New Developments: Motorcycle Skirts

When I first came to Cambodia in 2000, a large portion of the population was riding bicycles. The wealthier, luckier people had old 90cc motorcycles that had seen better days.  There is now an even greater gap in society between the rich and poor, but the wealthier, luckier group has grown and there are now fewer people on bicycles and many more on motorcycles.

Women ride the motorcycles and motorbikes just as the men do–it’s perfectly acceptable–but the women have often covered their legs in various ways when riding.  Probably it’s partly out of a sense of modesty when they are wearing skirts shorter than the traditional ankle-length styles.  And partly, maybe mostly, it was because it can be rather cool riding a motorcycle, even in summer time.  And Cambodian people are particularly sensitive to “low” temperatures (for them that means anything below 80º!).   Often women made cover-ups like these below, just wrapping a jacket or sweater around their legs:


Now, however, a new element has been added: fad and fashion.  In the last few months, more and more women have started wearing purpose-made motorcycle skirts.  They are a simple wraparound, closed with velcro, with colorful patterns.  One size fits all.  And they certainly are popular as shown below: