More on Identifying Yin and Yang in Clothing Design


Yin and Yang of Geometric patterns


Following on from Ways to Balance Your Yin and Yang, here you can see how the lower the contrast and smaller the print, the less advancing, or softer it looks, so thus is more yin in appearance.  The higher the contrast, the bolder or larger the pattern, the more advancing it appears, thus is more yang.
Yin and yang of jackets

Here you can see with these navy jackets, how the change of fabric from stiff (more yang) to fluid (more yin) gives each a different feel. The far right navy jacket is much more powerful and strong, whilst the far left navy jacket is soft and approachable.

Again with the grey and black jackets, the softer the fabric the more yin the appearance (much more approachable and friendly) whilst the harder the fabric, the darker the fabric the more yang and less friendly the appearance.

So when you choosing what to wear, consider your personality – are you more naturally yin or yang.  Then, how do you want to be perceived?  Do you want to appear more approachable?  Then wear clothing that has more yin elements (particularly if you are more naturally yang, you will need to soften down your appearance).  If you want to be seen as more authoritative, then go for clothing fabrics, patterns, colours and elements that are more yang, particularly if you’re more naturally yin and find it hard to convey authority.


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  • Loving this Yin and Yang series.. I’m a Yang personality and love Yang clothing…. The series is making me think about my image and how to dress more Yin, especially when I’m not at work..

  • This examples made it easier to see why I like some styles more than others, rather than the list of elements. I didnt understood some of them (like the difference between natural, ordered and styled pattern. they look the same to me. >.<)
    Its seems like when looking at this example, Im a even mixure of both of them, like I dont all elements of yin,, despite its what I prefer most, but I draw towards the structure of yang (hate long or drapery jackets! they dont mesh well with my tiny 23½" waist) but I prefer the soft colors, fabric and print of yin, but like both low and high contrast depending on my mood.
    Is there such as thing as clothing that are in the middle between yin and yan? Im thinking of the classics, like classic button-down cardigans and indigo bootcut jeans or are some of them more yin or yang than others (because they are the building blocks in all of my outfits)?

    But something I will has problem with is personality and how you are perceiving by others, because my personality and personal style dont and ever will match so I guess there is no point bothering about that part. Afterall people will still jugde you based on other aspects such as cutural- & relgious believes and sterotypes whether you want it or not, but something made me relalize, isnt that their problem, rather than what you choose to wear anyways.
    I often come off as TOO approachable (or people treat me as "she will do anything"") because of my personality (treat strangers the same as not-so-close friends – "dumb honnesty"), not because Im wearing girly colors (I can wear jeans and tee and people would still treat me the same way…but somwhere, Im wondering if thats because of the stereotypes = "blonde (e.g. scandinvians) are dumber than brunettes" -_-'!). So I decided, not to bother anymore. I know its on my own account whether to adapt to your surrounding, but Ive never been that type of person who get along with people who misjudge you based on your clothes anyway (but I do dress after the occasions, I wont exactly wearing neon colors at funerals or mini skirts to interviews, but thats a complete different story than prejudicements! xD)! 😛 Hmmm… No wonder I was so crazy in goth and alternative clothing when I was a teenager, because that stye went with my personality but now, I gone tired of those style — too fuzzy/non-classic! 😀

    • Lina – absolutely there are many items that are a mix of yin and yang elements. It could be a jacket made out of of jersey rather than a stiffer woven fabric. There are just so many things that can make a garment that is more yang into equally yang and yin, the fabric, pattern etc. Glad the pics help!

  • love this Yin-Yang series! they are very useful to understand what people see and how you appear to them… thank you Imogen!

  • Love this post! Most of the items in my wardrobe fall on the yang side and coupled with my yang appearance I can see why some people think I’m a bit cold & serious till they get to know me. Can’t wait to play with this a bit. Thanks Imogen!! Do you go into more detail on this topic in your 7 steps to style system?

  • I’m loving this series too – so much so that I was inspired to write a post myself, with a link to your first post in it. Hope that’s ok! I was particularly interested in the yin and yang of jackets, as every time I’ve tried one on that is more structured I’ve decided that it doesn’t suit me. My most recent purchase was a striped navy blazer, however the contrast is low and I would guess that it’s somewhere in the middle when it comes to yin and yang.

  • Very interesting series. I have friends who complain that they can’t get service from waiters or flight crew if they are on their own and there are times that it is important to be able to be taken seriously e.g seeing financial advisors, getting good treatment for a relative in hospital where everyone is overworked etc.
    The old school way of dressing for these occasions was to be formal and tailored. Now this way of dressing has disappeared, we still seem to need to be able to convey authority and seriousness through our appearance on some occasions.
    My suggestion is Yang clothing with some Ying accessories eg. the classic striped shirt with pearls. However some people can carry off a boho Ying look and still be taken seriously – a creative friend of mine turned up for lunch at a formal club in pink ugh boots and a pink top and carried it off with aplomb.

  • Enjoying this Yin & Yang series Imogen. So far, in almost every instance, I fall right in the middle of the spectrum with clothing I already own. Interesting…

  • Thanks Imogen, this was a very interesting analysis of different styles and the qualities that create them. I have never heard of the Yin and Yang style guide but find it very useful. I’m sure I’ll be using this when i go shopping next.

    I always wore a more “Yang” style when i was younger, structured, tailored, also figure highlighting with high contrast colours. But as i grow older and my style changes with my personality i found i have more of a Yin style. I have altered my style considerably when i look back at the clothes i once wore. This may also be just growing up, but maybe this is because I a more comfortable in my appearance. Due to my work and study I want to be seen as more approachable. I found that, how I dressed can change how people first perceive me and though i do not care what people think of what I am wearing, in a work environment i think this is very important. Especially since i work in PR.

    Imogen, mixing and matching or joining the yin and yang, is there tips and tricks for this? Should it be half half. Structured pants with a flowing top and vice versa. Is this where the yin and yang is created?



    • Karley, If you have a more yang personality, then you may need to wear more yin in your clothing (it could be structured with flowy, or light colour or feminine pattern etc), if you are more naturally yin, but want to appear balance, then a more yang set of elements may be required. There are just so many ways of doing this – and which you choose will be a personal decision based on your comfort levels and personality.

  • Who are the people dead in the centre. I prefer those ones? The severe right is too Yang. The severe left is too soft and droopy for me. I am in the middle with all these pictures.
    Who then is that?
    I cannot wear long droopy skirts and long line tops and jackets, because I am only 5’2″ but they also feel so droopy and saggy to me.
    I used to wear more yang but found it made me look boxy after a bit of middle aged weight came on (without warning). So, I am more central now.
    Who is that? Ms YinYang?

    • Personality comes into this and some of us like structure, and some like softness. Some of us are naturally more balanced, some of us more yin or yang. There is no right or wrong.

  • The way you have explained the concept of Yin & Yang is amazing Imogen. Very interesting series. Thank you.

  • Thanks so much to explain simply the difference between feminine (yin) and masculine (yang). I knew confusely that a stiff leather jacket didn’t fit me well. But I could not understand why. Now, thanks to you, I know. Same with striped t-shirt or blouse. Simply put: I don’t like them… Have a great day.

  • Hi Imogen, it would be TRULY informative if you could list Yin and tangy fabrics / materials

    Ie wool leather silk cotton denim linen and which you think are masculine and feminine! Thank you!

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