New wrinkle in broomstick skirts is found in updated fabrics and prints

The broomstick/crinkle skirt that enjoyed a huge presence in fashions of the late 1980s/early 1990s is back in full force, says Stephen Armstrong, visual manager of Coldwater Creek in Hamilton Corner in East Brainerd.

The long skirt made from crinkled fabric, typically cotton, has been updated with colorful textures and prints, Mr. Armstrong said.

"We used to see it just in skirts. Now the crinkle fabric can be found across the board in separates," he said.

The actually crinkling of the fabric takes place when wet fabric is twisted in knots (or the old-fashion method of wrapping it around a broomstick) and left to dry.

"The fashions are sent to us packaged in pantyhose to keep the crinkled effect," Mr. Armstrong said. "If the fabric is cotton, the crinkles tend to fall out after wearing several times, but all you have to do is wash the fabric and twist it to dry."

According to, a great benefit of crinkled fashions is that they require no ironing. They are simply washed and hung up to dry.

Signal Mountain resident Lacey Stephens likes the crinkled look.

"I love it because you don't have to iron it," she said.

Coni Kile Haley of Chattanooga said that though she likes crinkled fashions, she thinks the styles look better on young and thin women.

While that may have been the case 20 years ago, the new styles have been fashioned for women of all ages and sizes, Mr. Armstrong said.

"The crinkles used to be extremely tight so the garment clung to the body," he said. "Today, it's now more shapely and hangs loosely on the body. It's ideal for any woman."

Coldwater Creek has brought back the style in fashions ranging from long skirts to hip-length tunics to button-up shirts and pullover blouses.

"And we have a ton of crinkled scarves," Mr. Armstrong said. "It's such a versatile piece. It can be fluffed out and worn as a shawl or tightened to wear around the neck."

Designers, in some cases, dye the fabric during the twisting process to give it somewhat of a tie-dyed effect, he said. "It adds interest to the texture."

Two decades ago, crinkled skirts were considered dressy, Mr. Armstrong said.

"Today, it's the opposite. It's a more casual and versatile fashion."

"You don't see it in men's fashions. The only crinkled look for us is seersucker and that's been around forever," Mr. Armstrong said. "But like the crinkled fashions, seersucker allows air to circulate around the body so it's extremely comfortable."