Image of a wedding party

1.2 The Rise and Fall of Your Hemline

Hemlines throughout history have ranged from nonexistent (that is, no clothes at all) to trailing 25 feet behind you, but for the most part they went at least to the ankle and often the floor. Starting in the early 20th century, they started ricocheting up and down and up and down again until finally we have arrived at a point where you are free to look good in a skirt of pretty much any length you choose.

Women mentioned include the woman from Huldremose, Jane Austen, Queen Victoria, Sojourner Truth, Mary Quant, Phyllis Dalton, Barbra Streisand, Princess Diana, Kate Middleton, Rachel McAdams, Marilyn Monroe, and Twiggy.

This episode belongs in Series 1: What’s in the Closet and How Did It Get There?

Selected Sources:

One of many sources I used for this episode was the DK’s Fashion: The Definitive Visual Guide.

Link to DK's Fashion: The Definitive Visual Guide on Amazon

Fashion United has an article on Mary Quant and the miniskirt, and you can read Neil Gaiman’s account of the Oscars in his article for the Guardian.

Have other great sources on the rise and fall of your hemline? Feel free to list them in the comments below.

Featured image is by Galina Krupoderova from Pixabay.


  1. What an engaging, upbeat introduction to the oft-misunderstood and underappreciated role of women in history. If the first episode is a harbinger of what lies ahead, the listener will find it difficult to resist the pull of the anecdote-rich narrative delivered with warmth and insight. This is a new podcast worth following.


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