Monday, November 22, 2021

Dresses & Skirts – A Thing Of The Past?

By Carollyn Olson

“We don't need no stinkin' skirts!”
Are dresses and skirts becoming extinct?

Look around! Do you see many women wearing dresses or skirts? 

This came to my attention recently when my spouse and I walked through our local mall one night after dinner and I only discovered only one woman wearing a dress and two others in skirt ensembles. What’s going on? (Note: I noticed eight to ten older women wearing dresses or skirts at church last Sunday. The younger ladies were wearing slacks).

As a long-time crossdresser, I love wearing dresses and skirts. I have my share of skinny jeans and leggings, but I prefer a classy dress or skirt when going out and about.

I have noticed women are more casual and ofttimes, sloppy in their appearance. The younger they are, the worse they dress. When at the mall, I saw more females wearing pants, shorts, yoga pants and torn and holey jeans. One girl, walking in front of us was wearing jeans so badly torn that her bare rear end was showing. Disgusting!

I decided to contact my long-time friend, Melissa, the woman’s department manager at a major department store, for her opinion.

“Women are not buying dresses or skirts like they have in the past,” Melissa related. “I don’t know if they are lazy or don’t want to show off their legs. Our store has cut back on both dresses and skirts due to lack of sales. So has Macy’s. Fancy dresses, such as wedding, prom, holiday or special occasion are still popular, but they are mostly seasonal. We still have a good inventory of fancy dresses for the teens, but every day casual dresses just don’t sell. I still like wearing dresses and looking good, but I’d say I wear a dress or a skirt outfit to work only once or twice a week.” 

Melissa reminded me of the Sears stores, prior to the company going out of business.

“As a part of my job, I visit the stores in direct competition with our store. Inventories are down everywhere. I could not find one dress at the Sears in our mall in its final year or so of operation,” she recalled. “The only Sears store with dresses was about ten miles from our location.”  

For a crossdresser, multi-style dresses and skirts are readily available on the Internet, but sadly, not in the stores, so one can try on the dress prior to purchasing. One great site is En Femme, where the company designs dresses and skirts with the crossdresser in mind. 

I have at least six En Femme dresses, which I cherish and love to wear when out andabout. Three are what you might call “party dresses” and the others can be worn for any occasion. Check out the wonderful dresses and skirts on the En Femme site. You can’t go wrong!

I’d love to hear your opinion!

UPDATE: Carollyn thanks everybody for their responses and wishes everyone a blessed Thanksgiving!

Source: JustFab
Wearing JustFab

Julie Shaw
Femulate reader and blogger Julie Shaw out and about.


  1. I do a spot survey every so often and only about one woman in five wears skirts or dresses. Even fewer in winter. It's about warmth, practicality, avoiding men's ogling, not shaving legs so much, not having to buy flimsy pantyhose as well, laziness, fashion ... I love my leggings but, yes, skirts and dresses are nicer but I just want to blend in so I wear what the other women are wearing. Sue x

  2. Yup.
    I have been telling you that for years.
    Yes, women still wear dresses and skirts but the vast, vast majority wear slacks and low heels pumps. When I go to legislative meetings 99% of the women sitting around the table are wearing slacks, usually the only women there that wears skirts is Robin the former ED of True Colors but she wears long skirt down to her ankles. And if I do wear a skirt it is also long down to my ankles, but it keeps getting run over by the chair wheels.
    Also fewer and fewer women are wearing makeup.
    I think the only women who use makeup and wear dresses or a skirt are professional women where the men still wear suits.

  3. Or is it just the weather? I noticed a more even mixture of women wearing jeans/legging and skirts in the High Street during the summer.

  4. in the 21st century, men are the new women and women are the new tr*nnies!

    although i appreciate the practical nature of trousers for everyday wear, i still abhor what is going on (i did actually contribute an article here addressing this alarming development a while back). but in a way their loss (not that today's women see it as such) is our gain, as admirers now find themselves more attracted to trans-types that endeavour to emulate the feminine fashions of yore than real women who look (and act) more and more like men with each passing day.

    sadly for crossdressers though it also has its drawbacks, as one so-inclined might be put-off doing everyday activities such as shopping whilst dressed in a traditinal female manner, as a skirt or dress worn in such emporia is now as rare as hen's teeth, and will likely attact (unwanted) attention accordingly.

    although i find that extremely frustrating with regard to any ambition i may have to merge in seamlessly en femme in supermarkets, malls, etc, i have now decided "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em"! as such i have already purchased a pair of black ladies trainers and several pairs of black ladies cotton briefs (that i actually find wearing preferable to the male variety!). and soon enough i hope to expand my womens' casual wardrobe of today with some black ladies jogging pants (not leggings though!) and a relatively plain ladies top. and even maybe a ladies jacket? that way i can go about shopping and other casual activities in public knowing i am clad in womenswear without being given a second glance (other than on account on my long girly hair ha ha) by passers-by. and of course, i can still wear dresses and skirts (and high heels) should i wish to go out on the town at night!

    1. what is the difference between ladies jogging pants and leggings?

    2. What is the difference between ladies jogging pants and leggings?


    3. I believe that basically jogging pants and leggings are the same. The difference is how they are decorated. For example, jogging pants may have a racing stripe running down the length of the pant, while leggings may have a little lace on the cuff.

    4. jogging pants (as i define them) are not skin-tight in the way that leggings are. leggings are practically tights (or pantyhose), which to my mind looks like those wearing them have forgotten to put a skirt or dress on! another reason for wearing looser-fitting trousers/pants is that without help i don't have the classic upper leg tapering out into hips profile that the majority of women have, so a looser fit would of course help to hide that handicap

  5. I have conducted many an informal survey on the streets where I live - and on avarege 1 out of every 15 women are wearing a dress or skirt. And this has been done many times, in many seasons. As a crossdresser, I always say "If I want to wear pants/jeans, then why cross dress?" It's the opportunity to wear skirt, hose and heels that makes the experience. Even if I have to build a backstory in my mind -- the corporate executive stopping at the grocery store on her way home from work. But I must say, I never get an adverse reaction or comment from being out in a dress/skirt.

  6. I, too, have been very aware of this more lately as I have started wearing more dresses than I used to in the past, having preferred leggings and jeans because that is exactly what women, especially younger girls, have been wearing for a very long time. I believe leggings became stylish in the 1980s and are still going strong today.

    My male counterpart always worn jeans and my mother became enraged when I'd wear them will holes in the knees. I had no idea that one day people would pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars for new jeans that have more holes than Swiss cheese.

    So while I think this whole practice of fewer and fewer women wearing dresses has been trending for quite some time, I believe you are right, Stana, in that it is at an all-time low and is being seen in stores everywhere. What I don't like is that it almost makes you stand out even more when out en femme since so few dresses are seen.

    Having said that, I have a few female friends that almost always wear dresses - especially in the summer and then leggings underneath their dresses in the fall and winter. Their reasoning is that dresses are so much more comfortable than jeans and I couldn't agree more with that sentiment!

    1. Thank you, Jamine, but I don't want to take credit for today's post. It was written by Carollyn Olson, not me.

    2. My apologies to Carollyn.

  7. The younger gals will wear body-con mini dresses with spike heels when going clubbing and in the warmer weather you will see them in strappy sundresses both mini and maxi, mostly when they want to make a feminine statement. Otherwise it's jeans, shorts, leggings, or some other type of athletic leisure wear

    Angel Amore

  8. Yes, skirt & dress wearing has gone WAY down for the ladies. Particularly young ladies. Now it is more about function and comfort. What is funny is I am extremely comfortable in a skirt so I don't see the big deal really.

    I think the only place these days that you are going to find a consistent level of dress for ladies is in a law office or office environment where there is an expected dress code and appearance is important. Anywhere else and it is very dressed down.

    Ladies, it is now up to use to carry the mantle for wearing skirts and dresses!

    -Christina Cross

  9. Yup,

    now women are the trannies. We girls are the feminine ones!

  10. My wife has told me several times “most women only wear pants… you only wear dresses and skirts”. She and my daughter are a good example of this. My solution has been to dress as casually as possible (i.e. plain dresses, denim skirts, flat shoes), avoiding bright/flashy colours, with as little makeup as I can get away with and minimal jewellery, particularly when I do mundane things like going to church, walking my Cocker Spaniels, etc. and it seems to work well for me… a couple of weeks ago my next door neighbour asked whether the woman who sometimes walks my dogs is a friend or a relative :)

  11. My everyday clothes are dresses. The only times I wear trousers is when I go shopping or church. I even wezr dresses when I do yard work, and I talk to neigbors while so attired.
    I don't like to wezr trousers with the wedge of cloth against my male junk.


  12. If you're going to dress casually, plain, no flashy colours, minimum makeup, flat shoes, why bother? Get back into drab, maleness and join the ladies!

    1. Looking like a peacock in a hen house doesn't help passing...

  13. I think the price of panty hose has had an effect on the dress/skirt market. People want to get more than one or two 'wears' from an article of clothing. Panty hose cost $5 to $10 a pair are sometime gone after a few uses are not practical.

    Bobbie S.

    1. Leslie LangfordNovember 22, 2021

      Interestingly enough, there was an article in this past weekend's Toronto Star by one of their fashion editors wherein she observed that pantyhose were slowly starting to make a comeback as women are beginning to appreciate again how they can enhance the appearance of their legs - especially compared with the often "pasty" bare-legged look that exposes all of the legs' imperfections...scars, blemishes, varicose veins etc.

      One catalyst for this has been the increasing popularity of "3-dimensional" hosiery (referring to more robust yarns and improved knitting technology) such as Sheertex that are far more durable than traditional pantyhose.

      The "kicker" here is that the industry has has made a conscious effort to move away from the term "pantyhose" due to its past negative connotations in favor of "tights" as our British sisters routinely refer to them as.

  14. Leslie LangfordNovember 22, 2021

    I totally concur with the other posters here who have bemoaned the steady erosion over the last couple of decades in the number of women willing to wear skirts, dresses or even heels on a regular basis.

    Worse than that, whenever I DO see a young woman in a fancy dress and heels - say at a wedding, a Christmas party or the like - they invariably look uncomfortable and self-conscious, ga-lumping around awkwardly like a truck driver in drag. Compounding this is the general absence of what was once seen as typical feminine mannerisms.

    In some ways, I actually find this empowering as an out-and-about crossdresser, though, as I generally dress more elegantly, stylishly, and in a far more feminine manner than the women I encounter when doing so, giving them no excuse whatsoever to either snicker or look down on me if they do happen to "read" me as a crossdresser in the process. At least I am making a conscious effort to emulate traditional femininity; they are not.

  15. Cis gender female here, a Woman of a Certain Age.

    Stopped buying dresses when manufacturers stopped putting sleeves in them. That trend has gone on for 15-20 years at this point. I have always hated baring my arms ... in the 1960s, as a child; in the 1970s, as a teenager; etc., etc., etc.

    I will sew a dress for myself every now and again. The ones I make have proper sleeves, and close high enough to cover my crepey old neck.
    Usually I toss on a blouse and skirt instead of a dress, because the blouse gets double use when I wear it with trousers or jeans.

    I DO make sure that my fabrics read as feminine. Am finally old enough to indulge in my beloved tiny-floral calico. If someone mistakes me for a great-grandmother, it is no longer as insulting as once upon a time.

  16. The trend has been slowly moving in this direction for years. The pandemic I understand where many are working from home, they have cast off their frocks, for more practical wear, and that has carried over back to the office where many people are now working a few days there and a few days home.

  17. LinB, you make a great point about dresses not having sleeves. These sheath dresses are very popular. Like you I prefer sleeves. In fact I prefer long sleeves. I do have some dresses that are sleeveless but I always wear a sweater/shrug with it to provide some modesty that I prefer. I am a CD/gender fluid.

    - Christina Cross

  18. Totally agree with Leslie Langford. Perhaps this all started with Casual Fridays. Hard to buy a financial product from a woman who is dressed like a truck driver.
    Contrast the generational difference between the Speaker of the House (classy) and the VP (sloppy-ill fitting)

  19. I wouldn't feel confident enough to go out in public, if I didn't present in the most feminine way I can, including a dress or a skirt, jewellery, a full face of makeup, a handbag and a feminine hairdo.
    Penny from Edinburgh.

  20. At one time men wore pants and women wore skirts or dresses
    Now men are stuck with pants and women can wear what they like
    When the weather is cold they wear pants and skirts or dresses when it is warm
    It soumds like common sense to me

  21. Just recently I sent Stana an email about tights made in Japan. Because skirt wearing is still popular they have produced tights that look normal sheer but are actually lined so it looks like your legs underneath. It's a bit like tan tights underneath with sheer dark ones on top. THe idea is for winter use. I did think they may have some use to save shaving or when you can't be bothered?? lol

  22. I like wearing dresses and skirts. I have pants and there are times when they are appropriate-a walk in the forest ( I don't want to be accosted by the wolf, so certainly not a red coat over a dress!) and going for a pedicure, when taking off and then putting on again tights (panty hose) is really not appropriate. But, having spent a half century rarely hav!ng done more than try on a dress or two and a few skirts, I'm now going to enjoy them, with glam stockings when appropriate and love every moment.


  23. How does one feel feminine and sexy going about in a baggy sweatshirt and jeans these days? Come on there is a reason for skirts, hosiery and heels these days and its for us gurls out there to wear.

    They tried to ban the stilleto but no ban the pant suit!

  24. The last 3 weddings I attended, the brides and their entourage were wearing pant suits! All the weddings were outdoors, I could see where a traditional bridal gown would be impractical.
    I am part of an informal group of CDs, TGs and real girls. At our last meeting in October, all the real girls were wearing those hideous Jeggings along with t-shirts or over-sized sweatshirts. All wore tennis shoes or sneakers. All had haircuts so short you could mistake them for men. We crossdressers were decked out in our feminine frocks. The real girls called us "The Stepford Wives." We called the real girls "The Borg."

  25. It's been happening for a long time now but will turn around in a second as soon as Jennifer Lawrence or some other celeb sets the new trend. Until then Kate Middleton and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands will continue to be my hosiery wearing hero's. PURE ELEGANCE!

    Personally I love to dress up and have no desire to blend in with the crowd.I overdress and get only compliments with no negative experiences even though when I open my mouth Trace Atkins voice comes out.

    There has never been a better time for crossdresser's to be out and about. Call it acceptance, tolerance or what ever the younger the person the less they care what you do.

    Get dressed, go out, and have fun!

  26. A count during an urban walk today gave a 92% pants to skirt count. I have heard that perhaps 2% of males femulate and by preference wear skirts, so what is the probability that one of these 8% of skirted women were male?

    In London and in Brussels the nearer one is to the centres of financial and political power the higher the percentage of women wearing work dresses or skirts AND heels.


  27. "Are dresses and skirts becoming extinct?"

    Here in Europe the answer is definitely 'no'. In the office in Paris, I don't recall ever seeing a woman in pants.

    On the street, certainly women sometimes wear pants. But they're very stylish, and are worn with well-designed shoes.

    My wife owns but one pair of pants, and those are only worn to the gymnasium.

  28. I know that I have a lot more Dresses and Skirts than my daughter! I have never seen her in a skirt or a dress since she left school

  29. Caryolynn, thank you for sharing that link to

    I love what they're offering. There is one dress on that site that I absolutely love. And it is out of stock in my size! I will certainly keep visiting and watching for "my" dress.

    I like dresses. I like skirts. I just bought some leggings that are "going out" worthy and I'd had a couple pair that I only wore at home (and for sleeping).

    Stana, thanks for sharing your forum with us and Carolynn thank you for your story.


  30. I believe that this phenomenon of "dressing badly" occurs in both genders. If you start looking at the way modern men dress, for example, you will notice that they are also more "sloppy".
    In the past, men wore well ironed shirts, suspenders, well shined shoes, and even hats. Today, on the other hand, they prefer more casual and not necessarily ironed t-shirts, ripped jeans, and sports shoes or sandals.
    I think that women's abandonment of skirts in everyday life is due to comfort. It is one thing to wear skirts once in a while, but it is another thing to wear them all the time.

  31. Thank you so much for including my photo, and to do so on THIS article is even more special. This is a topic that I rail about often - just ask my friends! (giggle) Trying to blend in is always the challenge, especially when out in a group of ladies. I was supposed to meet a girl friend for coffee Saturday morning, and was prepared to go in leggings and sneakers so I would blend in with her. She had to cancel, so instead I planned to do shopping en femme anyway - but changed my outfit to a jean skirt and tights. It felt SO much better, even though I didn't encounter any other women in skirts that day. But I did get a compliment on my outfit from the gal working at Starbucks!