Why Proportions Matter – Duchess Catherine Models


Duchess Catherine in Alexander McQueen

Checking out some photos of Kate Middleton (The Duchess of Cambridgel) the other day I came across this pic with her wearing an Alexander McQueen knit dress.  And I realised that it looks all wrong as the proportions don’t work for her body.

Kate’s waist is a few inches above where the blue knit waistband sits, and this gives her a 1:1 ratio of top to bottom, which is less flattering than if it sat at her natural waist (where her waist is slimmest) which would give her a more proportioned appearance.

The way this sits it makes her body look exceedingly long and therefore her legs look shorter. Even though she is very lean and long, it’s far from her best look.

in Marlene Birger

Instead notice in the Marlene Birger dress the waistband sits on her natural waist so the dress is cut into uneven proportions which is far more flattering as her legs look way longer.

So just remember: just because it’s designer, doesn’t mean it’s flattering

Read more about proportions and the Golden Mean ratio


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  • I LOVE that dress and thought “I MUST HAVE IT!” (Not that I could afford it!) But then when I saw the full length view I wondered if it would have even looked good on me. I think I have a similarish build, athletic, primarily a V but add 30 pounds! Ahh, I guess that is why I sew. I am sure I could sew something similar but a top and skirt where the waistband is higher.

    Thanks for the great post. I love posts like this. Very helpful to a sewist who has to be able to look at a pattern illustration and decide if it is worth the money and TIME to even attempt it as it is impossible to try it on before investing.

  • Catherine is the Duchess of Cambridge – it’s her mother-in-law who is the Duchess of Cornwall, and I think Catherine makes any outfit look perfect!

  • I think perhaps it was supposed to be a drop waist dress and because she is so long waisted it hit her in the wrong place (right around the tummy rather than the hips, no?). The clinging knit was also a disadvantage.

  • Thanks so much for posting Imogene! As they say, a picture’s worth a thousand words, and the pictures definitely help me understand proportion better.

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