FF: Hem length

This week on Fashion Friday, we tackle a question that came up last week: sweater length.

The length of your sweater can make an incredible difference; several of you noticed last week the length difference between Squared and Triangled:

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Unfortunately, there are no hard-and fast guidelines like there were for sleeves. What’s going on, body-wise, at the four different hem lengths varies a lot from woman to woman. (It’s my hope, for future Fashion Fridays, to show these same lengths on other shapes–but for now, let’s start with me.)

There are four main length “ranges” for a sweater.

The high hip length:


This sweater length tends to maximize the apparent length of your legs. When I wear this length of sweater (that’s the Holloway sample from the bookby the way), I usually do so with a skirt. Wearing a high-hip sweater with jeans, for me, spoils the illusion of legs that go forever, because my waist-to-hip length is so long.

That said, I personally love this length with skirts and it’s a fairly frequent flyer in my wardrobe.

The mid hip length:


This is my go-to, recommended sweater length for just about everyone. It lengthens your legs a bit, but most importantly it tends to break you up unevenly, from head-to-toe, in terms of the vertical “blocks” you’re wearing. Uneven ratios of length are more interesting to look at than equal parts, and this sweater length tends to be flattering for that reason.

It also tends to break up the expanse of bum, which is good if you’re trying to minimize yours. (This sweater is Afterlight; again the sample.)

The low hip length:


This is another frequent flyer in my wardrobe. It shortens the legs/lengthens the torso, a bit, and I definitely don’t need that… …but is also a comfortable length, practically-speaking. When I reach up over my head, or sit down, I don’t need to be concerned about where the hem of the sweater is going.

(Speaking of, that worked against me in this photoshoot. This sweater typically hits right at the bottom of my zipper. But just before the photo was taken, I was reaching up high to fiddle with the camera… and neglected to pull the sweater back down. Sigh. So try to imagine it an inch lower, or take a gander at Triangled, above–which is the same length.)

This sweater is my own version of Stoker by Caro Sheridan.

The Tunic-length:


This is actually a sweater dress, folded to tunic-length, because I do not own a single example of this sweater length. Tunic length sweaters shorten the legs a bit, and generally exaggerate (or create) a long torso line. Great for someone who is short-torsoed (no matter what their height), but less of a favorite in this house.

And there you have it! The difference in length between the top and the bottom is just about 6”, but what a world of difference it makes, eh?

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What’s your favorite sweater length?

12 thoughts on “FF: Hem length

  1. I usually wear high hip to mid hip length sweaters. Anything that covers my behind usually looks awful unless it’s a zippered cardigan with some of ease.

  2. I also like the high hip to mid hip on me because of my short legs but fequently add a little length so when I sit down I am not worried about being uncovered.

    I love the fashion friday posts.

    I would love to know the modifications you made to “Stoker”. – Susan aka Buttonband on Ravelry

  3. […] I love Fashion Fridays over at Amy Herzog’s blog. I was inspired to do something similar but with a vintage […]

  4. I like somewhere between low hip and tunic. I am not tall, BUT I do have a protruding belly. I like the hem to help hide it, but not draw attention to it suddenly arising over my legs. The shorter lengths jsut seem to emphasize the bulge.

  5. I’m short with a long torso and have found that high hip or mid-hip work best for me. Tx for the Friday posts!

  6. Yep me too. I agree that is with purple penguin on this subject. if it were not for my belly I might like a mid length…But it is not to be. I feel much more comfortable covering the paunch.

  7. Lower hip or tunic length–anything to cover my belly!

  8. My favorite length is tunic, because I’m short-waisted and long-legged. The shorter the top, the less I like it. Alas, this takes more yarn. sigh

  9. This is so interesting — including the comments! I’m tallish (5’7″) with long legs and a very short torso. But I never, ever wear the tunic length because I also have a big bum, and tunics make me look enormous.

  10. My short-waist and high-hip mean the longer two are better options for me.

  11. Since I’m 5’11”, long in leg and torso both, I like the mid-hip. I’m always fearful of tops being too short and pulling up when I move.

  12. I generally prefer high hip or tunic, with low hip coming in second. I’m tall and have broad shoulders and a somewhat short torso. With a tunic, I’m elongated and I can add a belt to define my (modestly) curvy waist. If I wear a high hip sweater, I can nip it in at the waist and wear a layer underneath to visually balance my shoulders. But yeah, put me in a mid-hip and I look like I’ve gained 10 lbs!

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