Scale is one of the most important elements to consider when thinking about dressing your body and personality. It’s one of the tools we have to create optical illusion, we can use it to make ourselves or parts of ourselves appear larger or smaller (or just as we are), depending what we want to achieve.
It’s the Ebbinghaus illusion – neither bright blue circle in the illustration above is larger – they are the same size. But the one on the left appears smaller because of the larger navy circles around it, whilst the one on the right appears larger because of the small navy circles surrounding it.
When you translate this to your body, and it’s parts, you can use it to make yourself look smaller (e.g. carry a large handbag, like many celebrities do), or a part of you look smaller (wear large scale jewellery as I have done to make my bust look smaller), or to look larger (wear a narrow lapel to make your head appear larger or more balanced to your body).
Scale is used to create balance, from your feet to your head, you can play with the scale of items to use it’s optical effect to change how an area appears.
Think about your feet and lower legs. For your overall build, are they slim, average or larger?
What about your overall body size? The scale of patterns is something that it influences (as well as the size of your handbag).
Think about all your features. Notice what is larger or smaller proportionally than you are as a whole. Then use this concept to work with your unique body. For example, if you have larger facial features, then wear larger scale jewellery near your face. If you have tiny hands, wear smaller scale jewellery on your wrists and hands. Large bust, large jewellery, or small bust, smaller jewellery.
Stick to these rules, unless of course, your personality speaks differently!
Of course, you can also use scale to play up your personality. If you have a bold streak, then you will want to wear larger scale accessories and details than someone who likes to blend into the crowd.
Rachel Zoe is an example of someone who plays with scale based on personality. Here in this picture above the collar and lapel of the jacket completely overwhelm her tiny frame, but she wears it because it’s a personality statement.
The tip with scale, is when in doubt, go medium scale, but consider how the scale of all the elements of your body fit together, and how you can play with scale to upsize or downsize them.
Here are some other posts on scale