If I could be a superhero, I would be UnPick Girl! I’d go around the city unpicking and lifting hems day and night, helping those with fabulous shoes show them off while combatting frayed damp hems that have been stuck under civilians’ shoes since god knows when.
I catch the train almost every day into the city to shop and on weekdays particularly I see hems sitting well past their intended length. Some are sitting crumpled around the ankle, others hugging the underneath of the wearer’s heel with a few grams of Sydney’s street grime on them and on the odd occasion I spy a little row of safety pins holding up a recently (or likely not so recently) fallen hem.
Hem length can make or break our proportions, particularly if we consider ourselves short or short legged. So tonight, after seeing a nice new collection of wet hems courtesy of Sydney’s electrical storm I thought let’s break down hem length once and for all and work out where to get our pants hemmed to!
DIFFERENT PANTS HAVE DIFFERENT HEMS
A slim or tapered pair of pants or jeans should have a different length hem that a regular, wide or flared leg pair of pants or jeans. The reason for this is that some of these styles are designed to show off your shoes and your ankles and some aren’t.
A slim or tapered pair of pants is the main style of pant that most work trousers are these days, you might have noticed those bootcut work pants no longer seem to be easy to find and even straight cuts can be scarce. This is because women’s wear has gotten a little slimmer fitting in recent years and this is a fabulous thing because it allows us to embrace our figures. Before you dismiss the slim cuts remember that the beauty of the slim or tapered pant is that it skims our figure and doesn’t cling to it like skinny jeans do, it’s a very flattering, elongating pant style.
Regular, wide or flared leg pants and jeans instead add more volume and silhouette to our figures which can be great for times of the year like winter where we want our ankles covered and in some cases, we can even wear a pair of stockings or tights under them for extra warmth on super cold days.
WHERE TO HEM YOUR PANTS TO: SLIM, SKINNY & TAPERED CUTS
When you’re trying on your pants, there’s two hem length options of slim, skinny and tapered cut pants. The first length is a cropped length which is around four finger spaces above your ankle bone. More traditional and conservative style women will look at these and think “Those pants look too short!” and I completely understand. The cropped length is a little more modern and does show a touch more skin, but a cropped length when paired with a nude shoe or a heel can be incredibly elongating to the leg line.
The second length option is a finger space above the ankle. This is a traditional length for slim, tapered and skinny cut pants and what this will do is open the lower leg up and create the look that there’s more length there than there actually is. It means that you can also wear different height shoes (ie; FLATS!) and still look tall.
WHERE TO HEM YOUR PANTS TO: WIDE CUT, BOOTLEG, FLARES AND REGULAR CUT
These pants are designed not to show your ankle, in fact, showing your ankle in these cuts (unless they’re culottes) will shorten your appearance. Pants of wide, bootleg, flared and regular cuts are all designed to end on the middle of your foot without too much creasing or buckling around the ankle.
ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR AVERAGE HEIGHT AND PETITE WOMEN:
If the pants you have are quite long and are a slim, tapered or skinny length and require more than two inches off them, you’ll need to ask the tailor to taper the pant in. This is so that when the pants are hemmed they don’t look boxy on your lower leg. If you think about where your lower leg starts to shape down to your ankle, versus a person tall enough to wear the pants without alterations you could imagine that their lower leg and ankle starts to shape down at a different point than yours. This is why they need to be tapered because suddenly the pant will end, if hemmed, around a place originally designed to fit the upper calf area.
How are those pant hems now? Lifted and luxurious – I hope! Remember, if you can’t hem the pants yourself, a pant hem should cost between $15 and $25 on average to hem. This is a small investment to make when you consider how much better the pant fit will be once they’re hemmed.
If the pants you have are long on you and they’re flared or bootleg, you shouldn’t get too much off them because you’ll lose the shape of the pant. If you already own the pants and you don’t want to part with them, you’ll need to wear them with the correct height shoes and if you have t0; get around an inch off the bottom. Often more than this can make the shape of the pants look out of proportion.