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THE Skirt

Evolving away from Jeans

Allegra Raff

Aug 30, 2023

If you read this newsletter, you’ve heard about the skirt. Sometimes I call it the “red skirt,” or the “long linen skirt” or the skirt that I wear like jeans.

By which I mean I just throw it on, when I need to wear something that I know looks and feels good.

Something I can move in. Don’t have to worry too much about it. Goes with anything.

Like jeans.

But after my kids were born, I didn’t want anything restrictive at all.

And jeans were a "nope."

Even when my body got back to “normal,” I didn't go back to jeans, though. Quite by accident, I had moved on!

I was living in another world of comfort by then. No plans to return.

Let's back up a little, though. Why do jeans get to corner the market for this feeling?

  • Jeans aren’t actually comfortable at all unless they are artificially “worn in” and contain petrochemical-based elastic fibers. Have you ever encountered a pair of brand-new, all-cotton denim dungarees? They’re stiff as a board.

  • The pliable jeans you get from the store are a different animal, though, and they're likely full of petrochemical dyes (real indigo is rarely used in mass-market jeans anymore) and human rights abuses.

  • TBPerfectlyH, even the stretchy/worn-in jeans I used to wear were never all that comfortable, anyway. They pinched and pulled on my waist and hips, and it was hard to get my hands in the pockets.

  • Ok, but leggings tho? Leggings = zero mystery about the shape of my butt. If that’s how you like to roll, great. But we don’t see butt-to-butt on this issue.

  • Also, the polymers. Leggings are Polymer City!!!

There are many opportunities in life to let other people make the rules for your existence. Large and small, we’re used to handing over decisions about how we do things to the notion that “that’s just how they’re done.” (We're usually handing over the decision to an advertiser.) And sometimes that’s fine!

But also it’s worth taking a look at it, to make sure it's actually fine!!!

I decided I could make better decisions when it came to important issues like what is touching my body every living day.

The skirt

I started making "the skirt" in 2018, desperately wanting an everyday skirt that I could be whole, garden-digging/project-doing/floor-sitting/fast-walking/stuff-carrying self in.

In early 2019, I'd sold a few but still had one hanging on the rack in my workshop.

I'd just had a baby, and needed something to put on that was flexible and comfortable—but that looked nice.

I was so tired of hospital shorts (IYKYK) and sweatpants.

So I pinched it from the rack.

Now, four years later, it’s still my go-to.

Apart from the grace and flow from how the fabric and shape come together (linen moves so beautifully when there's a lot of it; when it’s allowed to really flow!), it has big built-in pockets and a combination of buttons and ties at the top that allow the waist size to fluctuate a few inches in either direction.

(All of this stuff takes time to construct.)

The functionalities are the essence of being a staple, though.

SURE, you could have a skirt that just zips up the back and has no pockets, and it would LOOK nice. But it wouldn’t be the wardrobe staple this skirt has been for me.

And now it can be for you, too.

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