If you wonder just how long your skirt or dress (or even a pair of longer shorts) should be, then you can take some inspiration from the Golden Ratio – which is a magical number for mathematicians, is used by architects and designers and even cosmetic dentists to create the ideal proportions.
Because this ratio appears everywhere in nature, from snail shells to snowflakes and we find nature beautiful, when we dress in using this proportional measurement it creates a more balanced and harmonious appearance.
Recently an Australian mathematician Lily Serna came up with this formula relating to shorter hem lengths.
How to Find your Ideal Hem Length
You will need:
a tape measure with centimeters on it
the shoes you wear most regularly with skirts and dresses as you will get different results depending on the heel height.
1. Measure from floor to shoulder in centimeters (wearing shoes – repeat for each pair of shoes with a different heel height)
2. Divide this number by the golden ratio 1.618
3. This number is your golden number and when you measure from your shoulder down, this gives you the point for your ideal hem length for skirts/dresses/shorts.
You will find that a heel will give you a larger number, therefore hems should be longer with heels, whilst a flat shoe the golden number will be smaller, therefore hems end higher. This method of dressing to the Golden Ratio will give you the illusion of long legs.
How to Find Your Ideal Top Length
Now that you’ve figured out where your hems should end, how about top and jacket length?
According to Lily, if you measure up from the ground with your Golden Number, then if the tape measure ends below your natural waist (as it does for me), then you need to end tops lower than your waist. If it ends higher than your natural waist, then end your tops at your waist or go high-waisted.
This relates to your overall body proportions which I’ve talked about here. Long legs need longer tops (as I have), whilst short legs are best in shorter tops. For most people who are not really out of balance with either super long legs, or super short ones, around the hip bone, where it juts out from your body at the front, is an ideal kind of length to end tops and jackets.