Abigail Cahill O'Brien

How to Determine Your Ideal Skirt Length

In Fashion, Uncategorized on March 8, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Skirt lengths for Fall 2010 are all over the map, with longer styles making a strong comeback.  A lot has changed since Harper’s Bazar published this chart in 1868, not withstanding the puzzling granny boot comeback for Fall 2010.  Trouble is, without arbitrary age-based rules, how does one figure out which skirt length works best?

I’ve always loved the romance  of the calf-length skirts Marc Jacbs showed.  They have film-noir-darling-I’m-late-for-my-train up the wahzoo.  I’ve loved them from afar, that is: on me they scream school-marm-fuddy-duddy.

Marc Jacobs, Fall 2010 RTW

Even the right at the knee length, as interpreted in Victoria Beckham’s collection, can look dowdy on me – at least  without towering heels.

Well, apparently there’s a formula to figuring out the most flattering length.

You’ll need two measurements: from your hipbone straight down the outside of your leg to the middle of your kneecap, and from the middle of your kneecap (outside edge) straight down to the middle of your ankle bone.

Here’s the formula:


X is the number of inches above or below the knee your skirt length should be.  If your shins are shorter than your thighs, raise your hem X inches above your knee.  If your thighs are shorter than your shins, lower the hem X inches below the knee.

Basically you want to visually equalize the length of the upper and lower leg.

Using this formula, my ideal length would be one inch above the knee.  Now that’s not to say minis are out of the question, but it does explain why anything between knee length and floor length looks so terribly awkward.  I may be making a trip to the tailor’s with an armful of pencil skirts.

Read more about it here. What do you think?  Does this make intuitive sense based on the lengths that look best on you?

Any fashion professionals out there want to weigh in on this?

P.S. Stay tuned for a post on spring skirts.

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