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"Women and High Heels"    by Roger Adams, co-designer of RoSa Shoes

Why Hobble Skirts?

Our Little Black Hobble Skirt is the perfect companion to your RoSa Shoes High Stilettos. Tight skirts and pointed shoes with stiletto heels are made for one another, as our photo below perfectly illustrates. See how the rear curve of the shoe echoes the rear curve of the wearer in her tight skirt?

However, genuine Hobble Skirts, with no unattractive walking splits or vents to spoil the line, intentionally very narrow and restricting below the knee, are difficult to find in mainstream shops. It seemed logical to produce our own collection of ultra-tight skirts, made to our customers' own measurements for maximum hobble effect.

Hobble Skirts are, as you would expect, more demanding to wear than ordinary straight "pencil skirts". Because the movement of your legs is limited, you have to "wiggle", or walk from the knee, converting your walking energy into a more exaggerated hip motion.

As your stride is already shortened when you wear high heels, the restriction of a very slim, tight skirt feels less of a hindrance.Tight skirts and stiletto heels are therefore inseparable. They work together. In fact, when you try on your Little Black Hobble Skirt, even before putting on your shoes, you'll instinctively walk around on tiptoe, as though wearing high stiletto heels. It just feels natural.

Sarah of RoSa in 1960s style knee length hobble skirt in black crepe

[ Note: Let us be clear, once and for all, about the correct use of the word "hobble". A woman in a Hobble Skirt does NOT hobble (i.e. walk with a limp). To suggest that she does would be an insult. It is, however, correct to state that her skirt hobbles her, that she is hobbled by her skirt, or that her skirt is so narrow that it acts as a hobble. It's the skirt which does the hobbling - not the wearer! ]

The Hobble Skirt in everyday life

A woman who embraces impracticality by wearing the tightest possible Hobble Skirt is a glorious sight. As she enters a room, her skirt pulling tight round her legs at every shortened step, she knows she cannot fail to be the centre of attention. This empowers her, even though her skirt hampers her movement.

Women wear Hobble Skirts for a variety of reasons - to make themselves feel wonderful, to attract male attention, to dumbfound less adventurous rivals, to create controversy, to laugh in the face of ridicule, to antagonize those unfortunate members of the "fashion police" who express outrage at any hint of impracticality or eroticism  in women's clothing - and so on.

In the world of entertainment, the slow, seductive saunter imposed by a Hobble Skirt means that its wearer remains the focus of an audience's attention (or on camera) that little bit longer - one very good reason why a performer, or recipient of a showbusiness award, will often choose to wear a gown with a skirt which severely hobbles her, delaying her arrival centre stage, prolonging the applause as she leaves....and occasionally putting her in the media spotlight if her skirt is so tight that her devastating walk causes controversy in the newspapers the following day.

Recently, female celebrities (Beyonce and Zahia Dehar to name but two) have consciously chosen to wear their most outrageously tight dresses to venues which have long staircases to climb, guaranteed to enhance the spectacle. Needless to say, if you spend most of your life attending gala events in impractical dresses, this is no accident. It's precisely calculated to cause maximum outcry from the outraged voices of mediocrity and optimum online media exposure as these ladies wriggle sideways up the steps, hobbled by their tight skirts. You may think they are inadvertently leaving themselves open to criticism for the sake of personal vanity - but they are playing public reaction as a virtuoso plays a fiddle. An impossibly tight skirt usually means that maximum publicity is almost guaranteed.

The Hobble Skirt represents empowerment. A female executive wearing a Hobble-Skirted business suit and high stiletto heels in the workplace looks the epitome of efficiency. Although her own speed and physical capability are reduced, the respect she commands makes her life easier.

In short, the Hobble-Skirted woman dictates the pace. She cannot and will not be hurried. The world waits for her in fascination, compelled to make allowances for the way her narrow skirt inconveniences her, yet at the same time enhances her personal style, dignity and charisma.  

Sarah of RoSa in 1950s style calf-length hobble skirts in black twill suiting

In a Hobble Skirt, you must move and behave differently. You have to walk as the skirt tells you to walk. It takes practice and patience. Having achieved the necessary skills, you may wish to encourage friends who normally dress down in flat shoes and jeans to join you in adopting the style, so you can all enjoy socialising at a similar pace. Alternatively you may wish to continue enjoying a very unfair advantage!

If in doubt, here's some good news: contrary to the claims of fashion “experts” concerning the clothing requirements of the (allegedly) more active modern woman, life has inadvertently become better-suited than ever to the wearing of Hobble Skirts.

After all, when was the last time you had to mount a high step to climb aboard a bus or train? Just how difficult is it to drive your automatic to a multi-storey car park and saunter around the adjoining smooth-floored shopping mall, complete with escalators, elevators and mobility ramps? It's so much easier to get around these days. If you do need to move quickly, simply break into a graceful (and aerobically beneficial) Geisha-style trot!

Once you have grown accustomed to it, we think you will actually enjoy the elegant sensation of feeling hobbled by your skirt. Moreover, you'll be pleasantly surprised, and occasionally amused, by the reactions it provokes. You'll find that people have no problem at all with seeing women walking that way - in fact most will admire your style. As for those few sad people who don't approve and stare unkindly at you - just wear big sunglasses and ignore them. As Mr Ant put it, "Ridicule is nothing to be scared of" !

Our "Little Black Hobble Skirts" are a long way from what so many High Street shops sell as “pencil skirts” - those corporate-looking, unexciting, straight, excessively stretchy items of clothing, with their unsightly and completely unnecessary splits or vents, advertised as offering “freedom of movement”. One wonders what kind of movement the manufacturers envisage – the Can-Can, perhaps, or the Steeplechase?

What the fashion industry and its various commentators currently seem unable to comprehend is that tight skirts are supposed to change how you walk and move. The subtle little manoeuvres you must learn to accomplish in order to go about your daily routine are what makes a restricting Hobble Skirt so eternally fascinating, to both wearer and admirer alike. Your ability to cope calmly and serenely with an item of clothing so obviously impractical and challenging to wear is what defines your elegance and sets you apart from the crowd.

Wearing your "Little Black Hobble Skirt" may occasionally present you with interesting little problems to solve, but once you’ve got your walk and your attitude sorted, you’ll be fine. American fashion journalist Edith Russell successfully escaped the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 despite, as she later described in a radio interview, being almost unable to walk - a "prisoner" in her new full-length Paris Hobble Skirt (the first item she grabbed from her cabin wardrobe en route to the lifeboats). We're sure you'll survive in rather less demanding circumstances.

Just work that wiggle, accept that you must walk from the knee, as the Hobble Skirt dictates, and take a little extra care on stairs, which should, of course, be avoided whenever possible.

Obviously, climbing up a long flight of high steps must be done sideways, one step at a time, so please be patient. Don't try to hurry or you will draw more attention to yourself. It will be obvious to anyone watching that your skirt is impeding you (no point pretending otherwise!) but simply adopt a calm approach. Say to yourself, "does this amusing little problem really matter when otherwise my tight skirt looks so wonderful?" and above all - don't take yourself too seriously! No stairway goes on forever (except perhaps the one Led Zeppelin sing about - and of course those in Montmartre). When you reach the top, all will be forgotten. Such moments are all part of the legendary appeal of a really tight skirt. Whether you realize it or not during the embarrassment of the moment, your efforts have probably just made someone's day!

Less apparent to a newcomer to Hobble Skirts, but more important with regard to personal safety  - going downstairs in a longer skirt which hobbles your ankles is something to be undertaken slowly, carefully and with great mindfulness at all times.

Don’t forget those stilettos - and, above all, have fun!