Hemline lengths have defined fashion history since the 1800s when women were first allowed to show a little ankle. By the 1920s, hemlines rose dramatically, introducing what was considered a daring look for the time. Throughout the 20th Century, hems rose and fell according to designers’ short dresses dictates, until the 1960s, when Mary Quant introduced the mini skirt. Since then, shorter hemlines have never really gone out of style.
Today, well-dressed women often own several shorter dresses that can be adapted for various occasions. Higher hemlines are flirty, feminine, and fun. Shorter wedding gowns are trending, and knee-length or above-the-knee cocktail attire is always in vogue. Many women also opt for short dresses to create a personal statement.
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Affordable Short Dresses Expand Wardrobes
Dresses with mid-thigh to knee-length hems are often less expensive than longer styles. Women can afford to own several shorter pieces, which makes it easier to build an interesting wardrobe. Dresses with higher hemlines are usually designed for warm weather and made of easy-care, lightweight fabrics. It is also simple to find a wide variety of styles. For instance, shoppers who need a short dress can easily find an online shop that stocks a variety of designs in an array of colours and sizes.
The Classic Cocktail Dress Has a High Hemline
In the 1920s, Coco Chanel introduced “the little black dress” (LBD), and the world fell in love with the idea. The plan was to create a versatile, attractive garment worn as evening wear or to cocktail parties. Most fashion observers and all well-dressed women still consider an LBD to be a fashion staple.
Designers have since created hundreds of cocktail dresses based on the original idea, but have expanded the range of colors and styles. Cocktail attire in every hue is now considered chic, and women are wearing everything from plunging necklines to modest high-necked versions. What has not changed is the length. Cocktail dresses are rarely longer than knee length, and most are several inches higher.
Not Every Bride Wants a Long Dress
According to Harper’s Bazaar, “It’s official: Super short wedding dresses are de rigueur once again.” Celebrities everywhere are opting for non-traditional wedding gowns ranging from mid-thigh to ankle length. Some brides choose classic silhouettes with full skirts, and others go with stunning high-low hems. High-low styles are shorter in the front but include a train or overskirt.
Prom Dress Hemlines Are Rising
The classic floor-length prom dress has also gotten a makeover. Today high school girls are more likely to choose styles that reflect their personalities, which often means higher hemlines and unconventional looks.
For example, Seventeen Magazine writers recently featured a sequined, off-the-shoulder number and a romantic tulle midi prom dress. A typical prom could include girls wearing ruffled, ankle-length styles alongside those in long-sleeved mini dress with flounces and sequins. The only rule today is, “Be yourself.”
Cute Sundresses Are Knee Length
Warm weather dresses are often shorter, so they are comfortable during the warmer months. However, that is where the similarity among styles ends. Suppliers offer a huge array of sundresses in designs to suit any taste.
Examples include the timeless short, white cotton eyelet dress, and light rayon wrap dresses with thigh-length hemlines. In 2020, short floral sundresses with flounces are very chic, as are off-the-shoulder mini dresses. This is also the year of the cinch-waisted, spaghetti-strap mini. The bodice mini dress with tie straps is hot, and strapless short cotton dresses with ruffled shoulders are favorites among the young and cool.
Shorter Dresses Flatter Petite Figures
The general rule of thumb is that shorter hemlines make legs look longer, which creates the illusion of height in petite women. Higher hemlines are especially flattering for those with great legs, but shorter styles can also flatter petite figures in other ways.
A thigh-length wrap dress in a single color is feminine, accents a woman’s curves, and elongates the body. A fit-and-flare silhouette also works well for ladies under 5’4″. Dresses typically include mid-thigh hems, V-necklines, and empire waists that combine to hide imperfections and create a long, lean look. Fashion-conscious women often belt short dresses high on their torsos to make torsos look shorter, and legs appear longer.
Women Feel More Feminine in Short Dresses
In today’s busy world, working women frequently spend their days in slacks or longer suit skirts. Many wear light, frothy short dresses that give them a fun, “girly” look in their downtime. Designers offer a wide variety of short dresses with touches that add girlish appeal, and graceful designs with higher hemlines often feature tops that show off beautiful shoulders and skin.
For example, Glamour Magazine recently featured a gallery of shorter dresses that give any wearer a more delicate look. Styles included a strapless, knee-length dress in gauzy rose-coloured fabric. The collection also featured a pleated corset dress and an off-the-shoulder, ruffled style with a knee-length skirt.
Shorter Styles Are Versatile
One often overlooked benefit of short dresses is their versatility. While short dresses are typically designed for spring and summer wear, today’s creative women are experts at adapting clothes for every season. Those who love fashion can often turn a few well-chosen short, light dresses into a mini wardrobe.
A strapless sundress can go from day to night, just by adding a bolero jacket or sweater and swapping sandals for heels. Some innovative fashionistas throw favourite white shirts over summer dresses and tie shirttails under their busts to create an entirely new look. Wearing a t-shirt under a sundress transforms it into a garment suitable for any weather. A denim jacket pairs well with sleeveless or short-sleeved dresses. Wearing tights under a simple, short, cotton dress transforms it into an all-season garment.
Short dresses stay in vogue because they are versatile and affordable, making it easy to build a large wardrobe. Dresses with higher hemlines are often more feminine and are especially flattering to petite women. Knee-length dresses have a timeless appeal that is always in vogue. There is also a growing trend toward shorter prom and wedding dresses.