Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Art of Dressing Oneself

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Let's start from the beginning. In order to have clothing there has to be someone to design it. So why can clothing design sometimes be considered an art? What does a great couturier have in common with a talented artist...a fine painter...a skilled craftsman? They each must select from available materials & must arrange and combine them into something harmonious and beautiful to the eye.

A great designer is one who creates a unique expression not by chance or luck but with a plan. A plan that organizes the use of design principles.... line, proportion, color, form, texture as a guide to create something pleasing and satisfying. The body is the canvas and so the shape and curves of the form must also be considered. So where do you come into all this?

Well, anyone that is interested and has a passion for improving her taste in clothing should start with a foundation built on the knowledge of art/design principles. Believe it or not, being well dressed is an art just like designing. First you need to realize that you must develop a basis for judgment more reliable than an untrained personal preference, a fashion magazine or what the celebrities are wearing. To do this you gotta train yourself to see clothing by judging it the same way you would judge art. The goal is to achieve harmony and unity.

Design principles can be used as a guide when it comes to dressing and fashion. You can add it to your knowledge, play around with it, love it, hate it... They are not exact rules you have to follow so just have fun. =)

So now I will touch on a few principles, starting with Line.

♥ Line ♥

Most basic line of a garment is the silhouette. This is the shape or outline of the garment as a whole. Some words to describe silhouettes would be: bell-shaped, boufant, A-line, tubular

Line can also be in the details and structural part of the garment: zippers, pockets, pleats, collars, darts, seams, style lines...

Straight angular lines increase a dramatic feeling while curved lines add movement into a garment. Diagonal and zigzag lines are more dynamic and add activity

Lines have the power to suggest movement, mood and personality which means if you use too many different kinds of lines in an outfit it can turn out looking unpleasant. Remember, the goal is to achieve harmony. Un-necessary lines will only clutter

Take this as an example. Pairing this dress with this blazer will create an un-balanced look. Why? Because you've got too many different lines combined. First you've got the diagonal line of the dress with a curved neckline. Then the blazer has got everything going on... vertical lines, horizonal ones, zigzag ones at the lapel and curved ones at the hem.

Here is another example. Which dress looks more balanced and why?

♥ Rhythm ♥

Rhythm is a pleasing sense of motion giving continuity to a design in the use of the repetition of lines, shapes, colors....etc

Gradual changes of hue, value or intensity in color can produce good rhythm as well as repeating shapes while the spaces in between vary. It gives more interest that way

Rhythm is more successful when it can be sensed rather than when the movement is too obvious

♥ Proportion ♥

Laws of Proportion: ratio of 2 to 3 called "the golden section" Click here to read about it

Avoid creating equal divisions. It can become boring

Next time yu go shopping or when you are deciding what to wear for the day, take into consideration the length of the piece of clothing in relation to your body's proportion

So the first dress is divided into half. The second dress on the right is divided into 1/3.
Which looks more attractive?

♥ Emphasis ♥

Every design or garment should have one major idea, form, silhouette, color or fabric....something that calls attention to one area.

Know what NOT to emphasis. When there are too many centers of interest the design can look scattered because we wouldn't know what to focus on

Keep in mind that if we emphasize everything we are emphasizing nothing.

"A good design is one to which no more can be added and at the same time, one from which nothing can be subtracted without causing an emptiness or feeling of incompletion."


  1. For the gray dresses, I like the 2nd more. For the balance, I like the 1/3 more. Nice entry :)

  2. Great tips babe! I never though of using the different elements of design in fashion as well.

  3. great tips
    Wish I had the clothes to utilize the tips though xD

  4. hey cindee, i came across your blog, and was reading your posts. some of them really inspire me . sorry im kinda new to this and trying to figure blogger out. But anyways keep up the posts, i've learned so much. take care xoxo leanna

  5. Great tips! I have never really thought about those things when getting new clothes. Interesting post! :D

  6. This is so helpful...I never really thought about the 1/2 1/3 thing but it makes a lot of sense.


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