Philipp Travaglia Philipp Travaglia - 1 month ago 22
CSS Question

CSS and z-index: child element under parent element in a list

I am working on a layout for a webshop and am experiencing a problem which seems to be very specific.

There is a dropdown navigation which is design to look kind of a tab with a box under it. The point is, that there is a 1px border line between the tab (first level Menu Item) and the box (second level items) which I can't hide.

I thought about giving the second level box a lower z-index than the first level element, but that didn't changed anything. I read a lot about z-index, how it works and how it NOT works, but nothing was about z-index within one list.

This is how it should looks like and how it really looks like:

I created a codepen, which shows the problem very good, when hovering the first level items:

li .dropdown{
overflow: hidden;
position: relative;
display: inline;
visibility: hidden;
position: absolute;
margin: 0 0 0 -1px; /*Putting a negativ margin-top here puts the box OVER the parent element :-( */
background: #fff;
border: 1px solid $light-grey;
width: 280px;
height: 200px;
&.right {
right: -1px;
left: auto;
.dropdown-1-2 {
float: left;
width: 50%;

Answer Source

I usually solve this issue with z-index to have the bottom of the li to overlap the top of the dropdown.

In your case, I had to remove the * selector for the z-index which came after the li and dropdown which was resetting the z-index to 2 on everything in that navigation. Instead I created just the one stacking context (here's an article on it) for the first nav to appear above the second, and then I gave the ul position relative and the dropdown a z-index of -1 and -1px top margin to move it just behind the unpositioned li.

#mainnav {

    ul {
        @include reduced-list;
        position: relative;

        li .dropdown{
            margin: -1px 0 0 -1px;
            z-index: -1;


        &#nav1 {
            z-index: 2;
        &#nav2 {
            z-index: 1;

Sorry, the codepen didn't save.