Fashion, Menopause

Let’s Talk Hem Length!

Okay let’s get a little gritty here on Friend for the Ride.

Who gets to decide how long we wear our skirts?

About five years and ten less pounds ago, I wore a dress above the knee to a bridal shower for my daughter.  A friend let slip that there was some discussion about my knees showing.

What?  My friends discuss me?

I suppose they can discuss me.  After all, that’s better than being so boring you’re undiscussable.

But I’m not sure how I feel about a fiftyish woman not being able to wear a shorter dress, especially if she has pretty good legs.

So what are the rules?  And if we don’t like them, are we going to obey them?

Should we fight fight fight and go out punching?

Or does the time come when our knees are no-no’s?  If so, at what age?

I find longer skirts more comfortable and generally wear them that way, but I’m not sure I want to go gently into the good night of HAVING (or feeling like I need) to wear skirts of a certain length.  I’m not talking about short short here. Just some knee.

So kick up those skirts and let us know what you think!

Photo above is from an article on flappers on this vintage website.

Photo below is from an article on hem length on this vintage website:

20 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Hem Length!”

  1. Was this post written in 1890!? Of course you can show knee – so long as the skirt/dress is overall flattering to your figure (as yours was). My generation laughs at these rules (no offense!). I’ve been trying to convince my mother in law to make the first move on a date and it’s taken her 9 months to realize that IT’S OK! She will not be perceived as promiscuous!

    The generation even younger than me now says “YOLA” all the time. “You only live once!”


  2. Seriously. Your friends were discussing your knees showing at your daughter’s bridal shower?! For Heaven’s sake! Wear your skirts any length you like. The real disturbing issue here to me (call me sensitive if you like) is that women can sit around making judgments on each others physical appearance. Did you say; “Excuse me, Ladies. Is this dress too short? Should my knees be showing?” Did you ask their opinion? grrrr…. Hit. A. Nerve.

    Now if you’re flashing something more than your knees a la ‘Basic Instinct’ for instance, then something should be said. But, I can’t recall any movies being rated X or even R for naked knees.

    My 63 year old sister has gorgeous legs. She wears skirts that are above her knees. I don’t like my knees and haven’t worn a short skirt since high school. So there. You do exactly what you want and naysayers be d***ed! Hit. A. Nerve. 😉


    1. Patti, If you can remember, ask your sister if she ever gets any negative comments. (Not that she should be concerned if she does,I’m just curious.)


  3. Go for it! I agree with everyone above, especially Patti. Where what you want, when you want it. If the Fashion Police try to pull you over, just speed on by them with your head held high!


  4. I agree with everyone else. Wear whatever you want when you want. If you are comfortable with it, then go for it. The same goes for wearing hose. I know the younger generation doesn’t wear them and doesn’t think we should either. But again, wear what you are comfortable with.


    1. The hose issue is tricky for me because unlike so many, I don’t find them uncomfortable, and they help prevent blisters on my feeble feet.


  5. Those “friends” could be judged for being too dowdy by wearing dresses below their knees. It really is just a matter of personal preference and I would rather not look dowdy.


  6. What?? I can’t believe someone commented on your knees showing. How ridiculous–I’ve never seen you looking anything but appropriate. And your legs are in good shape, so you should show them off!


    1. So glad to see the above comments. Our skirts were actually measured in high school in the mid-60s when minis were starting to appear. No more than 3″ above the knee! My class actually staged a “walk out” over the dress code. Imagine men being so critical of their appearance and making such self-hating comments; “Oh I hate my arms, so I always wear sleeves.” Hopefully we’ve taught our daughters, and they will teach our grand daughters to love themselves and not judge others by their appearance.


  7. Comfort vs fashion, this has been a conversation among all women of all ages for centuries. Over the centuries it has been knees, ankles, toes, arms….what should be hidden. And remember for some people of faith it can be hair or even the entire face. Our mothers wouldn’t go out without gloves or hats. When I worked in a bank back in the 70’s I was called in to the Presidents office for not wearing pantyhose and wearing shoes with toes showing..yet my skirt was a good 6″ above my knee. It really isn’t a whole lot different in the professional world these days. Teachers, lawyers and doctors have dress codes. I saw a segment on msnbc yesterday about a writer who literally just changed her pj’s for the day. We all live in different “bubbles” and often forget there is a whole world out there that has different ideas or standards. That is one of the reason I feel very blessed to have such a huge variety of friends….. doctors, lawyers, teachers, writers, yoga instructors,
    inventors, retirees, accountants. And these jobs often overlap. I know a teacher who is an inventor and an yoga instructor who is a writer. I love seeing how different their day to day worlds are.
    Women are the queen of multitasking……….no matter what they wear!!!
    and we haven’t even touched on make up yet.


    1. Did you say anything in response to the pantyhose and toes? (I probably would have been afraid to.) I remember the toe stuff. I wonder if that still exists in some offices?


  8. Comfort is queen. You feel good in it? Wear it. Because you’ll look even better if you feel good in it.


  9. I am hardly a “fashion maven,” but I do feel that the overall goal in fashion is to show the world who you are, with everything in balance, and one focal point. Along with that, everyone has “her” own hem length that contributes to the whole package being in balance. Perhaps by your suddenly wearing a skirt length that was a little above your “regular” length, your friends were trying to gently tell you that you had pulled some of the attention away from the Honored Guest (your daughter). If your daughter liked your outfit then just brush it off.
    I remember girls getting sent home from school in the 60’s for violating the 3″ rule–it took a lot of guts to push that limit, because you had to stand in front of the school waiting for your parent to come pick you up, while everyone looked at you out of the windows.
    My mother-in-law went to school in Vermont. They had to wear dresses or skirts daily–they could not wear pants until the temps went down to 0 degrees!


    1. I remember the first time someone wore pants to my high school in 1970. She was in my English class and our ratty teacher turned her in. Hillary got called into the office and shortly after that, our dress code changed and we could wear pants. I remember as a child in Baltimore standing out on horribly cold mornings in skirts. Hard to imagine now that we did that to girls.


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