Jul 19, 2013

Question of the week: How long is your hem?

Skirt (skərt). "A woman's outer garment fastened around the waist and hanging down around the legs." The definition of a skirt is fairly simple, however, there is more to skirts than the dictionaries tell, and economists know it as well!


There are countless different types of skirts: pencil skirts, flared skirts, maxis, minis, knee-lenghts and so on. Whilst some let their carefree hems flow in the wind, others head to the office in tailored pieces that leave no doubts about serious business. Depending on the type of skirt you wear, you can run, dance, hobble, swagger with self-confidence or sneak around pulling your skirt down, trying to keep the hem from reaching vulgar heights.

How, when and where you choose to wear a skirt is a personal matter, but did you know that it is not always just our personal preference that determines the types of skirts we wear? Just like fashion in general, also skirts hold more cultural and societal references than one might think. War times, the joyful roaring twenties and emancipation of women have all been reflected on the skirt trends. There is even a theory about hemline index claiming that the changes in economy have a direct impact on the style of these garments. The hemline index is calculated by measuring hem length as a percentage of the length from floor to waistline. According to this theory, the skimpier the skirts, the higher the index, the better the economy and the fuller the wallets! Many fashionistas have confirmed the theory right, but the scientific value of the hemline index is debatable. Ken Downing, the head of women's wear at Neiman Marcus, told the Business Insider that he does not believe the index is accurate. After having seen the skirt trends at Fashion Weeks last year, he commented: "It's interesting, as a fashion director I no longer believe hemlines are a conversation on trend because it's so particular to a designer and their point of view...We are seeing hemlines below the knee, at the knee and some that are still quite short."

by Stephen Wildish: www.stephenwildish.co.uk

Now, we would like to know how long is your hem?

Have your skirts followed the hemline index and changed into maxis during the current financial crisis or is your wardrobe rebelling against the gloom with cheerful minis? And most importantly, do you think we should start analysing the stock markets on newspapers to try to forecast the trends of next season instead of jumping straight to the comic section...? Share your thoughts below in comments or join the hemline conversation on Facebook by clicking here!

For further reading on skirts, their evolution and more, check out a brand new magazine called Garment that is all about skirts, skirts and skirts! We especially recommend a column by Nikita, one of the magazine's editors, who steps out of her comfort zone, wears a different type of skirt every week and writes about her experiences. Giggles guaranteed!

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