"Clothes in which a woman cannot walk freely (or sit down) simply have no place in the modern world" (Financial Times, Paris Fashion Week runway report, February 2013)
A Hobble Skirt is the perfect companion to the high stiletto shoe. Tight skirts and pointed-toe 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 (deliberately tapered in so they are tight and restricting below the knee) are so hard to find in mainstream shops that it seemed logical to introduce our own.
Hobble Skirts, as you would expect, are a little more demanding to wear than 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. Walking this way, as your stride is already shortened by your high thin heels, the restriction of a very narrow, tightly tapered skirt feels less of a hindrance.
Tight skirts and stiletto heels are inseparable - when you try on your 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.
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 she does so 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 (a device used to restrain or immobilise).
It's the skirt that does the hobbling - not the wearer!
A woman who embraces impracticality by wearing a Hobble Skirt is a glorious sight, even though her skirt may be so restricting that she cannot take anything approaching a full stride. As she enters a room and moves sinuously and seductively across the floor, she is confident she will not go unnoticed.
Women wear Hobble Skirts for a variety of reasons - to make themselves feel wonderful, to attract male attention, to dumbfound other women, to create controversy, to antagonize those unfortunate members of the "fashion police" who are outraged by any hint of impracticality, eroticism or fetishism in women's clothing - and so on.
In the world of entertainment, the mesmerisingly slow, undulating walk 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 which severely hobbles her, delaying her arrival centre stage, prolonging the applause as she leaves....and occasionally putting her on the front pages of the newspapers if she should happen to accidentally(?) trip, stumble or fall.
Surprisingly, perhaps, the Hobble Skirt represents empowerment. A woman wearing a Hobble-Skirted business "power suit" and high stiletto heels in the workplace looks the epitome of efficiency. Although her own speed and mobility are, of course, greatly reduced, her authority is beyond question and the increased respect she commands when delegating tasks actually 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 she has chosen to inconvenience herself in order to enhance her personal style and charisma.
In a real Hobble Skirt, you must move and behave differently. You have to walk as the skirt tells you to walk. It takes practice and patience - maybe a glass or two of something to remove your inhibitions and some serious sunglasses to maintain your cool. Having achieved the necessary skills, you may wish to persuade 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.
If in doubt, here's some good news: contrary to what fashion “experts” may claim to be the clothing requirements of the (allegedly) more active modern woman, life is now better-suited than ever to the wearing of Hobble Skirts. You’ll be able to manage surprisingly well.
After all it is, as the Financial Times Fashion Paris Fashion Report (see above) insists on reminding us, 2013. We live in the "modern world" - so 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? If you 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 feeling elegantly hobbled by your skirt. Moreover, you'll be pleasantly surprised, and occasionally amused, by the reactions it provokes. You'll find that people love to see women walking that way and they will admire you for doing so.
Our "Little Black Hobble Skirts" are a long way from what so many High Street shops sell as “pencil skirts” - those 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 no longer seem able to comprehend is that narrow skirts are supposed to change how you walk and move. They should not allow ungainliness. The subtle little manoeuvres you must perfect 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 clothing which is so obviously difficult to wear is what defines your elegance and sets you apart from the crowd.
Wearing your "Little Black Hobble Skirt" will, no doubt, occasionally present you with interesting challenges, 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 as the Hobble Skirt dictates and take a little extra care on the stairs, which should, of course, be avoided whenever possible. Obviously, climbing up high steps can be tricky until you have the knack (do it sideways, or even backwards if necessary.) Less apparent but even more important with regard to personal safety - going downstairs in a skirt which hobbles your ankles is something to be undertaken slowly, carefully and with great mindfullness.
Don’t forget the stilettos - and, above all, have fun!
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