Skirt Lengths – Style Guide for Hemlines

Skirt lengths vary from the micro-mini to full length and everywhere in between. Fashion is constantly changing and evolving, with skirt lengths included. There is certainly a wide choice of types of skirts available today and something to suit every height and body shape. Here I will show you the most common terms used to describe skirt lengths.

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Skirt Lengths

Skirt Lengths

Length is Relative

There are many skirt lengths to choose from, but it is important to note that these will be relative to your height and weight to a certain extent. The length of your torso and legs will play an important part in the skirt lengths, as will your weight.

Curvier women will find that skirt lengths tend to sit slightly higher than the designer may have intended. Brands catering to plus and curvy sizing generally tend to take this into account.

Length can also be determined by where the skirt sits at your waist. If you are smaller in the waist and the skirt sits lower, then the length will end up longer than intended.

I am fairly short, so I always find that skirts tend to be a bit long and maxi skirts, in particular, tend to touch the ground and need shortening.

Designers often blend these skirt descriptions together for the sake of simplicity. For example, any ankle-length skirt or longer is often referred to as a maxi rather than breaking it into tea, maxi and full.

Choosing Skirt Lengths

In terms of the most flattering skirt for your shape, a general rule of thumb is that it should end at the proportionately smallest part of your legs. This is often below the knee or above the ankle.

But fashion rules are also meant to be broken and you should wear what makes you feel comfortable and feel your best.

Different lengths may also be suitable for different situations. Skirts that are suitable for your weekends may not be the same that you would wear to work.

Shortening Skirt Lengths

If you need to shorten the length of a skirt, you can easily do so with a sewing machine, hemming tape, or by hand.

Here are some articles that will help you shorten your skirt lengths.

Types of Skirts

There are many types of skirts, and the skirt lengths can vary significantly within each category. I have a more detailed article if you would like to know more about the types of skirts.

Types of SkirtsPin
Types of Skirts

Types of Skirt Lengths

Here is a guide to the 11 skirt lengths.

1. Micro Mini Skirt Lengths

A micro mini skirt is really short, coming to just below the bottom on the tops of the thighs. Micro minis are best worn when there is no chance of you needing to bend down. They can be worn with tights in winter.

2. Mini Skirt Lengths

The term “mini skirt” was made popular in the 1960s, even though short skirts have existed throughout history. British designer Mary Quant and French designer Andre Courreges were widely credited with the modern mini skirt design in the 1960s.

Mini skirts typically end mid-thigh, around 4 inches (10cm) from the bottom. Mini skirts tend to make legs look longer, so they are popular for shorter women. Mini skirts can be tight and fitted, flared, or even very full. Denim mini skirts will always be popular.

Mini Skirt LengthsPin
Mini Skirt Lengths

3. Short Skirt Lengths

Often the term short skirts are used interchangeably with mini skirts. A short skirt is generally considered to end at mid to high thigh.

4. Above Knee Skirt Lengths

As the name suggests, an above-the-knee skirt sits just above the bony part of the knee. These skirts tend to be popular for straight skirts and office wear.

5. On Knee Skirt Lengths

On the knee skirts end at the center of the knee bone. If they are tight, they will either need to be made in a stretch fabric or have a split at the back so you can still walk. On-the-knee tight and tapered skirts are flattering, giving you an hourglass figure look.

Above the Knee and On the Knee Skirt LengthsPin
Above the Knee and On the Knee Skirt Lengths

6. Below Knee Skirt Lengths

Below-the-knee skirts offer more coverage and are flattering to many body shapes, particularly when worn with heels. A split usually placed at the back will be needed in tighter skirts to ensure freedom of movement.

7. Midi Skirt Lengths

Midi skirts end at mid-calf and generally tend to be fuller in design. Straight skirts at this length may have a split on one or both sides.

Below Knee and Midi Skirt LengthsPin
Below Knee and Midi Skirt Lengths

8. Tea Skirt Lengths

Tea skirts are very similar to a midi length and fall 3-4 inches below the knee. This term was made popular in the 1920s when this length dress was worn to tea parties. When this term is used, it generally refers to a full or circle-shaped skirt, and it is commonly used to describe formal styles of skirts and dresses.

9. Maxi Skirt Lengths

Maxi skirts finish just above your ankles, but there will be some variation depending on your height. It may finish below your ankle or even at the ground. The longer the skirt, the more your height will become a factor in its final length.

10. Full Skirt Lengths

Full skirts or floor-length skirts finish at the floor and are popular for wedding and formal dresses. They can be harder to walk in for everyday wear and risk tripping you up.

Maxi and Full Skirt LengthsPin
Maxi and Full Skirt Lengths

11. Asymmetrical or High Low

Of course, not all skirts have even hem lengths. Some skirts go up and down at the sides or back and front. This can add individuality to a skirt and is a great way to highlight your best bits. A skirt that is higher at the front and lower at the back is referred to as a high-low skirt.

Hi Low Skirt LengthsPin
Hi Low Skirt Lengths

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