21 dresses with grown-up hemlines

Elizabeth and James sweater dress

I was surprised to note that the last time I brought you dresses with grown-up hemlines was early September: an update is clearly in order. Some dresses here are on the lighter side and not what you might intuitively think about wearing this time of year, but all things are possible with layering: try a long-sleeved tee or turtleneck layered under, wear a full slip for added warmth, and pair with cardigans and tailored jackets and you’re good to go. I like how easy this is, and that it’s got a nicely relaxed cut.

carven sweater dress

And I’m always a fan of dresses that look like separates, as this does.

toit volant dress

I’d either wear a slip or a long-sleeved tee under this to make the neckline a little less plunging.

Joseph shift dress

OK, this is a very spring-y dress, but it could be made suitable for now with matte tights and a nice cardigan. I just love that green.

ALC dress

The twist at the bustline here is so becoming and I dig the asymmetrical hem.

which we want dress

A sweet (but not too sweet) and feminine floral.

public school dress

Another dress that looks pretty spring-y, but would be suitable for now with a little layering. A good choice for days when you really want to break out of the winter doldrums.

Giada Forte dress

Click through and check out the print on this splurgy option: it’s just so pretty .

Farrow Charlotte dress

So flattering and feminine: I like when the waistline is nice and high like it is here.

michel studio dress

The scoopneck here nicely highlights the collarbone—an almost universally flattering spot.

Dries Van Noten dress

This pretty velvet Dries Van Noten dress with is marked way down.

Xirena Leighton dress

I just think this is a fun print.

knot sisters dress

Reasonably priced, bright, poppy, and as good now as it will be in a few months.

farrow dress

The ruching here is what makes this such a figure-friendly (and even forgiving) dress.

 

city chic dress

This is pretty sexy, but at the same time not too much. Would look amazing with a leather jacket.

vince shirtdress

A shirtdress in an alluring dark floral.

stelen zora dress

This just looks so comfortable, and really elegant too (here it is in grey, which I also like).

vince side slit dress

I like the generous (but not perilous) side slit here.

farrow floral dress

I’d wear a shrunken leather jacket with this lovely dark floral.

Cornejo zuri dress

I’m not the biggest fan of the cold shoulder, but Maria Cornejo somehow always makes it work (and here is a cold shoulder dress in extended sizes that I quite like).

stelen farina dress

 

Another good asymmetrical hem, which works well because the rest of this dress is pretty straightforward.

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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Comments

30 Thoughts on 21 dresses with grown-up hemlines
    Lesa
    25 Jan 2018
    9:19am

    I love asymmetrical hems. Hope they never go out of style. But ruching? Not so much. Am I the only one who finds it the opposite of slimming?

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      c.w.
      25 Jan 2018
      9:35am

      I think it’s the where and how of the ruching…for me the most flattering is on the front near the waist––one of those styles you’ve-got-to-try-it-on to see if it works with your body type.

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        Heather
        25 Jan 2018
        12:06pm

        I am also always baffled by the “ruching is flattering” theory — on me, no matter where it is, I feel like it gives me rolls that aren’t there.

        I’m not particularly skinny, but I am fairly straight up-and-down — I wonder if it’s best at flattering people with actual curves?

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      Elle
      25 Jan 2018
      9:36pm

      I loved the ruching!

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      Mamavalveeta03
      26 Jan 2018
      1:49am

      I’m an extended size, Lesa, and I find it incredibly flattering for carving out my non-existent waist.

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    c.w.
    25 Jan 2018
    9:33am

    I’m weirdly attracted to that Sria floral number since I never ever buy floral dresses. humm….

    Sadly, the Dries Van Noten is sold out. (sigh)

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      Mamavalveeta03
      26 Jan 2018
      1:50am

      Isn’t that velvet gorgeous?

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    Helen
    25 Jan 2018
    9:44am

    Pretty dresses, but none would fit me because the torso would be too tall or the armholes too big. Are you still taking requests?
    Would you consider doing an entry on petite dresses? Or petite clothing in general? Hard to find, and none of the “designer” names make them. Thanks!

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      KimFrance
      25 Jan 2018
      10:19am

      A petite friend promised she’d do a guest post for me on clothing for petites, but she’s been super-busy & not able to get to it so I’ll probably do one soon.

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      Nicole
      25 Jan 2018
      10:31am

      Seconding this. Dressing for petite body types is always appreciated. I tend to go with dresses since they always look neater than separates.

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      Kimberly
      25 Jan 2018
      11:43am

      YES. I have been desperately looking for a petite version of the jeans that everyone’s wearing now. The perfectly worn in old school Levi’s or Levi’s – looking ones that are high waisted and cropped length. All of the the “cropped” ones hit me at regular length therefore looking like regular mom jeans and I don’t want the ones that are cut/frayed at the hem. Anyone? (The inseam would probably have to be 26”)

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        LisaR
        25 Jan 2018
        3:33pm

        Go to a tailor to shorten the legs. It’s probably quicker, easier and less expensive than trying to find your dream jeans.

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          Keirele
          25 Jan 2018
          5:49pm

          Have you tried the Levi’s Wedgie Icon style? 24.5″ inseam! Or the 501 skinnies and a tailor!

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    Jenny
    25 Jan 2018
    10:11am

    I am delighted that so many of these dresses are shown with sneakers. Is a workplace footwear revolution in the offing? I could totally get behind that. And love the paradox of the deep V plunge on what’s otherwise a sack dress. But I’m not shopping right now. Sigh.

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      Anne
      25 Jan 2018
      1:05pm

      Yes! Was just counting and over half of these are shown with sneakers, flats, or boots with very little heel. Can’t always get away with sneakers where I work – okay never, when I am on-site at a client – but am always looking for ‘worker off duty’ styling ideas for my dresses and skirts.

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      Francine
      25 Jan 2018
      1:49pm

      Gah! I was just thinking about how much I despise sneakers!! I mean they are fine when I’m dashing out to pick up my kids from school. But why ruin a perfectly lovely dress with schleppy sneakers?! I’m not big on dresses but all of these would be dreamy with OTK boots!

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        Mamavalveeta03
        26 Jan 2018
        1:53am

        I hear ya, Francine, but I’m just so BASIC (not “B”) so sneaks or flats work great for my lifestyle.

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    Comic Sansa
    25 Jan 2018
    12:24pm

    This might be my favorite series, and I would wear every single one of these dresses, and in particular that gray Stelen one looks perfect.

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    Kathi
    25 Jan 2018
    1:08pm

    Love the green JOSEPH dress.

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    Viajera
    25 Jan 2018
    1:59pm

    I just finally responded to the winter whites question … sorry for the delay … but I really came on to say, I love the little hearts!!! Big fun!!! When did this happen? you go away a little while and important stuff happens…

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      KimFrance
      25 Jan 2018
      2:05pm

      Little hearts happened yesterday, Viajera. Don’t ever go away for a little while again—I miss you!

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    Julia
    25 Jan 2018
    5:06pm

    Oh wow- I LOVE that zip front black dress! But I only see it in plus sizes. I need a 8 or Medium. Anyone seen anything similar? It’s gorgeous and grown up but still sexy.

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    Sherri
    25 Jan 2018
    5:34pm

    Kim: Thanks for the post! Was just thinking about finding a multi-purpose slightly worky dress so the was great timing.

    I think there might be a wrong link for the one (black and white print?) you show with a side view of with the model wearing black chunky platform sandals with the caption “I just think this a fun print.” Goes to a Xirena dress on shop bop. Can you update with the right link? Thanks!

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    Mamavalveeta03
    26 Jan 2018
    1:47am

    Kim, you knocked it out of the park-21 incredible dresses! I know I ran my mouth the other day about “never doing prints” but these are just SO good! Exhibit A:Red dress, floral prints…and you rekindled my love for Need Supply. All of that sexy ruching! I think I might purr.

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    shannon
    26 Jan 2018
    9:27am

    LOVE this feature every time! the BEST!

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    chelene
    26 Jan 2018
    1:02pm

    yes yes yes yes and yes. thank you kim for doing these grown-up hemline dresses features. i can’t tell you how valuable they are to me. i’ve pretty much stopped wearing dresses because it seems like they’re all a) overly styled, b) too cute (i’m 45), c) suuuuuper short hemline, or d) it’s just not cut flatteringly for a grown woman’s body. i also like to be stylish without looking like i’m trying too hard so jeans and tops and sneakers have been my go-to outfit for a while. i could def wear a lot of these while still feeling comfy at work, not exposing things i don’t want to, and most importantly looking killer while doing it.

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    Sara
    26 Jan 2018
    2:19pm

    Kim, apropos of the comments above re: sneakers, can you do a shoes post? I am not really a sneakers person either (I have a curvy/athletic figure and I just don’t think it’s a style that works outside the gym for me), but I am really not sure what to buy for walking around in the city.

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    Jennie
    26 Jan 2018
    2:44pm

    This may be my all time favorite post. I love a midi length on me due to my super long torso/short leg combo. Every style here is so unique. I too usually do not like a cold should style but this one works! Kim your eye is so, so good.

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    Heather
    27 Jan 2018
    9:17am

    I love the floral print that’s 3rd from the bottom, and it’s only $78!, but will I look like I’m going to Lilith Fair?

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    Clatie
    30 Jan 2018
    10:44am

    How heartbroken am I that Need Supply considers an 8 to be L?

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