Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Hemlines


As Jess Cartner-Morley points out

Wearing calf-length is this season’s way of telling the world you read Vogue. It is so very fashionable that you won’t even see it in the shops yet, because this is next season’s trend. The trouble with fashion, of course, is that it is so very often at cross-purposes with old-fashioned notions like Looking Nice. (You will notice that Anna Wintour, though presumably well aware that calf-length is quite the dernier cri, does not go near it with a bargepole.)

16 comments:

Toby Wollin said...

Calf-length is one of the few fashion items that I can confidently say is ugly on everyone - no matter how fat or thin, no matter how short or tall, no matter what state of the shape of one's legs - it just cuts you in the most awkward place. This is the same reason I avoid cropped pants.

greying pixie said...

I think the issue of hemlines is related to the shape of the skirt as much as the length. I agree that calf-length is a tricky one, but on a circular or very full skirt it can look really dressy. It's a length I MUST wear now in summer as I have insightly veins but on a straight skirt is makes my ankles look like tree trunks. With a wide flare I feel like Ava Gardner!

Deja Pseu said...

I avoid mid-calf length also, but agree with greying pixie that a tea length full skirt can be very elegant. I once bought a vintage New Look style emerald green cocktail dress, and even though I was only thin enough to wear it for about five minutes, those were sartorially the best five minutes of my life.

StyleSpy said...

I thought calf-length was every season's way of saying, "I don't like my knees..."

enc said...

Calf-length can be so un-flattering. Don't ask me how I know this, but let's just say it involved a bridesmaid's costume.

Miss Janey said...

As usual, what is of the moment, will not work for everyone. Miss Janey will stick with hemlines that fall just below her knee.

Marti said...

Because of my ugly legs, calf length and below are the only lengths I can wear even though I remember telling someone in the late 70's that calf length hit her in the wrong place! I wanted to buy a skirt yesterday because I was in love with the fabric, but alas, it was too short for me. Even the sales clerk who I didn't think was paying attention said "I've seen you in things that look better."

roz said...

I think it also depends on your personal height and shape. I'm tall and have always liked longer skirts. Depending on the shape, they can be more slimming for me than a knee length skirt.

Hester said...

Being a relatively short gal (5'3" in flats) I wouldn't touch a calf length skirt if it chased me down the block. Especially if it chased me down the block. Having said that, I think a flared or circular calf length skirt can look good provided you have: A)Long legs, B)Skinny ankles, and C)Ridiculously high heels that do not have an ankle strap.

Nadine said...

Is there a link to the original article?

Rosaria said...

Having just emerged from decades of self-imposed calf-length/longer hemlines due to poor self-image, nothing in this universe would induce me to wear mid-calf unless it was a full skirt. It is a particularly unflattering length for shorter women. The Fashion Nazis can do what they wish,I am way past being dictated to.

miss cavendish said...

I think that calf length shortens one's legs and wreaks havoc with proportion. I think of Frye boots and midi skirts.

BTW, I love the dress that Anna's wearing. Could you tell me who designed it?

Linda Grant said...

No idea who designed the dress, I just pulled it off a google image search. This piece comes from the Guardian but it was text from a photogallery with no url

phyllis said...

You know, I'd never ever wear a calf length hem with a bare leg, for all of the above reasons, but I would do it with boots. I can get way with a *lot* in boots.

Rhiannon said...

I agree with greying pixie. I wear calf-length and only wear flared skirts, due to my shape not supporting any other type of skirt.

I spent literally months agonising about hem length, figuring so many bloggers, writers and fellow commenters who I respect couldn't be wrong and that i must, must, must shorten my skirts to below the knee.

I tried it and that's when I realised greying pixie is right - it's as much about skirt shape. I agree with everyone that a straight skirt, calf-length, is only for the seriously thin and seriously high-heeled. But with more flared skirts it can be fine.

Anonymous said...

The trick to calf length is having thin calves. The rest doesn't matter so much...tall/short, fat/thin, if you don't have slim calves, foorget it. Many women have to those large rounded calves that I used to envy; however, I suffered thru a few eps of "Tim Gun's Guide To Style" where he put everyone in calf length skirts. That made be truly appreciate my chicken legs.