How to Create Balanced Proportions
How to tell your body shape
Can you remember your maths teacher's name? The one who taught you about ratio? This week I'm sharing a simple tip that is based around maths - balance, proportion and ratio...
I remember watching a makeover programme on TV once where they used a tape measure to determine a woman’s body shape. Based on those measurements they went on to dress her according to her shape. She looked awful, the clothes did nothing for her. You want to know why?
It’s because when we talk about body shape and the styles that suit each shape, we are referring to the silhouette, that is, the body shape when you're looking straight on. It’s not accounting for any padding around the front or back which would be included in measurements with a tape measure.
Say you have a round tummy but narrow hips for example, the inches could show that your hip measurement is bigger than your bust and technically, using that method you’d fall under the guidelines for a ‘pear’ or in my world an A. When in fact you need to follow guidelines for a ‘column’ -in my terms H or I. (FYI apple = O, V = inverted triangle, X = hourglass – I wrote about this in more detail here)
When I’m talking about body shape, proportion and your silhouette I’m looking at where your shoulders are in relation to your hips. Imagine drawing align a vertical line from your shoulders straight down at a 90-degree angle. Then notice, do your hips fall on the outside of the line or the inside of the line?
That will help you determine your shape. If your hips are in line with your shoulders, then you will be an H or an I. If your hips are outside of the line, you're an A. If your waist/midsection is outside the line with your hips in line with your shoulders, you’ll be an O like me. If your hips are narrower than your shoulders, then you're a V shape. If your shoulders and hips are aligned and there’s a significant indent at the waist, you’re an X.
Horizontal lines will draw attention
Your body shape and proportions then determine the kind of clothes that are going to suit you best. It helps you then choose clothes that are going to suit you and make you look more balanced and give you a shape that is more aesthetically pleasing. our brains are hardwired to look for prefer pleasing patterns and balance so that's why sometimes things don’t quite look right but we aren’t sure why.
The other thing to think about with proportion are your horizontal proportions. Basically where the lines are across your body. If you imagine every time there's a horizontal line it’s like an underline, essentially drawing attention to that particular area on your body.
So you might want to avoid creating those horizontal lines so at your widest point for example. If you've got chunky calves, you might want to avoid having boots that finish at the widest point of your calf or hemlines that there as they will draw attention to that particular area.
The same principle can be applied to tops, tunics and jackets. If you're conscious of your thighs and feel uncomfortable about them, then wearing a top, tunic or jacket that finishes and creates a horizontal line mid-thigh your widest point is going to draw attention to that particular area making it more obvious.
Balance and proportion
Proportion is all about playing around, creating illusions and drawing your eye up and down your body to where you want the attention to focus. I call it FFS - figure flattering styling, around your body shape which is BS. So FFS around BS lol. At the end of the day these guidelines are only relevant if you feel uncomfortable and what is right for one person isn’t going to necessarily be right for the next.
However, when we're looking at proportion horizontally a 50:50 ratio is not good for most people, it's not a flattering; it can make you look short and dumpy, a bit like an Oompa Loompa. I recommend avoiding the 50:50 horizontals.
Check where your tops are finishing because quite often manufacturers are making tops that finish for most of us average height women at the 50:50 point when we pull them down.
You can make this look better and avoid it creating a solid block that cuts you half and makes you look chunky in several different ways. One of them is to wear a column of colour I.E. the same depth colour top and bottoms - that will avoid the 50:50 effect.
Another thing to do is to have a scoop hemline so the sides go up to the hip. The ideal point to have a top finish is the high hip point, where your hip bones start. It’s the most flattering point for most people, unless of course you're conscious of your tummy!
A good way to disguise that is to have ruching -running a thread up the sides of your top and then gathering it so it creates a scoops hemline and creates reaching across the bottom section of the will really help to disguise a rounded tum.
In terms of horizontal proportions unequal proportion are good. So if you're looking at maybe a tunic top with leggings that would create a 60:40 or the other way round E.g high waist trousers or skirt with top. 60:40 proportions will be ok too. You can see what I mean in the pictures
How to avoid the nothing to wear feeling
If you're interested in learning more practical tips to help you look good and feel fab then check out the range of options I have and also register for my FREE masterclass Fri 30th April 7-8pm (GMT) where I'll be sharing my 5 top tips on 'How to Avoid the Nothing to Wear Feeling'. Pre registration is essential but only book on if you know you can make it as places are limited. You can sign up here.
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