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Finding Designs that Flatter You
The garment and your body form a harmonious relationship when a garment is especially well-suited to you. Several elements go together to create a harmonious look. These are balance, proportion, emphasis and rhythm.
Balance is the way that the parts of one space in a garment relate to the parts of another space. If two spaces are divided equally, they create a centered, or symmetrical, balance. A space that is divided unevenly creates an asymmetrical balance. Both can be pleasing to the eye.
The most obvious examples of the two kinds of balance are simple shirt and pants. If the shirt is tucked in, it creates an asymmetrical balance. The top space is smaller than the bottom space. If the shirt is left untucked, and a more even, or symmetrical, balance is created. This example of asymmetrical balance creates an illusion of more height than the centered balance.
Proportion also has to do with the way that the spaces of a garment relate to each other. If the parts do not work well together, the garment is out of proportion. When all the parts work well together, the garment is well-proportional. Proportion is very much tied to individual size and shape. A large belt that would look fine on a tall person might look all out of proportion on a small person. An understanding of proportion is especially important when choosing accessories. The size and shape of belts, ties, shoes, boots, hats and purses or briefcases influence proportion. The width of a tie or the length of an earring all influence proportion.
Emphasis occurs when a focus or special point is created within a space. Many successful outfits have a focus. Emphasis can be created through the use of lines, colour and accessories. Usually, one emphasis is better than two or three.
You can use a focus to attract attention to a certain point in a garment. A lace collar or a brightly coloured tie are both focal points that create interest. Emphasis can also be used to play up a part of your body. If a woman has large hips, a tie blouse or a scarf at her neckline will move the emphasis up and away from her hips.
Rhythm is the last major element that contributes to a harmonious look. It refers to the flow of the garments lines, shapes and spaces. The eye favours smooth lines. No one looks good in jangled or jerky lines. The rhythm of an outfit is destroyed.
Sometimes rhythm is created by using similar lines and shapes. When the rounded edge of a jacket is worn with the rounded edge of a blouse neckline, a sense of rhythm is created. Plaids that match help to create rhythm. Not wearing stripes and curves together is another way to create rhythm.
All of these elements are important factors in creating harmonious design. Harmony also means that colours work with each other and with the design of the garment. It means that your hair is the best shape for your face, that your glasses and other accessories are right for your size and shape. Harmony is learning how to pull all the parts of your clothing package together to suit you.
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