Play with hemlines to accentuate your assets

Marilyn Wetston, Special to QMI AGENCY

Designers create bottoms with slits, tops with plunging front or back views. How high or low do you go? This column continues my guide to help you decide on which lines to draw on your body to achieve your best look.


Leg shape:  Resolve to wear your skirts at a length that suits your leg shape. Generally cover the heaviest part of your limbs and stop where your legs narrow. For some this is knee length (just at or below); for others mid-calf or ankle or below.

Miniskirts fall into this rule; but also bring the conversation to age and place appropriate. Wear short – short only when it fits all aspects of who you are. When skirts are extremely short, try layering over leggings or another skirt to draw the eye down.

Body proportion: The broader you are, the longer your skirt should be. The length will give you a leaner look.

Skirt shape: Flounced bottom skirts are best at knee or longer so there is no big reveal in a breeze. Pencil skirts are best at knee or above so you can take womanly strides. Long, lean skirts require slits (see No. 2) or pleats for freedom of movement.


The new season’s fall skirts offer leg revealing slits a la Angelina Jolie, perfect for showing off legs you’re proud of. If however, the line drawn is not flattering, take control and start at a height that works for you. Or simply opt out of the fad.

Use textured flesh tone or sheer black hose to cover flaws or to create interest to draw the attention where you want it.

Asymmetrical lines

Use clothing that has diagonal lines as a design element rather than ones that circle your body to help you minimize an area. Take charge of loose tops and cozy jackets by tying them front centre or to a side for your most flattering shape.

Pant widths

Reveal leg shapes you are proud of with slim fitting pants and use wide-legged trousers to camouflage excesses and balance a top-heavy body. Long tops can cover heavier hips and thighs and show only what you wish to expose.


Shoes and sandals with straps draw a circle around your ankle. This usually shortens your leg visually and accentuates big calves or ankles.

Boots: Short booties or thigh-high boots can finish a look and aid in making a positive statement. Where your boot finishes draws the line and carries the eye to that area. As in selecting a skirt length, pick a point in your leg that flatters your proportions and leg shape and look for boots that height.

Extremely slim or heavy ankles can be camouflaged by a boot that rises above them.

Boots that hug your legs can reveal big calves or outline the perfect leg, whereas slouchy ones can leave what is underneath to the imagination. A soft easy fit draws a relaxed line.

Socks and stockings

Socks can bulk up narrow ankles when they look too slim coming out of shorter boots. Hose can add texture and interest to stylishly fill in the gap between hemline and boot line.

Bag straps

Draw a diagonal over your body with your purse strap when it suits you. This look however is not good on big-breasted women. Alternatively, accentuate your positives with a belted bag circling your waist or camouflage a bigger midriff by carrying your bag with a shoulder strap.

You can highlight what you wish, diminish any area that challenges you and can control what others see and what they don't simply by drawing the lines where you need them and want them. Use this strategy and don't lose sight of the circles, lines and diagonals you create when you dress — then reap the benefits.

For more information feel free to contact me directly and I will answer your specific questions on how to achieve your best look.

"Wardrobe Doctor" Marilyn Wetston is the owner of Marilyn’s, 200 Spadina Ave., Toronto, Ont. Follow her on Facebook to ask your questions,