Principles of Co-ordination – Related Shape


Today in this video I’m taking you through the principle of co-ordination that is called Related Shapes.  This is where the shapes of the elements of garments and accessories need to work together in harmony.  It’s particularly useful when choosing accessories and you can see in this post about choosing necklaces how it works in action.

related shapes

Here are some other examples where shapes are related or unrelated – see how they do and don’t work.

related unrelated shapes


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  • How interesting! Particularly that bit about the shape of necklines needing necklaces to fall in similar curves or shapes. I’m curious to see in my wardrobe whether I’ve been intuitively matching jewelry up that way without even realizing it.

    Do you suppose purposely mixing shapes can liven up a look? Or is the end result always without harmony?

  • Do I understand it right – that it is always better if the shapes are related? So, designers don’t always look after the related shapes, do they?

    What’s the difference between related shapes and lines – isn’t that similar?

    What’s the different effect of a curved and a straight hem in a blazer?

    • Lee – yes sadly some designers ignore these principles and their garments often look just a bit ‘off’. Related shapes and Related lines are related! One is about the overall lines in the garments, the other about the shapes elements of the garments create, or when you are relating two pieces together.

      A curved hem in a blazer, if very curved can add weight to your hips (think Round adds Pounds) as curved lines add the appearance of volume (this is why a frilled neckline on a blouse will make a bust look larger).

  • Surely the shapes we wear must relate to our own personal features?! You’ve already told me that I am mixed, cos i have curved lips, rounder eyes and nose, but angular eyebrows and hairline with a pointy chin, which means that in necklaces I should look for a piece that has elements of both curvy and angular. Shouldn’t this mean that logically, in blazers and other clothes, I should actually look for unrelated shapes?!

    • Yes you should look for details that suit your combination features – but related shapes is also about design features and overall relationships. For example you can wear a heart shaped necklace which has both curves and angles, with a jacket that has all the shapes relating. When you are combination I prefer to soft straight line, rather than lots of angles or really curved features on garments. You could wear a floral pattern that has straighter shapes and curved shapes, or a skirt with a pattern that is spots that are lined up in straight lines. Related shapes doesn’t rule out combination features, it’s just an element of good design (and sadly as you can see from the pictures I found that there is lots of not so great design out in stores).

  • Thank you for another great video. This type of content is very helpful and I will be mindful to watch for these details to further polish my style.

  • I found this an interesting post, especially matching toe shape on shoe to other lines in clothing. I think straight lines and pointy lapels look best on my angular features and just realised I don’t go for round toes on shoes as i think they make my feet look short and fat. Now I see that they don’t relate in shape either. Good post Imogen.

  • Your website is absolutely wonderful! Thank you so much for your fabulous advice. You should write a book! I do have an observation though – see a lot of people wearing a vee-neck top paired with an unbuttoned crew-neck cardigan, even on ‘style’ tv shows. This seems wrong. I presume the same rules on related shape apply here also.

    • I would in general agree with you – if it’s a wide curved V a crew cardigan can work, but if it’s a sharper V then they don’t work so well together!

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