Style Glossary: It’s Tea-Length Hem Time!

MORE THAN A MAXI—The Oceanic Depths Skirt.

We all know maxi skirts and dresses are one of the biggest trends of the year. I’d even go so far as to predict that the luxuriously long length will maintain its position for seasons to come, as the comfortable style shows no signs of slowing down. With my adoration for maxi lengths in mind, I set out to discover what the difference is between a hemline that grazes the floor and a hemline that falls just below the calf. To my surprise, I discovered the latter is actually a unique element of fashion—the tea-length hem!

In her 1922 book, Etiquette, Emily Post defined the tea dress as “a hybrid between a wrapper and a ball dress…not for wear at the tea-table so much as for dinner alone with one’s family.” Since then, the tea dress, and its lengthy hemline, has evolved drastically. The hemline raised from today’s maxi length standards to about four inches above the ankle, and in doing so, became an acceptable style to don on nearly any occasion.

Have you recently learned of any new fashion terms? Share your findings in the comments below, or find more in our Style Glossary!

About Annie

Thrift shopping and cupcake baking are the two main constants within Annie's life. When she's not scouring for finds of a lifetime or indulging in calorie-laden confections, Annie enjoys bicycles, dogs, fashion, long stories, and inside jokes.

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3 Responses to Style Glossary: It’s Tea-Length Hem Time!

  1. Julia 01/11/2011 at 7:39 pm #

    I love this! I love it when modern fashion is historically-inspired. That’s a trend I wish would continue!
    <3 Julia

  2. giulia 01/12/2011 at 11:31 am #

    I agree! I see Julias love tea lenght skirts ;-)

  3. Kaelah Bee 01/12/2011 at 1:06 pm #

    i’m such a fan of tea length dresses and skirts and I know for a fact that come my wedding day I will be sporting a shorter number than traditional!

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