The Skirt Project | Uplifting Women through Portrait Photography

The Skirt Project

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The skirt project was born of my own struggle to find a flattering outfit I felt confident in. As a plus size girl, it is so hard to find flattering clothing that actually makes me feel beautiful. When I ordered my very first skirt, Kelley Yellow, on Amazon, I had no idea it would lead me down the path to this project. I now own 50 skirts, and love that I get to instill confidence in women of all ages, shapes, and walks of life through the skirt project.

The story of the Skirt Project

Shopping while plus size can be downright defeating. To be honest, shopping while female in general is! Whether you’re struggling with extra weight, changes in shape from having a baby, having broad shoulders or a long torso or a flat chest… seems like anything less than “perfect” causes wardrobe issues, am I right?!

Kelley Yellow was the first skirt I acquired. I ordered it on Amazon for myself. When I first put it on and looked in the mirror, I smiled and really liked my appearance for the first time in a long time. Ya’ll, that was a big deal for me! I felt like a dang princess. I knew this was a feeling I had to share with other women! But, at the time, I didn’t have a plan for the skirt project yet.

Then the passion project came to life!

Over the next year, I acquired over 50 different skirts. (Sometimes, I still find myself looking for new colors!) What started as a model call for a couple individual portrait sessions has led to showing dozens of women how beautiful they are through this passion project of mine.

Initially, I thought these super flattering skirts would make great additions to a client closet. Photographers are often asked for guidance on what to wear for photos. These skirts are pretty universally flattering, so I started offering them to clients. Before I knew it, I had quite the collection growing! Some of the very first sessions were simply efforts to photography all the colors so that clients could see their options. These sessions turned into so much more!

The Motherhood Session

A couple months into collecting these skirts, I had an idea to get a bunch of women together to model them for me. Then, I took that thought even further. “What if I got a bunch of MAMA’s together?! – Mama’s-to-be, mama’s with one kid, mama’s with newborns, mama’s with multiple kiddos, and did a “motherhood” shoot?” I decided to do the project with mother’s because I think these skirts look very elegant and flowing on mamas-to-be, BUT would look great for any type of family/portrait session. I wanted to be able to show future clients that not only will these skirts work with any size and shape, but the stages of motherhood as well.

After the initial model call, the outpouring of interest and responses was overwhelming! I thought I would struggle to find enough women for all 17 of the skirts I owned at the time. Man was I wrong! I sorted through dozens of responses and ended up randomly picking 23 different mothers to model the skirt collection for me.

Mothers of all ages stand together holding their children, maternity bellies, and friends in long, flowy skirts of all colors as part of Amanda Shrader's the Skirt Project photoshoot.

The results were magical!

This session really kickstarted the skirt project as what it has become today. I had such a wonderful time with these women and their children. The images are just magical, and really embody the beauty of motherhood and womanhood. After this session, I decided to name the skirts after some of the women who inspired the session. These women are personal influences of mine, family and friends, the women who modeled the skirts for me, and the women whose stories are now connected to the skirt project.

The Skirt Project is for Every Woman

These skirts are the equivalent to the jeans from the sisterhood of the traveling pants. No matter your shape, size, age, stage or walk of life; the skirt project is for you! Whether you’re celebrating one of life’s precious milestones, or stepping in front of the lens just for you, I want you to feel valued and precious and beautiful!

Women have come to me to be a part of the skirt project from all stages of life. Some of the reasons behind the portrait sessions are profound and momentous. But equally as important are the women who are showing up with confidence to invest in themselves!

Here are some reasons to book a skirt project session for yourself:

  • Embracing your postpartum body
  • Celebrating opening your own business
  • Deciding to go back to college
  • Achieving a promotion, degree, or new job
  • Grieving a loss, dedicating the session in memory of someone
  • Meeting your weight loss goal
  • Celebrating a sobriety decision or milestone
  • Turning 30, 40, 50, etc
  • Documenting your amazing maternity figure
  • Wanting to feel like a princess!
  • Graduating from chemotherapy
  • Buying a new house
  • Honoring a family legacy, or a multi-generational session
  • Meeting a business, personal, or financial goal
  • Struggling through infertility
  • Leaving a bad relationship
  • The birth of a grandchild
  • Embracing a new outlook on life
  • Starting a foster care or adoption journey

The list could go on and on! This portrait session is truly for everyone. It’s a celebration of womanhood, personhood, life, and all the wonderful, difficult, complicated things that make us beautiful. Beauty comes from the inside, and the skirt project allows me to show woman of all walks how beautiful they really are!

Explore the skirt project on Instagram.

The expansive skirt collection

As the project continues to grow, so does my client closet! I always seem to have skirts that aren’t photographed. If you’re picking out an outfit for your own skirt session, reach out and let me know what you’re looking for! Some of my favorites from past sessions are available below. Also, check out this personality quiz to help you pick your skirt style!

What women are saying about their experience with the Skirt Project

Natasha’s Experience

I have been following Amanda Shrader for a while! When she started posting about her skirt project, I knew that this was going to be such an amazing project for her! To have a skirt named after me is not only an honor, it’s humbling. It shows Amanda’s big heart for not only her clients but her community. She is loving and serving both so well. When I put on this skirt, it made me want to twirl all over Charleston. It is so effortless, yet so beautiful! And I just know so many women are going to feel absolutely INCREDIBLE when they wear this skirt.


Leslie’s Experience

I was so excited that Amanda asked me to be a part of the Skirt Project because I love it’s message -feeling beautiful no matter what! I put on this gorgeous, blue skirt and felt like a princess. Amanda hyped me up the whole time, she is the real MVP! Her project is empowering women, which we need a little more of in the world! I admire her and this project


Jess’s Experience

This shoot holds a soft place in my heart for so many reasons. My grandma was getting ready to die and I was so torn on if I could do the shoot because I worried I wouldn’t be able to give my best. From the minute we started, it’s like every worry in the world went out the window. The parkway was packed full of people that day but Amanda had a way of making me feel like they didn’t matter, even as they surrounded to watch. I can get so self conscious but in that moment, I was in my element.

The moment I was sitting on the side of the mountain, taking in all the beauty this valley offers, I felt peace inside me, I knew my grandma wanted me to push through and do this. Every time I think of this shoot, I remember how beautiful, confident, and full of life I felt in such a dark time. How it was so needed for my soul. 

Thank you Amanda for always making me comfortable in my own skin. For capturing moments I feel most myself. You are incredible and this project is so empowering for all women.


More About Amanda Shrader Photography

Hi, I’m Amanda! I’m the owner of Amanda Shrader Photography, a portrait and wedding photography business located in Staunton, Virginia. I serve Augusta County and throughout Virginia. I am the creator of the Skirt Project, a Taco Bell-loving southern girl, and mother of a wild toddler boy. Learn more about me. Ready to book your own skirt session? Contact me today.

  1. Cindy Foege says:

    Absolutely love this … I want to be in the next Skirt Project! So proud of you!! Much love!!

  2. I was lucky enough to attend an event for women empowering women & I snagged the Katie for a few shots. The moment I put her on, and Amanda started shooting, I felt the prettiest, and most bad@ss I’ve felt in years. And, just the way Amanda got me smiling, I felt 100% genuine & not forced at all. I can’t wait to book Amanda for a full session! If you have a chance to experience the skirt project, TAKE IT! I want to do it again!

  3. […] For those of you that don’t know what the heck “The Skirt Project” is, check out this post first: […]

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