This summer the world of fashion is loving the skort, and for good reason: It’s a welcome warm-weather wardrobe staple for women on the go everywhere.
Skorts for cycling refer to short skirts with a built-in or detachable stretchy pant that contains a pad (chamois). Wearers get the best of both worlds: the femininity of a skirt, and the comfort, ease of movement and modesty of a pant. I like a skort for everyday riding in the city because I can throw my leg over my top tube without worrying about panty show.
A variety of cycling and mainstream fashion brands sell skorts, but credit for popularizing this innovation goes to Terry Bicycles, the women-specific brand that brought the first cycling skort to market in 1999, having acquired a company that produced the prototypes. It immediately resonated with active women.
“We were shocked at the reaction,” says Paula Dyba, vice president of marketing, who has been with Terry for 20 years.
Terry hoped to sell a few hundred, Dyba says. But skorts were an immediate hit, so much so that in 2003 -2004, the height of the market, sales topped 12,000 annually and outpaced the company’s popular bike shorts.
“I think it was at a time where the whole girl power trend had just started to happen,” Dyba continues. “It said ‘be feminine, be sporty, but don’t be just like a guy.’ ”
The skort proved a fun and functional alternative to shorts for casual wear, as well as for performance cycling, including mountain biking. Retailers liked it because it offered a truly new option for their female customers. Dyba also attributes the skort’s popularity to its ability to flatter a wide range of figures.
“A short with a skirt over it does something for the esthetic of bike clothing,” she observes. “It hit a nerve.”
Today the company offers three skorts, each with features that appeal to different needs and that fit in with the current cross-over trend that blends fashion styling with the performance of active-wear. With growing popularity of bicycling for transportation in cities, Dyba says the company has seen an increase in sales of its Metro skirt.
“As people ride more in an urban environment, it’s part of that culture,” she says. “It’s another addition to selection and utility as part or that 24/7 [active] lifestyle.”
Top photo: Flare Skort, wide stretch waist band and attached liner with chamois, $89, and Terry Bella Top, $52.
Above left to right: Metro Skort, stretch skirt with a slightly longer hemline, detachable mesh liner with chamois, $79. Echelon Skort, sportiest version with UV protective and heat absorbing skirt, attached mesh liner and premium chamois $140