A top has a round hem when the hem is higher on the sides than on the front and back, and curved downwards. Five things make the curve flattering when the top is worn untucked. 

  1. It breaks the strong horizontal line that a straight hem creates across the body.
  2. It draws the eye upwards and increases vertical emphasis.
  3. It elongates the leg line by exposing more of your leg on either side.
  4. It gives an outfit more structure and visual interest. 
  5. It visually shortens the length of the top.

That said, round hems don’t look fab when they’re too short, especially when you’re wearing them with trousers or jeans. I have found that my taller clients in particular need to make extra sure that their round hem tops are long enough. This is why the hemline looks particularly good on petites. 

Round hems work both in knits and wovens, and fitted and voluminous silhouettes. The lengths vary from tunic to regular length (a few inches above crotch point) as seen below. Here’s a tip: if your round hem top looks too short, try wearing it with a skirt instead of jeans and trousers. Shorter tops generally work better with skirts. 

Do you wear tops with round hems? Do you find them more flattering than straight hems?