A hobble skirt is a
with a narrow enough hem to significantly
impede the wearer's stride, thus earning
its name. Though restrictive skirts
first appeared in Western fashion in
the 1880s, the term is typically used
in reference to a short-lived trend
of narrow ankle-length skirts in the
early 1910s, made popular by designer
Paul Poiret. Poiret was inspired by
Katherine Wright, sister of the Wright
Brothers, who used a piece of rope to
tie her skirts around her legs when
flying with her brother Wilbur, in order
to keep them from flapping while in
flight. The original trend faded quickly
due to the advent of cars - hobble skirts
made it difficult to get into one, as
well as the general impracticality.
Hobble skirts did however catch enough
attention to become one of the identifying
features of the time period - for example,
the shape of the classic Coca-Cola bottle
is named after them.
Long tight skirts
would reappear through the century in
various forms among women's fashions,
particularly among evening gowns, and
a shorter version of a hobble skirt
that became popular in the 1950s (though
the latter would typically feature a
slit to increase the wearer's mobility).
Since at least the mid-century, hobble
skirts became a mainstay in bondage-oriented
often made out of leather, PVC, or latex.
For example, they were a regular topic
in the 1950's John Willie fetish magazine,
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