What A Difference A Few Inches Make!

Hey everyone! This is a slightly different post because I’m not just showing one outfit but showing two different dresses with the same sweater. The dresses are similar, except for the length, and I think the look is very different.

The difference the hem makes - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

The dress above is a little bit shorter than the dress below. Now, I’m not one for showing my legs, but with these tights I feel comfortable and confident with this dress length. Plus, I think the outfit above looks better.

The difference the hem makes - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

To me, the top outfit looks fun and the bottom dress with the long sweater a little more…what?…older. I didn’t plan this post this way. As I was looking through my photos I just kept thinking the longer dress with the sweater just looked blah but couldn’t put my finger on why. Then I saw the pictures with the shorter dress and they just looked fresher and more stylish. I believe it’s because the dress is a few inches shorter and the sweater length looks better with a dress that has a hem closer to the sweater hem.

The difference the hem makes - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

This is one of those dresses that I don’t wear when it’s bare leg season. It totally seems fine with tights though, similar to this dress that’s too short for bare legs too. However, after this analysis, I may look for slightly shorter winter dresses that I would only wear with thick tights.

The difference the hem makes - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

The gray sweater and blue dress are not on the Macy’s website though they have the sweater in black and plus size and petite and black. Perhaps you’ll have better luck at your local store. The shorter dress is from J.Jill’s Wearever collection and they come out with similar dresses, but different prints, every year. This is what they’re showing this season.

The difference the hem makes - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I wore this dark blue dress before here and really like it, but I think it looks better with a shorter jacket. If you look closely, I’ve changed up my scarf and necklace to see how each looked. I like the longer length necklace but I like the short scarf. What do you think?

Linking up with these lovely ladies at Style Splash and Not Dead Yet Style!

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  1. Great post! Good analyzing. I think you hit the nail on the head. Very helpful info that I am going to experiment with. Thanks! And…you look beautiful 🙂

  2. Well, I agree with you, the first outfit is far more flattering than the second. But, I can’t put my finger on why. Length, yes, but also color and pattern? The second outfit seems dated and even a little frumpy — whereas the first outfit is stunning and very becoming.

    I think it may also be a matter of color contrast, which I don’t really understand but know is a “thing.” Imogen of Inside Out Style blog writes about this often, but I’m afraid it hasn’t sunk into my brain. I may intuitively see it, but I couldn’t explain it!

    1. I’m totally with you Bette on the color contrasts which I haven’t wrapped my head around yet either. Another thought I had was that maybe the dark blue dress is a fuller skirt, a little more swishy, than the light colored dress and that makes is look more matronly. Not sure though. Imogen always has great color advice that I need to take more often!

      1. I completely agree with this point — the slight a-line definitely looks more matronly. I have recently had several a-line knit dresses tailored to become straight sheaths (a super easy tailoring job a novice with a sewing machine could do in 5 minutes — if only!). It makes a huge difference in overall appearance, more than I ever would have guessed.

  3. So funny, for this week I’m working on a post about styling cardigans and talk about the ratio between cardigan length and length of whatever is under it. GMTA! I’d just showered and was JUST about to struggle into my tights for the shoot when my co-photoshooter texted to say she can’t make it today……hopefully we can do it another day this 3-day weekend (THREE! DAY! WEEKEND!) and I can proceed with the post as planned (ppppp).

    Count your blessings that you have a cooperative husband who photographs you! It’s really a challenge to not have a dedicated blog photographer.

    Meanwhile, I like both those dresses you’re showing…and isn’t it funny…if I’m wearing leggings with a tunic over top, it can be MUCH shorter than I’d wear a dress…when really…isn’t it the same thing? Long tunic over leggings vs. short dress over opaque tights? Ha ha, women. A mysterious bunch 🙂

    Thanks for reminding me about J Jill! I loved the clothes when I was much (MUCH) smaller but didn’t think they’re sizing went up to my sizing…but I believe they’ve expanded their sizing and I just took a look and they have some really lovely sweaters and tunics (haven’t gotten to dresses yet).

    So I’m off for a day of culchuh instead of blog-work…have a lovely weekend 🙂

    1. I am lucky to have my husband as photographer. If I didn’t, I think I would have to figure out how to do the remote picture taking. I hope you two can get together this weekend. Good luck with J.Jill. I love their soft fabrics. How lucky for you to be able to get some “culchuh” (if by that you mean culture!) nearby. It’s a drive and lots of searching for us to find it! Enjoy your long weekend!

  4. Hi there. I’ve been loving your blog and I think this is the first time I’ve commented. I think the length is a factor. But my suspicion based on my own experiences is that which color is overall darker is more important. With our body shape (larger on top, big chest…) ALWAYS make the top layer the darkest. In the case of the darker dress there isn’t much difference, but the dress does feel a bit darker than the sweater to me. A bit more contrast is nice too. With the light dress it draws your eye up and down like something is happening. When you wear the darker dress with the black leather likewise it looks better because the top layer is darker and the contrast is greater. I once heard, “where you create contrast is where they eye goes.” Does this make sense? What do you think?

    1. I think you’re exactly right Mineral. I haven’t ventured into color analysis that much but looking at the blue dress in the last post and this post there is such a difference and I think it is more than just the length of the dress. Thank you for contributing to this discussion!

  5. Maybe it is the cut of the neckline of the second dress as well. The higher neckline gives the illusion of a smoother line and less attention is brought to the bust.There is nothing wrong with them getting attention of course, but in this case I think it is more flattering . I like the way the scarf is styled as well. I have tons of scarves, but I get self conscious about wearing them thinking that it is double chins,scarf and boobs just RIGHT THERE. The scarf does come in handy if there is any food dropped though. No spots ever on my clothes below “the girls” however! HA!

    1. Ha ha Robin! I know about the food spilling on “my shelf”! I feel the same way about scarves: why add more volume up there? But, they really elevate an outfit and make me feel like a grown-up! I feel if I can give a little breathing room between my chin and scarf it works. But, sometimes it’s cold outside and I don’t want a draft going down my shirt so I just relent and have a boa constrictor around my neck. Thanks for mentioning the higher neckline. Another detail that adds/subtracts from a look.

  6. I believe the proportion of the shorter dress is better, too. It’s allowing the viewer to see the curve of your legs, and that they have shape! When the dress goes past your knee, it’s cutting you off at the wider part of your calf, adding visual weight to the look. It’s the same effect when you have a 3/4 sleeve…you’re showing off a skinny wrist, rather than having the length of a full sleeve cover a skinny body part…It’s why pants that show your ankle are flattering, too! Showing those skinny ankles!! Werk it gurl!!

  7. It is so interesting to see the comparisons Julia!!
    I too have been wearing my skirts shorter lately even though I’ve gotten older! At least for me, part of it is due to my love of the OTK boots, which accounts for coverage (at least in my head!)
    I agree that the length can make a huge difference like you’ve pointed out, but I have to agree with the others that the contrast could be a factor too!!
    Happy Weekend!

  8. I think Mineral is on target with the contrast factor!! Love the whole outfit in 1st photo, also the longer scarf. The longer necklace w/second dress is more flattering.
    Btw…Alfani at Macy’s is one of my favorite brands and Macy’s almost always has such good sales.

  9. Hi Julia! Well for my two cents I think you look great in both of these outfits – the gray looks really good on you,but yes, something about the top pic is my fav on you but u tied your ombré scarf just perfect in that third pic & it looks straight out of the fashion mags! Gotta love the tights for the winters we go thru here, I’ve got a plethora of them in my drawer too. Looking at some of the backgrounds in some of your previous pics I think we might even be neighbors! My personal tights tip: I buy mine in May usually because they get way marked down at that point in time & I know that winter will always come again so I get way more bang for my buck buying them then. C.

  10. Hi Julia – great post gets us all thinking. Third image, shorter dress and shorter scarf keeps all the attention high on the body yet it doesn’t over emphasize the bust! Strange but whenever attention is high you look slimmer and taller overall – can’t be bad!

  11. I agree with you on the difference that a couple of inches can indeed make. The longer dress is much too frumpy for your chirpy style. It ages you and is not in the least bit fun.
    Isn’t is good when we can go back to see how we’ve progressed in our sense of style. Your blog is going from strength to strength Julia. I love reading your posts and seeing you on Instagram – you’re a breath of fresh air!
    Anna x

  12. I agree on all counts! I love the shorter dress with the sweater. It’s spunky and fun but stylish. You look great in it.

    I have a questions for you — do you battle static cling with any of your tops and leggings/tights? Do you have a product or tip that has resolved this for you?

    Also, you recommended wide waistband leggings such as Vera Wang Shaper Leggings but I cannot find any in my size online or in our local stores. Do you have any comparable recommendations?

    Thanks, Julia. You’re my hero!

    1. Hey Carol Ann! I rarely have static cling. I don’t know why. Maybe b/c I wear a lot of cotton. Occasionally I’ll have the tights cling thing going on but I usually just try to dampen my hands and smooth things out. I only have the Vera Wang leggings but I used to have some Ann Taylor wide waistband leggings so maybe they’re worth a try. I’ll keep my eye out for others. Thanks for chiming in!

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