The hemline of a garment is its lower edge. The term most often refers to the lower edge of a skirt or dress.

The hemline is perhaps the most variable style line in fashion, changing shape and ranging in height from hip-high to floor-length. What is a fashionable style and height of hemline has varied considerably throughout the years, and has also depended on a number of factors such as the age of the wearer, the occasion for which the garment is worn and the choice of the individual.

Types of hemlines

Similar to necklines and waistlines, hemlines can be grouped by their height and shape:

* floor-length hemlines
* ankle hemlines
* midcalf hemlines
* below-knee hemlines
* above-knee hemlines
* mid-thigh hemlines
* hip-high hemlines
* handkerchief hemlines
* diagonal hemlines
* other hemlines


In the history of Western fashion, the ordinary public clothes of upper- and middle-class women varied only between floor-length and slightly above ankle-length for many centuries before World War I. Skirts of lower-calf or mid-calf length were associated with the practical working garments of lower-class or pioneer women, while even shorter skirt lengths were seen only in certain specialized and restricted contexts (e.g. sea-bathing costumes, or outfits worn by ballerinas on stage). It was not until the mid-1910s that hemlines began to rise significantly (with many variations in height thereafter). Skirts rose all the way from floor-length to near knee-length in only about fifteen years (from late in the decade of the 1900s to the mid-1920s). From WW1 to roughly 1970, a woman had to wear skirts near their currently-fashionable length or be considered almost hopelessly unstylish, but since the 1970s, women's options have widened, and there is no longer really only one single fashionable skirt-length at a time.

See also


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • hemline — 1899, from HEM (Cf. hem) (n.) + LINE (Cf. line) (n.) …   Etymology dictionary

  • hemline — ► NOUN ▪ the level of the lower edge of a garment such as a skirt or coat …   English terms dictionary

  • hemline — [hem′līn΄] n. 1. the bottom edge, usually hemmed, of a dress, skirt, coat, etc. 2. the height of this edge above the ground …   English World dictionary

  • hemline — [[t]he̱mlaɪn[/t]] hemlines N COUNT The hemline of a dress or skirt is its lower edge; sometimes used to refer to how long the dress or skirt is. Mickey favoured tight skirts with a hemline at the knee …   English dictionary

  • hemline — UK [ˈhemˌlaɪn] / US noun [countable] Word forms hemline : singular hemline plural hemlines a) the bottom edge of a dress or skirt which has been turned up and sewn in place b) the length of women s skirts and dresses as this changes according to… …   English dictionary

  • hemline — /hem luyn /, n. 1. the bottom edge of a coat, dress, skirt, etc. 2. the level of this edge as expressed in inches from the floor: an 18 inch hemline. [1920 25; HEM1 + LINE1] * * * …   Universalium

  • hemline — noun Date: 1923 the line formed by the lower edge of a dress, skirt, or coat …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • hemline — noun a) The line formed by the bottom edge of a skirt, dress, or coat. b) The height of this line, measured from the floor …   Wiktionary

  • hemline — hem|line [ˈhemlaın] n the length of a dress, skirt etc ▪ Short hemlines are in this spring …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • hemline — hem|line [ hem,laın ] noun count the bottom edge of a dress or skirt which has been turned up and sewn down a. the length of women s skirts and dresses as this changes according to fashion …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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