of choice.
For some, the skort is an entirely new concept that they hadn’t heard of before. One TikTok user named Brie (@talllivingtiny) went viral after posting a video of a denim skort. ”I gotta show you this,” she says before lifting the skirt fabric and revealing shorts underneath. “Skirts that are shorts!” she exclaims, adding a “mindblown” emoji.
As the trend spread, UK-based sports brand Slazenger’s “court skort” quickly became a popular option with “vintage” versions selling for £30 and upwards on Depop. They have an original price of around £11. Those who didn’t manage to get their hands on a Slazenger skort have also gotten creative.
In one video, which has received more than 90,000 likes, TikToker “liv020” presents her followers with a skort she found in Marks & Spencer’s school uniform section.
“Guys please stop buying Slazenger skorts from Depop for £30. This skort is from M&S and it’s literally the exact same,” she says. Explaining her fondness of the short-skirt hybrid, she said she feels “more comfortable” getting public transport, walking around London and going to school with shorts under what looks like a bodycon skirt.
Given Gen-Z’s penchant for the skort, it wasn’t long before Slazenger teamed up with influencer duo, best friends Sophia Tuxford and Cinzia Baylis-Zullo to release a new skort in June in the colours black, white, baby pink and navy blue.
Arguably, another true marker of a mainstream fashion trend that is about to be seen everywhere (and potentially tossed aside just as quickly) is when it is picked up by fast-fashion retailers like Boohoo and ASOS. Boohoo currently lists 30 different skort options on its website, while ASOS stocks 52 styles.
According to Google Trends data analysed by shopping platform Stylight, searches for skort have increased by 62 per cent since May. One US athleisure brand riding the buzz around the item is Halara. According to the data, searches for the brand have increased by 300 per cent in the last three months. The brand sells more than 50 styles of skorts.
Gen-Z’s influence is undeniable. Elsewhere, the skort has made its return on the runway too. During Prada’s menswear show at Milan fashion week, the designer sent a host of leggy models down the runway in skorts. The masculine silhouette differed from women’s skorts in that an inch or two of the shorts are visible under the skirt. Prada’s collection offered a sophisticated take on the traditionally sporty garment, debuting tailored skorts in geometric prints and jewel shades.
While it’s no doubt the skort has made a popular comeback, not everyone is convinced. One user who commented on @Liv020’s TikTok said she doesn’t “get the trend” or “understand why anyone would want to look like they are doing year eight P.E.”. Another self-proclaimed millennial, Jocelyn Chandler, replied to Brie’s video to say that her generation “did that already”.
“But, I’m glad you guys have discovered skorts. I mean they were okay, but it’s been done. So welcome, welcome Gen-Z to Millennial TikTok, where you do everything that we’ve already done and we’re not that impressed.
“Please enjoy our used fashion while we rock our side parts and our skinny jeans,” she added.