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Elise Sax

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The Tyranny of the Hem Lines

Posted: 09/11/2012 11:31 am

I've been looking online and scouring the stores, and this can't be all there is: Above the knee or dragging on the floor like a shroud.

Dear designers, what happened to below the knee or mid-calf?

I know what this is. I'm being punished for having ugly knees. Ugly, round, dimply knees that I've always hated. In elementary school, my mother hemmed my school skirts above the knee to show what she called my "cute, round, dimply knees." I suffered the humiliation and vowed never to show my knees again.

It was the '80s, and sure, the decade was a sea of fashion what-were-we-thinking, but despite the sickening wave of pastels and shoulder pads, a woman had a choice of hemlines. From trampy mini to hippie chic, every length was the right length.

And sleeves. There were sleeves, too. Today, if it's below the knees, you're not allowed sleeves. Like those poor women on Say Yes to the Dress who buy the sleeveless wedding dress (do they sell any other kind?), even though they are not gifted with Michelle Obama's arms.

So, what's a maxi dress-wearing woman to do? She buys a cardigan to cover her arms. Now, women everywhere are wearing dowdy cardigans and holding up their maxi dresses so they don't sweep the dirt off the street as they walk. Hmm... maybe that's why seven-inch heels are in vogue.

All right. All right. I can hear the criticism already... Work on those knees! With beautiful legs, you reason correctly, I can wear the minis and get sleeves, too.

But I'm walking on the stair machine (I could have climbed to Mars by now), and I'm so low on carbs that I doubt the existence of bagels, and I look down, and yep, the knees are still there.

Who do I have to talk to? Michael Kors, are you out there? How about you, Calvin Klein? Can you give a nice woman with deficient knees a break? And sleeves?

I'm counting on you, fashion designers. Make it work.

 

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