With an extremely rich history, the broomstick skirt has been called by many names. This full, free-flowing skirt has been referred to as a tiered skirt, peasant skirt, gypsy skirt, hippie skirt, Indian skirt and crinkled skirt. Broomstick skirts are thought to have derived their name from the tightly pleated tiers that flare out much like the bristles found on a broom. However, it is more likely that the term broomstick came about by the way in which these skirts are given their crinkly texture.
To create the crinkly, wrinkled effect, the wet broomstick skirt was traditionally twisted around the handle of a broomstick and allowed to dry. These long, comfortable skirts can be found in a number of materials, from rayon and cotton to denim, velvet, and even silk. During earlier times, they were more commonly seen in lightweight cotton, which was easier and cheaper to obtain. Broomstick skirts may still be made by hand, and numerous patterns for them can be found online.
These skirts are also relatively easy to care for. There’s no need for ironing since the wrinkled appearance are their trademark—simply wash, tie in a knot, and dry. In addition to the various fabric materials that are available, you can also find the skirts in numerous colors, patterns, and designs. In fact, the broomstick skirt with multicolored patterns was quite popular among Navajo women. This Indian skirt, as it was called, may have given way to the wide range of cowgirl designs as well.
Even as far back as the Renaissance, the broomstick skirt could be seen, albeit in a somewhat different style. Known then as peasant skirts, they were typically thicker and made of muted colors. Yet, for those with more resources available to them, additional colors and lighter fabrics became fashionable. Thus, the age of the gypsy skirt came to be with bright colors and varied patterns. Later, broomstick skirts would take on a more daring look with tie-dye methods employed during the “hippie” generation.
Today, the broomstick skirt has versatile uses. Its lightweight texture makes it great for summer and can be casually worn with sheer tops or tanks and sandals. The skirt can also be dressed up in cooler months with a sweater or jacket and boots. The variety of colors and patterns makes finding one for nearly any occasion quite simple. These skirts are especially good for those on a budget by choosing neutral colors and then mixing and matching them to create several outfits.