Monday 19th February 2018
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Give me a spring dress with a nice, dignified hemline


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This should not be such a hard thing to track down, and yet it is. Every season. And every season, the fact of this makes me feel like the big fat cliche that I have become: a middle-aged woman bitching that she can’t find any dresses with enough in the way of length. And it’s not like I couldn’t get away with something above the knee if I had to—in fact, my legs are still surprisingly un-hideous. It’s just that at this stage in the game, I find myself not really wanting to. A longer silhouette just feels more sophisticated, and more womanly too. Short seems cute and boppy by comparison—for the kids. I ask you: could any minidress impart even a fraction of the movie star drama of this divine Rachel Comey silk organza print?


The slash of mini on this elegantly draped Helmut Lang dress is no more revealing than a moderate slit, but so much more interesting.


Another winning print from Rachel Comey, who always really brings it come springtime. There are those who might take a belt to a dress this voluminous, but I’d wear it just as is, all tent-like.


Doesn’t this look just a tiny bit like something Katharine Hepburn might have worn in a sassy workplace romantic comedy?

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Back when I could buy all the pretty dresses I wanted, I bought lots from Zero + Maria Cornejo, because she  really knows how to cut for a woman’s body, and her dresses—like this jewel-tone blue one—are the soul of comfort.


Also, her prints are to die.


The red and the blue together   are fantastic—it’s the just-right red, and the just-right blue—and the bird print is classic.

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Posted on March 28th, 2013 30 Comments

30 Responses

  1. Liz says:

    Argh, I need cheaper options. I’m pretty solidly middle class, but these prices all seem so crazy to me.

  2. haapi says:

    Really nice selection. I am always on the lookout for a good summer dress (or three.) Nonetheless, dress #3 really should not be worn with such ankle-thick sandals as the model looks very chunky. Not what women of our age want!

  3. I have to say that it’s not only middle-aged women looking for a longer hem. I’m 29 here, and it’s really hard to find what I consider to be an appropriate length as well. I’m no prude, but I naturally look young and work around college students, so I try to step it up and dress more professionally in order to be taken seriously. A short skirt does not do me any favors in this respect.

    I’m dying over the first Rachel Comley dress. Serious sophistication.

  4. Lyn says:

    Oh dear I adore that Rachel Comey number.

  5. blackbird says:

    Now, imagine, if you will, that you have to attend a dinner event – a charity gala, perhaps but at 6pm.
    Try and find something that wouldn’t require pants underneath it, slightly dressier than work-wear, but no bedazzling.
    Under $500.

  6. laura says:

    these are all beautiful, any chance you can find any under $200
    I am on the hunt myself for a dress this length but all of these are out of my price range

  7. muranogirl says:

    I love the Helmut Lang. We have one at Anthro right now you might like:

  8. Jill says:

    Oh I utterly disagree. 🙂 I am 45 and all the “just below the knee” length dresses make me feel so dowdy! Maybe because I’m 5’5″…but I would love some dresses and skirts to the knee or *just* above. Everything I can find is an eentsy mini or the lengths you’ve posted. I’ve resorted to taking some dresses to the tailor and having them hemmed.

  9. Jennifer says:

    I could not agree with you more. Everytime I walk out of the Anthropologie or JCrew dressing room empty handed, I have to explain that I looked like I was joining the circus.

    If you lived in Toronto, you would likely be addicted to, who consistently deliver exactly what you’re asking for. I’ve bought two spring dresses already, and just got called about the arrival of the 3rd style that I put on my ‘wish list’. Dangerous, actually.

    Also, I’m emailing this article to every retailer I can think of. J

    • Viajera says:

      Comrags looked quite interesting. I couldn’t get the pages to work on my very old system though — the picture was too far away from the scroll button. Bummer. It kept moving the picture offscreen whenever I tried to scroll. I bet I need to update something, darn it…

  10. frances says:

    Echoing the request for less expensive options. These are lovely, but too pricey for me. I love them all, but they definitely won’t make it into my closet. The prints are especially nice. That’s what makes a spring/summer dress, to me, a pretty print.

  11. Desert Flower says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. My search for dresses and skirts with longer hemlines is never ending. I’m tall, I work in a fairly conservative office and I’m well past my 30s. I probably can wear above the knee but I don’t want to. I’m always so excited when I see a dress that is long enough, because they are definitely few and far between.

  12. RebeccaNYC says:

    Love the dresses…wishes that JUST ONE of them were offered in a larger size. One dress is offered in 12. The rest go all the way up to size 6. woo-hoo!

    • maria sisco says:

      I agree! Why no dresses in 16? I am tall and big but not fat Plus size is way too big for me and most dresses that I find that may be 14/16 are SHORT. I would pay those ridiculous prices if I could only find a dress that fits. They have big and tall in mens clothing but not womans.

      • Donna says:

        I’m with you on this. I’m 5’9″ and not as thin as I used to be. Finding stylish clothes that fit is SO hard. I have better luck with separates than dresses. I do have some luck at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s, but it’s not easy.

  13. Shaney says:

    AMEN! This is one of the *many* reasons I can’t stand the summer heat…that there are so few options for people that don’t want to run around half-naked! Thank you!

  14. Diane says:

    Seriously love all these options — the timing of your post is perfect as my frustration with finding great dresses that are too short is pretty constant. I have never spent so much on a dress but am seriously considering the Zero + Maria Cornejo print for a special occasion (daughter’s college graduation!). Anyway, any feedback on fit? I am a pretty true 8 — never bought this label before — do they generally run true to size?

  15. Beans says:

    I just can’t with that blue Helmut Lang dress. The draping at the waistline looks like she went to the bathroom and accidentally got part of her dress tucked into her panties.

  16. MaryL says:

    I just bought this Fashion Star winning dress at Saks that offers a good compromise: below the knee sheer overlay over an above the knee slip, Looks good on but unfortunately the material doesn’t match up to the style and will be returning. Oh well…..

  17. c.w. says:

    Love pretty much all of them. While my legs are pretty darn lovely (thank you pilates) I am waaaaay past the age of short dresses or skirts and, quite frankly, I like to be able to bend over without showing my woohoo. I also understand the clamor for less expensive items, but these options you posted seem as if they could be worn and worn and worn––using the “cost per wearing” school of thought could make them seem like bargains!

  18. Eve says:

    There is nothing as pretty as “Girls in their summer dresses”

  19. Cynthia says:

    Amen sister. I’m 5’7″ and long in the thigh, and even though I have fine legs, any “above the knee” dress tends to read as babyish on me — not to mention how much skin ends up touching the chair when I sit down in one of those wee things.

  20. mims says:

    I love all of these, but despite their forgiving hemlines, they are all essentially sleeveless! Quite frankly I have better legs than upper arms how about a post for spring dresses that cover up arms? pretty please.

  21. KimFrance says:

    I hear you guys on the price issue—whenever I’m putting together a post which includes pricey items I always try to balance it out with just as many (if not more) that are good values, but it was hella tough this time! There were a few inexpensive ones that I included almost until I posted the item, but they weren’t quite as special as the others, and I am such a hardass about a tight edit that I couldn’t do it.

    Still, it’s no fun for anyone to look at a post full of dresses too pricey for consideration. Here’s an IOU for a pretty-dresses-under-$200 post. April will be a good month for it, when even more stock hits the stores & the sites.

  22. Sara says:

    Wow I love all of these! I tried on the Apiece Apart one, which at 5’3″ and boyish was not right for me. But the look and feel of the fabric is soo nice- sophisticated and cotton-y at the same time. It’s one of those you could wear day or evening and feel just right.

  23. Viajera says:

    Dress 1 is gorgeous, numbers 4, 6 and 7 are acceptable. Actually, 7 would be gorgeous too if I liked that print more, but prints are so subjective. The cut is great.

    People need to be more careful with the draping.

  24. Donna says:

    I like 1 4 and 7. The first is so beautiful.