Have you ever considered Yin and Yang (or Receding and Advancing) in relation to your clothes? I first read about this concept in Judith Rasband’s Wardrobe Strategies for Women, and realised that it relates to all personality style and why each style communicates in the way it does.
It’s a powerful tool to help you understand what your clothes are communicating. You can use these concepts to help you:
- Create harmony with your personality.
- Create balance with your physical appearance
- Communicate a message with no words.
In this first post (I can feel a series coming on), I’ll show you how to interpret the yin and yang of clothing and design (though you’re already reading it, you just didn’t realise).
Yin (Receding) Elements of Clothing
- Curved lines
- Broken lines
- Thin lines
- horizontal lines
- Curved shapes
- Small shapes
- Low contrast colour combinations
- Muted/smoky colours
- Soft textures
- lightweight fabrics
- Thin fabrics
- Matt fabrics
- Sheer fabrics
- Natural flowing patterns
- Dense all-over patterns
Yang (Advancing) Elements of Clothing
- Straight lines
- Solid lines
- Thick lines
- Vertical lines
- Angled Shapes
- Large shapes
- Bright colours
- High contrast colour combinations
- Crisp fabrics
- Heavyweight fabrics
- Geometric prints
- Abstract prints
- Large scale prints
- Repeating patterns
- Thick fabrics
- Shiny fabrics
- Opaque fabrics
When you consider these elements, you can start to see how much our clothing is communicating without us realizing.
As you can see from these few pictures, Yin elements are softer and less dominating, while Yang elements are strong and draw attention.
When thinking about how these elements communicate. The Ying elements are better to communicate that you are:
The Yang elements communicate that you are:
Of course there are many garments that have a balance of Yin and Yang elements.
Here for example, are two similar shift dresses, yet they communicate very differently.
If you worked in a corporate environment, which would you wear to work? The dress on the right – right! You didn’t even need to think about it – but here is why:
The one on the right will help you present a more business-like appearance, that dark serious colour with a high contrast pattern, the straighter, less feminine shape and the ordered patern (says you have an ordered mind). The one on the left will make you appear warm and nurturing, informal and gentle but lacking in business expertise and you wouldn’t be taken as seriously because it is lighter in colour with a lower contrast with a natural pattern and those extra curves in the structure of the dress highlight your femininity.
Further Reading on Yin and Yang