Following on from last weeks video on how to measure your body proportions. Here is a short video that shows you a couple of ways to use the Golden Mean (golden ratio, Fibonacci series) to dress in a proportioned manner that is flattering.
The golden mean is a ratio that appears in nature and we find aesthetically pleasing. It’s used in many industries, not just in getting dressed. I’ve written a little about it before here.
Do you find when you look at your favourite outfits that they are related to one of the golden mean ratios?
Thanks so very much for these videos. I had measured myself before using your written instructions but got confused somewhere along the line. I’m definitely short waisted, pretty much balanced (31″ to leg break, 32 to the floor), slightly long from chin to midbust. After reading your posts I’ve moved from buying dainty jewelry (that old saw that dictates petites should wear dainty jewelry!) to bolder necklaces because I have a large bust.
I’m trying to follow the golden mean but find that a top that works with long pants doesn’t work with city shorts–it becomes 1:1. I hate to buy outfits that can’t be mixed and matched. Is there a trick to that? And your advice for short-waist, balanced figures suggest lower rise in pants–but with a pudgy tummy, I find these become real hiphuggers as they slide down a bit and the muffin top spills out.
Robin – try to do a column of colour with your city shorts so you don’t need to worry about the proportions of top to bottom. Whatever the colour of them, look for a colour with a similar value (lightness or darkness) so there isn’t an obvious horizontal line created between the top and bottom.
When I say lower rise – I”m talking mid-rise not low low rise so there isn’t muffin top! Also, if you’re wearing your top over your bottom, it doesn’t really matter if you have a high rise if you can’t see the top of the pants, but if you tuck it does make a difference to your proportions.
Big thanks for explaining how important proportions are in dressing – I never thought of it this way. It makes sense now, why the outfits I thought would look fabulous didn’t, why that long long skirt looks fabulous with a short shirt, but not so much with long-sleeved blouse…
I also always wore skirts very low on my hips, as finding a skirt that fits both my hips and my waist is almost impossible. Now I know why it didn’t look half as good as it should in my opinion, and won’t be buying anything that doesn’t really fit me.
Marta – you may have to get your clothes altered as it sounds like your waist is narrower and most manufacturers aren’t actually sewing their clothes for your shape.
Imogen I really enjoy your blog and am so happy that your sweet dog is home with you again. I know I’m late in commenting but I found this entry on proportions and an earlier on one contrasts particularly intriguing. They help to explain why an outfit that I have arranged on a hanger looks great, but then doesn’t look so great on. Your recommendation to use a column of colour will be really useful as a I am a petite I shape so my tops and knee length shorts or skirts often end up in an unflattering 1:1 proportion. I can usually help the proportion by leaving the top untucked, but that only works over a very smooth bottom layer. I can up the contrast of the column of colour with my accessories.
Thanks Roxanne. Yes being petite makes it harder to get proportions right as generally you have much shorter legs.
Interesting… I knew about this from art classes, but never had applied it to dressing. I am very short waisted and very long legged when I measure, but it seems I may be lucky in that my waist falls at 3 and then I am 5 parts leg. 2 shoulder to waist, 1 waist to hip and then 4 parts leg…. So my natural proportions favour the golden mean.
LIsa – you are one of the lucky ones!
Don’t the legs come into this too though? So a 1:1 in your clothes if wearing a skirt and top would be ok if there was another equal proportion in the leg length, especially if wearing tights that tone with the skirt? So over the whole body it would still be 1:2.
Yes – if the tights tone with the skirt and the colour creates the proportion. You can work with 1/3rds, just avoid 1/2s
Imogen, I am a lifelong learner and am enjoying your fantastic information about proportions, the golden mean in dressing, and yin and yang pairings. I feel like I am in college. Thanks so much, you are such a clear teacher.
I am a mathematician who has studied the Fibonacci sequence for years. unfortunately, the math does not match your guide lines. The Golden ratio each new number equaling the combination of the two previous numbers applies only to the waistline measurement. The only solution that I have found to be accurate in relationship to having your clothing in balance with your bone structure is the Fashion Fit Formula. That formula is a complex bilinear deviant regression. Check it out,
I have checked it out and I can tell you that the measurements it comes up with are basically exactly what I use here!