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News / 05 Oct 2017

One, Two but not Three Rule - Necklines, Hemlines and Sleeves

There is a recurring question when we're customizing dresses: what is the best neckline and hem combination?
One, Two but not Three Rule - Necklines, Hemlines and Sleeves

We’ve helped hundreds of women since launching Isabella Wren and there is a reoccurring question that comes up when we're customizing their dresses: what is the best neckline and hem combination? 

The rule we live by is called the 1, 2 not 3 Rule! It’s the best way for our customers to remember which areas of the body to expose and which ones to cover. The three areas you can show flesh in are the chest, legs, and arms. You can always combine two of these areas, but never all three! We like to say, ‘high hem, high neck’ and ‘low hem, low neck.’ It’s the golden rule of tailoring dress lengths and necklines. Here are the top 3 styling tips to keep in mind when customizing your dress. 

Let's Talk Hemlines

Miniskirts and Minidresses 

If you've got great legs, by all means, show them off! But remember to keep a few things in mind. First, always assess your environment. If you're having a night out with a girlfriend, this length is perfect! If you're meeting important clients, not so much.  Put your arms down at your sides, if your hemline falls below your fingertips, it's safe to wear!  

A Little Above the Knee

This length is the most versatile and most appropriate for almost every occasion. It works with heels or flats, day to night. 

Knee Length 

This is conservative hemline as it screams no-nonsense! If you're on the short side, this is a look you should stay away from. A few extra inches above or below the knee will make your legs look longer. If you go for knee-length, stay away from plunging necklines. You'll look like a naughty librarian if you do! High heels are also a must with this hemline. 

Tea Length 

This length falls about three to four inches below the knee and has lately become a great evening alternative to the floor-sweeping gown. This is a look best left to evening or as bridesmaid dresses! 

Necklines: Too High or Too Low?

Every woman has a unique and distinctive body shape and we always tell our clients to wear clothing that accentuates their figures, but that also makes them feel beautiful and comfortable as well 

You wouldn't think that a neckline can make a big difference in how you look, but it does! Necklines have the ability to shed pounds off you while also giving an air of sophistication and comfort. Factoring bust size, neck length, and height are important. Here are our tips for the two most popular necklines 


This type of neckline can create a leaner, longer, and taller silhouette. It’s universally flattering and popular for all figures and not only draws the eye upward to the face but also enhance the neck and elongate the body. 

Overall, depending on the cut of the neckline, whether you are petite, skinny, or plus size, the V-neck flatters almost every body shapes. For those with a large bust, be aware of the cut. A very high V can make a large bust look saggy, while a plunging V can be too revealing, and a wide V balances out pear shapes. 

Scoop Neck 

This neckline displays the collarbone beautifully and elongates a short or thick neck, but depending on its cut, different body type has different width of the scoop.   

A wide or large scooped neckline, for example, tends to flatter women with narrow shoulders since it makes the shoulders appear wider. It also fits better for smaller chests or women with athletic body types 

As for the bustier ladies or those with broad shoulders, try a smaller scoop to disguise the large bust area. While large scoop necks create curves, a low scooped neckline can also give the illusion of a longer neck and is flattering to those carrying extra fat under the chin.  



A great way to not only show off your arms and stay cool, but remove that jacket and straight out for dinner. 

Cap Sleeve  

Cap sleeves are a bit tricky in that they hit most arms near or at their widest point. Because of this factor, we tell our ladies to go with a slanted cap sleeve versus a horizontal one to avoid emphasizing the widest part of your body.  Some cap sleeves fall parallel to the bust, which draws the eye right at your bust. This is great if you want your bust emphasized, not so great if you don’t! 

Short Sleeve 

Short sleeves fall a bit lower on the arm than caps, but still, hits the upper arm in a wide area.  

We often recommend flutter sleeves, as they are the approximate length because they are loose and won't be as harsh on the full upper arms. 

Half Sleeve 

Half sleeves are great for drawing attention to your torso. Since the half sleeve ends parallel to your waist, it will draw attention to your waist!   

Long Sleeve 

Long sleeves are great for distracting from the midsection. Unlike the half sleeve, they draw attention to the lower part of your body!  

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