Fashion

The Fashion Alphabet

Hello!

I know today’s topic might be a little boring to some but I found it quite interesting. It was quite intriguing to see the way this particular aspect of clothing has affected fashion throughout the years. For girls who like to step out wearing skirts or dresses, this will give you a little insight to the development of what you wear today.

For this post I decided to take a quick look into…


 H

Hemlines


The hemline of a dress or skirt is the line formed by the lower edge of a garment that is measured from the floor. It is often considered the most flexible (in terms of adjustment) style line in clothing; they alternate in length and can affect shape as well.

In Western Fashion History, it was only the upper and middle-class women who wore between floor-length and slightly above ankle-length for many centuries before World War I. Hemlines that met the lower-calf or mid-calf length were associated with the practical working attire of lower-class or pioneer women. Short hemlines on skirts and dresses were only seen in bathing suits and in theatre productions.

Through decades of fashion revolution, it was only in the mid-1910s that hemlines began to rise significantly. Women from there on out,  wore skirts with hemlines that rose all the way from floor-length to near knee-length. A change occurred again when between 1919 and 1923 they were almost to the floor in 1919, rising again to the mid-calf in 1920, before dropping back to the ankles by 1923. A real iconic moment took place in 1927 when women started wearing “flapper length” skirts at the kneecap and higher, the style has been recognised ever since. Once gain however, the lengths dropped down again in the 1930s.

Women in the 1950’s wore longer lengths again with the takeover of the Dior “New Look”, they took a drastic turn in the 1960’s with the Mary Quant “Mini-skirt” and from there on out it has been a constant change. Since the 1970s, women’s options have widened, and there is no longer really only one single fashionable skirt-length at a time.

Interestingly enough, another influence on the length of a woman’s skirt is the Hemline index – which states that hemlines rise and fall in sync with the stock market.

A visual look at the different hemlines
A visual look at the different hemlines

To generalise based on personal preference and through years of raking through endless amounts of fashion magazines, textbooks, blog sites and internet overall, the most prominent looks have been based on three basic lengths:

The Mini-Skirt:

The Mini-Skirt has come a long way (excuse the pun) since its initial “Hey-day” in the 60’s. It is still one of the most playful hemlines around.

Model Twiggy in the 1960's
Model Twiggy in the 1960’s
The modern day Mini-skirt S/S 15
The modern day Mini-skirt S/S 15

The Knee-Length:

This moderate hemline has always been a favourite for women who want to wear skirts but not over expose. Since the 1920s women have been credited for this look. Hey, if it ain’t broke..

The trend in 1925
The trend in 1925
Seen now in variating shapes and fabrics. S/S 15
Seen now in variating shapes and fabrics. S/S 15

The Maxi-Skirt:

Seen in dresses and skirts still today, women love nothing more than to be seen in gorgeous floor length gowns and skirts. It is always elegant and will never go out of style!

A Mainbocher gown from 1930 kept at the V&A Museum
A Mainbocher gown from 1930 kept at the V&A Museum
The modern-day Maxi skirt 2015
The modern-day Maxi skirt 2015

Also, just for fun I thought I would share an image of a skirt style and hemline that I have grown to love and cannot wait to try soon enough…

The contemporary ballerina look
The contemporary ballerina look

I love that fashion is so versatile and I love that women have been expressing their style for years before us!

Share your thoughts and comments below!

Thanks VB xx

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