Try the pillowcase test to find your best lengths

Posted by: Sian Davies, May 23, 2020


“Never draw a line around your widest part, 2” above or 2” below is more flattering.”

House of Colour


Illusional dressing is a clever way of dressing to flatter your body shape. Wearing clothes changes our body shape so a skirt hem ‘draws a line’ to that part of the leg. The eye is also drawn to a change in colour so wearing a different colour top and bottom, particularly a high contrast change of colour, will draw attention to that point. You, therefore, want to wear lengths in terms of tops, jackets, skirt lengths even boot lengths to draw attention to the slimmest points on your body.


For me, I want to draw attention to my waist, so I tuck my tops in or have them shortened and often wear high contrast coloured belts. My best skirt length is at or just below the knee or lower calf. I avoid jackets ending mid-thigh and skirts ending at the widest bit of my calf.


The Pillowcase Test

·      Take a pillowcase and stand in front of a full-length mirror.

·      Slide the pillowcase up and down your body looking at its ‘hemline’.

·      Stop at the widest part of your leg, hip, thigh, calf and notice that it is an unflattering length for you. Go up 2” (or down 2”) and notice that it looks better.

·      To find your best skirt length place a ruler on the side of your lower leg vertically. At the point where the ruler leaves your leg (your widest part of your calf), this is an unflattering hem length. The reason is that if above this point is covered by a skirt the eye follows the line of the ruler and perceives that your hips are much wider than they actually are.

·      By the same logic to choose a hem length at a point where your calf is curving in or straight is more flattering, as following the line of the ruler, the eye perceives narrower hips.

·      A shapely slim leg can do lots of skirt lengths, but a person’s clothing personality does also play a part in choosing hem lengths. A Gamine looks great in shorter skirts, albeit with thicker tights in later life. A Natural, young or old, with or without shapely legs, rarely can do a short skirt…..but that is a subject for your Style session or maybe another blog!


Sian Davies

House of Colour Gloucestershire