Tail hems: dresses longer at the back

Shirttail hem, tapered hem, cutaway hem… whatever you wish to label it, the basic fact remains: skirts and dresses cut longer at the back are continuing to make their way into our trend bibles, and thus features as a major 2011 fashion trend. These hems fill the void between mini and midi; or between midi and maxi. They cover, yet they expose. And they’re a simple way to freshen up your spring 2011 wardrobe with a new type of cut.

Read on to find out more about the style, what to look for, and how to wear it.

topshop unique SS11
Tail hem at Topshop Unique SS11

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Click the thumbnails for full pictures:
Asymmetrical hems: picture inspiration
Asymmetrical hems: picture inspiration
Asymmetrical hems: picture inspiration
Asymmetrical hems: picture inspiration
Asymmetrical hems: picture inspiration
Asymmetrical hems: picture inspiration
Asymmetrical hems: picture inspiration
Asymmetrical hems: picture inspiration
Asymmetrical hems: picture inspiration
Asymmetrical hems: picture inspiration
Asymmetrical hems: picture inspiration
Asymmetrical hems: picture inspiration
Asymmetrical hems: picture inspiration
Asymmetrical hems: picture inspiration

The tail hem: what is it?

A shirttail hem is traditionally cut shorter on the sides, with a longer ‘tail’ at the back. In 2011 the trend is more than just a shirttail hem, however: it’s any manner of dresses, skirts or tops that have a hem that’s shorter in front, longer in back.

uneven hem line
Dress with tapered hem at Dennis Basso SS11

Why a tail hem?

The appeal of a dipping hem is that it’s playful. One side coveys the elegance of length, while the other hints at something more revealing. It can also have the appeal of looking completely effortless; especially if cut to resemble an untucked shirt, or an oversized tee.

mid length hem
Shirttail hem on the runway at Etro SS11

Types of hem

There are numerous ways of creating a unique hemline with a ‘tail’ effect. Here are a few examples:

  • A simple hem cut at an angle.
  • A more traditional petal hem (where the fabric overlaps in front like petals of a flower)
  • A hem that’s cut from very short to very long – i.e mini to maxi.
  • A hem that falls into large drapes or pleats at the back.

Any of these work in 2011 – remember that it’s all about adding a little point of difference.

white mini dress long hem
Skirt pleats at No. 21 SS11

Images: style.com

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Some people's wardrobes are about a small selection of pieces that all fit within one aesthetic - Tania Braukamper isn't such a person. With a wardrobe that spans three different rooms, her approach to fashion is a mixture of current-season key pieces mixed with vintage finds she's sourced on innumerous shopping trips around the world's more cultured capitals. Despite a disparate approach to shopping, Tania is adamant that the key to mixing vintage with new season is to stick to key looks and colours that work for oneself. And it's a theory that she works into her writing for Fashionising.com, where she serves as the publication's Editor.