Now you see it, now you don’t

12 Mar

The lesson I learned in class over the weekend about clothes and fashion:  It’s an optical illusion.

Ultimately, I knew this already, but it was good to be reinforced in the notion.  Our bodies don’t change dramatically between outifts. But, the way we look can certainly evolve from one pair of jeans to another. Why? It’s all about lines, curves, and shapes and the manipulation thereof. This is the only kind of acceptable manipulation!

That said…here are some basics:

  1. Lines: Create a long, vertical line to appear taller, more slender. This isn’t so that we can hide our bodies, but instead to maximize them.  A taller, sleeker more statuesque looks is flattering and appealing.  You can do this with vertical stripes (not wide, but subtle), creases down the front of your pants, no cuffs, high-heels, and monochromatic color from head to toe. 
  2. Patterns:  Use them wisely. I love color, I love texture. Patterns create visual texture. They keep the eye busy and occupied. However, there is a difference between a beautiful floral and an obnoxious geometric pattern in primary colors.  Let’s not get the two confused and instead be smart about how we employ this tool.  Use a beautiful pattern up top in your best colors to draw attention up to the luminous face.  Using a thick, horizontal stripe on your lower half if you are curvy is unwise.  If you have small features, choose a smaller (but not overly busy) pattern. If you have large eyes and prominant cheekbones, feel free to experiment with larger patterns that have more space in between the shapes/colors.
  3. Texture: Texture and weight of clothing comes from the fabrics.  Soft, supple silk is smooth, clean and sleek. Wool or tweed is textured, thicker and heavier.  Don’t overpower yourself with a heavy sweater, heavy pants, and heavy shoes. Instead, try balancing out textures – try heavier pants with a softer, lighter top or thin cashmere sweater or all medium weight fabrics from head to toe.  Texture should be in harmony with your body size. If you are a small, petite woman, heavier patterns can overpower you can drown in your clothes.  And if you’re a larger-structured, taller woman, dainty lace will get lost on your body. 

The goal is harmony.

 It’s not just about what we like or don’t like, what’s trendy or not trendy, what’s “hot” or not.  It’s about what works best on us. As much as we may love an item of clothing, if it isn’t in harmony with our given lines, structure, and coloring, it will look all wrong.  All wrong=bad image.  Bad image? Not on my watch.


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