Irregular Hem Dress

AKA: asymmetric hem dress, high/low hem dress, handkerchief hem dress, uneven hem dress

How to say it: ih-regyuh-ler  hem  dress

Traditional Features: 

Irregular Hem Dress


  • has a hem with an irregular or uneven shape

21st Century Irregular Hem Dresses

The irregular hem has been around for centuries and 21st century designers don’t seem to be over it yet. With so many ways to create an irregular hem, the options are endless and can be as simple as a high/low or as elaborate as a layered handkerchief hem.



Marc by Marc Jacobs Saint Laurent

Marc by Marc Jacobs, Saint Laurent


…of the style: The term irregular hem can be applied to many different styles – pretty much anything that doesn’t have a hem that goes straight across. Throughout fashion history different styles of irregular hems have come in and out of style; the handkerchief hem, with its drooping corners, became popular in the early 1900s thanks to Madeleine Vionnet, and came back in the 20s, 60s, 70s, 80s and the early 21st century.

The high/low hemline (high at the front, low at the back) began as a fishtail hemline in the Victorian Era, becoming popular in the 1870s and 80s before popping up in formal gowns of the late 1920s/early 30s and late 40s/early 50s. The high/low or ‘mullet’ hemline came back again in late 2011 and has remained on the fashion landscape (in both formal and daywear) since then.

As for asymmetric hems (any hemline that is higher at one point that at another), they have been around since the Roman togas and come in and out of fashion as the trends allow. Popular in the 1920s, 80s and now the early 21st century, the asymmetric hem can take on many different guises and as such is constantly reworked, revised and relaunched by designers on a regular basis.

Basically, the irregular hem dress comes in many different forms, has been around, in one way or another, for a long time and is a look that is here to stay.

…of the name: The hemline of the dress is finished in an uneven, irregular way. Therefore it is an irregular hem dress.

For more info on High/Low hems try here, and try here for info on the handkerchief hemline or check out our post on the Handkerchief Skirt. 

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