These days, wearing a mini skirt would raise no questionable brow from people walking by. You would not have to think twice before putting on a pair of shorts or mini skirt when heading out the door. As little as it matters, hemlines actually came a long way and before they were considered to be a fashion staple, they were designed for practicality and function, and less of style.
Before hemlines were shortened, they actually cover pass the ankle for modesty’s sake. It wasn’t until women began to enter the workforce and war made it difficult to source for textiles that hemlines were shortened to about 17 inches above the ankle. By the 1970s, hemlines such as mini, midi, and maxi were all popular to have.
In this present day, hemlines help to trick your body’s vertical proportions. Wearing hemlines at certain lengths can create the illusion of elongating or shortening the body’s visual proportion!
A rule of thumb when it comes to picking the right hemline for dress, skirts, pants or shorts should be noting where it ends. Not every length work for every body type and height, so it’s important to know which of the four–maxi, midi, knee-length and minis–are most flattering for you.
Pro-tips when picking hemlines:
- When trying them on, sit down to test how high it rides up. Fitted hemlines ride up 2 inches, while a-line rides up 1 inch.
- Have to work with plain colours? Choose asymmetrical hemline to add depth to dull options.
- Travelling or visiting places of worship? Try global modesty styles where hemlines should end no more than 1 inch above the knees.
- The golden rule to achieving the ideal tall silhouette: for all lengths, hemlines should end at the narrowest width of that body area.
- For maxi, it should end just above the ankles
- For midi, it should end at the narrowest part of your shin.
- For knee-length, it should end at the bottom of your knee
- For mini, it should end below your
Note these down:
Let’s start from the bottom. Maxi dresses or skirts usually have hemlines that end near the ankles but not sweeping the floor. A maxi hemline is almost foolproof and would look good on almost all body types, whether you’re tall, petite, curvy or slim. This hemline is forgiving and with the right silhouette–A-line is universally flattering while straight cuts are less lenient, it’s easy to look good, effortlessly.
As this length creates an elongated visual proportion, you’ll find it rather flattering despite your height or size — especially if you’re petite and your goal is to look taller! Maxi hemlines will add that extra length for you.
Great for: petite types to look taller with the illusion of longer legs
Widely known as midi or tea-length — because of how ladies in 1920s would wear these length at tea tables, has a rather tricky hemline to style with! It falls inches below the knee, and often ends up at the widest part of your calf, which results in a truncated silhouette.
Thus, midi skirts are often most flattering for tall women as it defines their height. Try to avoid wearing midi if you’re petite in size or curvy on the bottom. However, if you find yourself in a midi situation, style them with shoes of the same colour or nude shoes to add the illusion of height.
Great for: tall types to highlight their height
Knee-length skirts, as it is named, have hemlines that end around the knee — sometimes slightly above or below the knee. This hemline is family-safe, work-safe, and pretty much appropriate for all occasions!
Knee-length or slightly below are perfect for ladies who are tall as it shows just the right amount of your legs. Petite ladies on the other hand should avoid knee-length hemlines as it does little to elongate your silhouette. If you have to, opt for high-waist knee-length options to add length.
Great for: all types, except petite types
Mini bottoms, especially skirts and dresses have their hemlines ending inches above the knee. They’re cute to have on because they’re one of the most flattering hemlines.
The mini hemlines show off your legs and are the most elongating hemline to wear but they may not be the most appropriate to wear for formal occasions. Minis are playful and flirtatious, so if you’re heading for a party or casual brunches, by all means wear them! They’re great for all height and are especially good on petite ladies!
Great for: all types
Editor’s note about mini hemlines: Avoid getting bottoms with hemlines that end at the widest part of your thigh as it might draw unwanted attention to that area.
Want to beat the summer heat and wear shorts that flatter your body shape? Here are our recommended shorts for your body type:
Recommended: high-waist and dark coloured
Avoid: horizontal striped and low-rise
Recommended: mid-rise and bermudas
Avoid: pleated and layered
Recommended: high-waist, pleated and a-line
Avoid: low-waist, vertical striped and plaids
Strawberry (Inverted triangle)
Recommended: horizontal striped and loose hemline shorts
Avoid: skinny-fit shorts
Double Cherry (Hourglass)
Recommended: all types, especially leather shorts
Avoid: none in particular