What’s Your Favorite Hem Length?

Did you know that dress hem lengths didn’t change much from the 1700’s until the 20th century! Gowns and dresses for women including female servants and children rarely rose about the ankle. Other details changed but dress length stayed long for centuries. It’s interesting to think how slowly fashion has changed until the 20th century.

From My Modern Met Women’s Illustrated History of Dress

I’ve been thinking about hem lengths as I finish up a mid-length circle skirt. I love mid-length skirts and dresses. Mid-length or midi can fall anywhere after the knee and in between the ankle. This almost looks tea-length or maxi but it is mid-length.


I consider a  good mid-length (for my height) to be middle of the shin and about 3″ above the ankle bone.

Same skirt, better angle.

I love maxi length but find these dresses and skirts aren’t always easy to navigate the real world in. I’m either running the dress over in my wheelie chair, stepping on it when I climb the stairs and/or dragging it on the ground if I’m not wearing high heeled shoes. I don’t know how many times I’ve made a maxi dress and then about two weeks later chop off about 2 to 3 inches to make it wearable. But, you know gotta do it for the ‘Gram!

vogue 8895
I did in fact hem this up a bit after wearing it out.

Tea-length is generally considered to be at the ankle. I don’t favor this length, I think it looks dumpy on me. Although I do recall wearing it for a bridesmaid dress.  This linen dress is about tea-length but it’s flowy nature kind of works for me.  At least I’m not running it over with my office chair.

Vogue 8645 maxi
Tea length

What’s your favorite length of dress or skirt?


  1. My favorite dresses hit *right* at my knee. For skirts it’s at or above. I’ve recently gotten into midi length and will only wear maxi length as sundresses for some reason. LOL!


  2. Yes. The dress length debate. Safely at the knee, even then there is top of knee cap, mid knee or right at lower edge!
    My school defined mini skirts to be no more than 4″ above the knee as measured while kneeling. (The skirt could be easily raised to Twiggy length with a couple rolls of the waist band. )
    Midi length was determined by mid way knee and ankle. Hopefully, that was not above the widest part of the calf. Tim Gunn talked about skirts worst length is at the widest part of the leg- above or below is best.
    I like a couple inches above the ankle. Definitely, below the calves. Longer (ankle length) if the skirt is button up front as it will open moving out of the way as you walk. I do not appreciate wearing any length above bottom of knee. If it my choice, it would be 2″ below the knee cap.


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