45. The Short and Long of Things - Wardrobe Revolution: Hemlines
How short is too short? or for that matter, how long is too long?
When it comes to my clothes, anything above my ankles is too short for me as my legs are not my favourite body parts, and that’s why I’ve been wearing my Poppy Pants from SuzziMaggs Summer 2020, and my Firefighter Pants from SuzziMaggs Winter 2021 so often lately while I’m feeling particularly 'pandemic poufy.'
Some actual points to consider in regards to hemlines are listed below:
Practicality - Is the length of the garment appropriate for the activity that it is being worn for?
For example, a long skirt would be a hinderance when climbing a ladder to paint the ceiling, and shorts, which might seem to be appropriate for hiking, may not be so if there is a lot of scratchy undergrowth to be walked through. This may be stating the obvious, but it is a good idea to consider your daily activities before deciding on your outfit for the day, I often don’t!
Fashion - Is the length of the garment in keeping with current trends, and does that matter to the wearer?
It can be fun to be “on Trend” when it comes to garment choices, and it can make you feel great to step out into the world looking like you just stepped out of the latest fashion magazine. This is a good thing if it is helping you become your best confident person.
You can alter your current clothes to suit the latest hemlines or you can wear the on-trend styles but change the length to be what you like best on your body shape. For example, a long line double breasted jacket that falls to the hips might be the latest style, but you may not like things that cut across your hipline. You could shorten the coat to sit above the hips or look for one that is extra long and sits below your hipline.
Long skirts and pants can always be shortened to suit a trend, but it is somewhat more difficult to add length onto a garment.
*Please remember that they are just trends and they are constantly changing. That is what keeps the fashion industry going, but also what contributes to the incredible amount of fashion waste that is constantly being dumped around the world.
This is why I believe that finding your own unique fashion styling that makes you look and feel amazing is so important, once you find your styling you only need to tweak it now and then and add the occasional select piece to it.
Modesty and Requirement - Does the length of the garment cover all the body parts that it is essential to cover in the circumstance that it is being worn in?
I may be a bit old fashioned when it comes to modesty, but there is a certain length that to me is acceptable, and anything shorter I tend to call a belt. I personally don’t need to see butt cheeks or the bottom of a bra hanging out below a garment. On the other hand, sometimes a garment can seem so long that it engulfs the wearer, swallowing them up!
But there are also certain garment types that have length requirements such as uniforms and safety wear.
Hemline modesty can be a culturally determined thing as well, like when we are in Uganda, I am careful to wear garments that cover my legs to below my knees as anything above this is inappropriate.
Accentuation - Does the length of the garment accentuate the body in a way that feels positive or negative to the wearer?
Most often a hemline is a horizontal line which therefore cuts across the body with the effect of shortening it. It is also a line that will draw the viewers eye towards it. A hemline that cuts across at the widest part of the calf will make legs look wider, but if it is just on the mid knee, or closer to the ankle at the narrower parts of the legs it will draw the eye to those thinner parts and appear more flattering.
A hemline that goes to the floor can elongate the body, and a long sleeve hemline to the wrist will lengthen the arms.
Balance - Is the garment length giving the garment or the overall outfit a sense of balance and does that matter to the wearer?
Wearing a full garment above the waist like a collared shirt with big sleeves, teamed with a small straight short skirt will draw the eye to the upper body and make the lower body seem smaller, and a full gathered skirt hanging long and wide teamed with a simple fitted T shirt will draw the eye to the lower body. Another example of this would be long sleeves in a short crop shirt which tends to appear out of proportion. You can see here how playing with the hem lengths of different parts of the outfit can affect the look of the outfit.
My overall advise is that you play around with hem lengths and take note of what you see, like or don't like about your body in the different lengths. Wear what makes you feel like your best confident person.
I think that I have been using the term ‘best confident person’ for a while now, and to me this means the you that you like the most. The you who is least self-conscious and not overly worried by what others think because you know that you are living and loving well.
My hope is that by sharing what I have learned over the last 40 years about fashion and styling, I can encourage you to understand the what and why of your own unique fashion choices in order that the way you choose to dress will help you to step into being more of your best confident person. It is not just about your clothes, but if they make you feel good about yourself, that must help you become more confident in other areas as well.
Thank you for reading, I always appreciate it. I would love to hear your thoughts on my blogging about my wardrobe revolution as well as any suggestions for future topics. Please feel free to leave a comment below.
Orders for any pieces from the SuzziMaggs collections placed between now and the end of September will receive a fully lined zippered accessory pouch with their order.