Mini to Maxi: On Dress Lengths

We recently rewatched the premiere of Mad Men (in advance of the finale) and were amused that much of the first episode centered around the unfashionable length of Peggy's skirt - which basically grazed her lower calf. Why the laughs? Because by the final stretch of episodes, hemlines had risen way up, to the point where it was totally acceptably to wear a dress so short you'd be one wrong move away from a wardrobe malfunction.

Hemlines are one of the key components of fashion, continually cycling in and out of style. That being said, some general 'rules' have been established in terms of the appropriateness of various dress and skirt lengths, as well as key styling tips.

Mini - Popularized in the 1960s, this uber short length was rocked by everyone from stewardesses to, as Mad Men has depicted, groovier members of the secretary pool (as well as, of course, the era's fashionistas and hippie set alike). Generally speaking a mini dress length is about 32", give or take an inch, hitting at your upper thigh. While the mini would mostly look out of place in today's business environment, it's still got a place when it comes to picking out fun party wear. You can also look at a mini as a tunic - pair it with leggings if you're taller or opaque tights if you're shorter to extend the usability of your fave mini pieces.

Mid-Thigh - This is one of the more popular lengths of dress today, particularly for younger women. The mid-thigh descriptor is a bit inaccurate as where it'll actually hit you totally depends on your height, but in general, mid-thigh dresses are about 35" long and will go anywhere from mid-thigh to just above the knee. Again, if you're worried about the length for work, try leggings or opaque tights. In general, mid-thigh dresses like our cheerful Drop of Golden Sun dress, have a relaxed, easygoing vibe that can work great for anything from casual Friday to a shopping trip with friends.

Knee Length - Consistently polished and pretty, knee length shows just the right amount of skin while still being appropriate, whether a dress hits just above the knees, at the knee, or just below. Many of the dresses we carry at Ever Rose, like the Come Fly With Me dress above, are deliberately knee length or longer because we want to build your wardrobe up with great pieces that can be worn to work - but also worn to social events like a meal with friends, a shower, or even a more formal gathering like a wedding or office party. Again, your height will determine what an ideal 'knee length' is for you - but it's generally around 36"-40".

Midi - Midi length skirts and dresses - which generally hit mid-calf or several inches below the knee - have an interesting history. They've fallen in and out of fashion, but the silhouette of them has changed every time. Case in point? Peggy's flouffy circle skirt in the premiere of Mad Men was comparable in length to the flared, pleated or ruffled versions that found favour in the 1970s. The midi has had a resurgence in the last few years, often paired with a crop top to offset your covered up lower half, which makes general sense - if you wear something too loose or long with the skirt, you'll end up looking dowdy instead of on-trend. However, if crop tops are beyond your fashion parameters, no worries - a sleek fitted top looks equally stylish when paired with a midi. This length is almost universally acceptable no matter where you work, although be mindful that a crop top probably isn't your best pick if you're going for professional. Also, don't forget that many midi lengths are paired with sleeker silhouettes, like with our Somewhere Only We Know dress above - the body-hugging cut instantly eliminates any fears of coming across as old-fashioned.

Maxi - Another style popularized in the 70s that has seen a resurgence in the last few years is the maxi dress, which typically hits the floor (and then some), depending on your height. Many Ever Rose fans have told us how much they love maxi dresses, and it's easy to see why - they're typically very easy to wear, and can be a simple way to incorporate colour or pattern into your wardrobe. They're also great for summer evenings as they provide enough coverage to keep you warm, but all you have to do is shrug off your cardigan or jacket if you're too warm! Maxis can be office-appropriate, provided they are styled appropriately and have modest necklines. Many maxi dresses can go very beachy, but we've done our best to pick styles that could work in the office with a cardigan, but be equally comfortable and classy for a night on the town.

We'd love to hear what your ideal length is - Ever Rose always considers length when picking our sizes (and has lots of love for the tall girls out there!) but feel free to comment on this blog with your perfect dress length.

May 22, 2015 11 tags (show)

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.