A split seam is a seam in a garment that is intentionally open. This is a common feature in pants and shorts, especially pants and shorts that are intended to be worn for athletic purposes. In some cases, such as with dress trousers and in trendy denim designs, the purpose of a split seam is entirely aesthetic. In sportswear and active wear, on the other hand, a split seam is usually used to improve the wearer's range of motion. For example, a split seam may be used in the design of yoga pants because so many yoga poses require a great range of motion, especially when they are being practiced by someone with a great deal of yoga training.
There are some cases in which split seams are used in dresses and skirts. A pencil skirt, for example, often has a split seam in the back. There is a seam that begins at the small of the back, which is sometimes where the skirt can be zippered or buttoned closed. This seam extends over the rump and down the back of the legs. The seam often splits for one to three inches (between two and a half centimeters and seven and a half centimeters) at the end. This kind of split seam is both functional as it can improve the wearer's range of motion and is also an aesthetic part of a pencil skirt.
It is also common for dresses and gowns to have split seams either in the back or on one or both sides of the garment. Much like with the pencil skirt, this design feature can improve the wearer's range of motion but can also offer a bit of glamour if the intention is to show off the legs of the woman wearing the dress. In most cases, the seam begins to split around the knee area. In some more risque fashions, the seam may split much higher.
Another type of garment that is often designed with at least one split seam is the coat. This is especially true with coats that follow classic patterns such as trench coats. A trench coat, for example, usually has a split seam in the back. There are also heavier coats made out of materials such as wool that also include a split seam in the back and, sometimes, on the right and left side of the garment. Sometimes, especially with coats, designers use split seams in order to show off interesting linings.