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The dictionary definition of "hemline" is

The level of the lower edge of a garment such as a skirt, dress, or coat.

Which implies that yes hemlines can be applied to trousers, but I have never seen it used that way before. Apparently, neither has Google - if I search for trousers hemline the top results contain trousers and hem (but not hemline).

Can hemline be applied to trousers?

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  • I don't see why not.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Sep 7, 2020 at 21:08
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    The fact that trousers are not mentioned in a definition does not mean they are excluded.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Sep 7, 2020 at 21:23
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    I would not use "hemline" for trousers. On a dress, a hemline is the distance between the waist and the lower hem of the dress/skirt. It is of importance in fashion where higher and lower hemlines indicate shorter and longer skirts/dresses respectively. The hem on a dress is the material that is folded back on itself and stitched in place to prevent fraying. Most garments have a hem, including trousers, but a hem need not be at the bottom of a garment. A hem on a jacket also refers to the vertical joining of material.
    – Greybeard
    Commented Sep 7, 2020 at 22:59
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    The bottoms of trousers are called cuffs (plural, since there are two), and one speaks of various measurements, but not of a hemline. That's strictly for skirts, because trousers do not form a line from their cuffs; they are rarely in line, whereas a skirt always has a visible hem. Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 2:58
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    It seems to be used of trouser/pant length, e.g. Business Outsider, Corporette, but trouser length (e.g. cropped vs full-length) is a topic of less interest to the fashion media than skirt length.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Sep 5, 2022 at 15:49

1 Answer 1

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A 'hem' refers to the physical turning over of fabric (usually twice) to avoid fraying.

A 'hemline' is the line of sight created across a garment, by the hanging of 'a hem', which is important to the pleasing appearance of a garment. The hemline must appear straight, even if it actually isn't, due to variations in body symmetry.

Getting such a major hem straight or appearing straight, is a challenge of tailoring, and of major importance to the success of the garment.

'Hemline' refers to the 'look' of the garment - as in 'the hemline isn't straight!' and also, the 'look' in terms of fashion - 'short hemlines, or long hemlines, are in, this season.' 'Line' refers to the 'line' of the garment - how it hangs, which is what makes it look beautiful (or not).

Skirts and dresses have a hemline, the bottom of a coat or jacket could be said to have a hemline, but shorter hems on trousers, sleeves, and vertical hems are not referred to as a 'hemline' they are referred to as 'a hem'.

Definition 'hem':

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hem

Definition 'hemline':

Definition of hemline : the line formed by the lower edge of a dress, skirt, or coat

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hemline

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