Texture in fabrics is something I’ve talked about in my post T is for Texture as well as How to Choose a Flattering Texture. Today I want to share two outfits that I’ve worn recently. One includes textured garments, the other outfit has only smooth fabrics and I’m going to reveal why each works based on my hairstyle of the day.
As most of you are aware, I mostly wear my hair smooth (that’s the Classic element of my personality coming out). I feel messy when it’s not smooth. Most of my clothes are also smooth (and may even have an element of sheen which matches my face which tends to be on the shiny side).
I love the contrast between the pink and navy (it’s a little Dramatic) and repeating the shoe colour in the top and necklace means that I’ve got that important visual grouping happening.
Now my hair is actually wavy naturally (well more kinky than wavy), and occasionally I wear it washed and then left to dry naturally (though it always makes me feel a bit messy – that’s that Classic part of my personality as I mentioned before).
When I’m wearing my wavy, textured natural hair, then I know I need to wear some texture in my outfit as otherwise I really will just look messy or sloppy.
Here I’ve got a little frill on my boots, a spotted textured jacket, and a burnout silk velvet scarf with a wavy fringe that replicates and harmonises well with my wavy, textured hair.
The smooth fabric of my harem pants works with my smooth, slightly shiny skin (and they are super comfortable which work with the Relaxed and Creative elements of my Personality Style).
The frill on the boots makes them more Feminine which adds an important element of my personality style to the overall outfit.
Changing your hairstyle can change the fabric textures that harmonise with it. It’s something to consider when choosing clothes and looking for the harmony that will really make you shine. This is something I go into more depth in 7 Steps to Style too.
So tell me, is your hair smooth or textured? Do you prefer smooth or textured fabrics?
Interesting. I’ve always intuitively followed this rule, without ever knowing about it!
My hair is naturally poker-straight and will not hold a curl for more than a few minutes – no matter what gadgets or products I use. I’ve always HATED frilly, lacy or “fussy” clothes, even as a child and have always preferred, smooth straight lines. Now I know why 🙂
The mystery revealed!
Judith, you could be writing for me! Same hair, sane preference for soft, smooth and non fussy clothes. Too much texture or frill looks and feels very odd.
Oh, daunting! Sadly, I love all textures, from lacy to satiny. But I have thick, curly/frizzy hair, and newly appearing “dents” in my skin as it starts to sag, and I’ve been wondering whether smooth fabrics woukd give an illusion of smoothness and textured fabrics over emphasize my own (unwanted) textures.
I have always been a fiend for lace and embroidery and textured sweaters.
You don’t think there is a chance of emphasizing flaws by echoing them? It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot. I caught the dreaded surprise reflection of myself wesring a textured sweater the other day and got the impression I looked lumpier and frizzier. But maybe I would have had the same impression if I were wearing something smooth. Confusing!
Absolutely not – wearing texture will not emphasize the texture in your hair and skin. It will look balanced. Maybe the sweater was just lumpy itself! There is a balance between overdoing the texture (remember that chunky textures make you look chunky) and fine textures (like lace) which are fine!
Gosh, you think that is messy? To me, you look beautiful–youthful, vibrant, sexy, soft, creative! It makes me wonder what you would think of me, going around with unruly wavy/curly below-shoulder-length hair in a combo of faded auburn and gray?
I know from reading many of your posts that you’d probably say it comes down to personality. (Still, I just love your hair that way!) I take your point that I should be paying attention to texture in my clothing choices. Unlike the previous commenter, I don’t have a knack for instinctively choosing what’s right for me.
I don’t think other people look messy with wavy or hair – but for me, on me, I feel messy! And yes it is a personality thing.
What an interesting concept. My hair is naturally straight however (unlike you) I don’t look that good in materials with a sheen. I remember though, a while back, you had a post – or was it a video with Jill? – talking about textured skin. My skin is freckled, so maybe this overrides the texture of my hair, especially as I wear it short?
Short hair (even if smooth) tends to look more textured than longer straight hair. Shiny skin suits fabrics with sheen, but if you are matte, then avoid them. Patterned skin works well with either texture or pattern in garments.
Now I’m concerned that I look messy or sloppy everywhere I go. Can certain patterns act as a substitute for texture to counteract wilder hair? I’m thinking of a scarf I have–a fine wool with just a tiny fringe, but the pattern is abstract and picks up my hair and eye colors. I’ve been going over my wardrobe in my mind since I read this earlier today, and I don’t think I have much texture in my clothes. I’ll be on the lookout for something to add. Would necklaces count as texture?
I have textured hair and I had the same questions as Sylvie. I have few textured clothes, but I do wear patterns, and textured necklaces. Is this enough? Or should I start looking for textured tops when I shop?
You can stick to what you have or try adding in some more textured fabrics. Just remember a tweed is a texture – it doesn’t have to be really chunky or a large texture.
Sylvie – Yes some patterns have the look for texture. Necklaces as long as they are not smooth can add texture.
How do you make your hair so straight and shiny? I have very similar hair to your natural hair, wavy and somewhat curly and with fizz. I use a curling iron and just recently added some additional hair product (fizz control gel) to straighten the hair, but the hair still has curls most of the day.
I have fine hair so it’s not hard to blow dry it straight with a little smoothing product. I don’t have a strong curl in my hair.
My hair is naturally wavy — not unlike yours, actually — and I scrunch extra curl into it for all it’s worth. It must be my personality coming through, as I feel limp, lifeless and restrained when it’s straightened. If my stylist straightens it, (usually to showcase fresh colour) I receive all kinds of compliments and my friends say I should wear it like that more often. It actually looks pretty; I just can’t stand the way it makes me feel inside. It won’t be a surprise to hear that Classic is one of the lowest scores among my lowest elements!
Merritt, I love my wavy hair. Same as you though, whenever the hairdresser straightens it I get lots of compliments but I just don’t feel like me. I always go back to natural wavy!
Mine is more curly, but when I was a kid it was pin straight. At puberty it started to curl up, gradually over several years. This was the early 2000’s when long, shiny straight hair was a “requirement” so I hated it. Eventually I grew to like it (and learn how to properly take care of it)– now I have had a few grays coming in and they have less curl. I am going to be so sad if my curls go away as I go gray because it also feels lifeless to me without! I have never actually straightened it, but when I was in China I had a shampoo/head massage and they used a brush and blow dryer to make it semi-straight (for about half an hour). It didn’t feel like me at all!
Yes, I can relate. Straight hair definitely does not feel like me. I have natural med-size spiral curls which I usually wear long. I have taken the effort to straighten my hair, but my hair is so fine that it looks flat and boring, and after a few hours starts to wave anyway, no matter what product I put in it. I like the volume of my curly hair and feel beautiful in it.
I am loving the natural hair on you Imogen! Great tips too.
This is really interesting:) I tend to be the opposite. I wear my naturally wavy hair smooth and wear a lot of textured garments. It’s partly due to my preference to wear black most of the time and the belief that textured black keeps things interesting and not too ‘flat’, but also because I enjoy the contrast of a smooth groomed look against a less ‘smooth’ look for lack of a better word. When I imagine wearing my hair au naturel, I always envisage very clean, smooth minimal clothing to kind of ‘subdue’ the hair. I don’t disagree with you as I think youe examples above look fabulous. Maybe I’m just a rebel lol?
Black can be bland an dull without something like some texture to add interest. Texture on black can actually help to reflect a little light (remember that black is the absorption of all light) so it takes the black from being flat to having some life). Are your textures chunky or finer?
Come to think of the New Zeeland author
Janet Frame, – picture: http://www.thearts.co.nz/sites/default/files/styles/teaser/public/images/artists/images/frame_flash1_0.jpg?itok=NChxKFZw
Here, in her older days, she has very frizzy hair.
Have read most of her charming novels.
Saw a film about her in TV, where the woman starring Janet,
has the frizziest hair I’ve ever seen, a huge mass of
blonde red strains weaved together into some kind of cloud.
I’ts absolutely fascinating.
Question to you, Imogen: would you consider posting
a subject on what kind of texture a lady with this
kind of hair should wear?
Some sort of fabric with texture or a pattern such as marle
I had to leave my hair untinted because of health issues, and even as I like it straight and neat, I had to leave it with its natural waves (sort of your waves, actually, but mine are messier and undefined. and I am wearing a layered haircut because I needed to take off all the tinted hair ends) because heat makes the white hair yellowish and this is not nice, so I cannot use heat for styling. I was wondering about color issues and not only texture. Wish you wrote a post about this (maybe you did it already and I haven´t found it). Other than that you are so gorgeous that hair looks amazing whichever way you wear it. By the way, I am from Argentina and a big fan of your posts.
I have slightly wavy hair and do not dry it straight. I love texture in my clothing and actively avoid sheen or sparkle. I am also not a romantic personality type so I do not have lace, ruffles or frills on anything. I prefer simple classic shapes but made from textured fabrics, I particularly like fine corduroy trousers for casual wear, suiting which has several colours woven into a fabric and marl jersey.
I have naturally curly hair and am small framed. I find that the texture in my hair is as much detail as I can carry without looking frumpy and overdressed. If I add anything else too textured or heavily patterned, my frame feels totally swamped! I feel my best in a very flat top with a necklace or earrings. My hair is like an accessory in itself.
I have a very short, very curly afro. I guess I’m an anomaly as about 85% of my clothes are smooth. I have patterned, but the fabrics are smooth. I’m very neatly and professionally groomed, but as I’ve stated, I’m an anomaly.
I would guess that the patterns act like texture!
Love your work!
I have naturally curly hair that I do not straighten. Inspired by your post on the wardrobe of Miss Phryne Fisher, as well as this post on hair texture and fabrics, I see a need to add texture to my wardrobe and I am thinking about a furry vest or stole.
My question though is: Would a furry vest or stole draw attention to a ‘furry’ face? If chunky textures make you look chunky, do furry textures make you look furry or furrier?
A furry texture won’t make your face look furry (a very smooth like satin texture would make a furry face look furry)
Can you give me some examples of textured Fabrics?
I know lace and embroidery, but what else?
Boucle, boiled wool, cable knit and other chunky knits, smocking – really anything that is bumpy in some way rather than being smooth.
My hair switches between mostly straight to so wavy a hair dresser at an upscale salon asked if I use the “curly girl” method. I wear my hair natural or put it in curls — but not tight curls. I don’t like the stiffness hair spray can create — a crunchiness. I have never straightened. My hair is generally soft and fluffy — definitely not curly and I can avoid the bit of frizz just by getting layers.
I have been told I look best in very low texture, aside from delicate lace (not crochet), eyelet, and very soft things like velvet, angora, mohair, eyelash, fluffy knits, chiffon, etc.
My skin has a light touch of freckling, often not visible with make up and you are up close). My skin is more matte due to dryness, but I use a lot of good skin products and use make up that gives usually a more dewy finish. I think this helps me to wear satins and silks easier. I do love ruffles, but smaller ones. This all seems consistent with my body and hair texture.
Great reflections! Thanks for posting!
This is so interesting! I cannot remember having read about this concept anywhere before, but to me it perfectely makes sense and your photos illustrate it in an absolutely convincing way!
I have naturally straight hair and shiny skin and all my garments that I love because they feel „right“ and make me feel confident are actually smooth.
I have no dislike for textured fabrics, I think they are beautiful, but I somehow instinctively stopped buying and wearing them about ten years ago, When I stopped bleaching my hair (I guess, until then the coarser and less shiny structure of my then badly damaged hair made textures work for me to a certain extent.).
The last exception was a long cardigan I bought almost two years ago during my last pregnancy. It had the right colour and the right length to go with my maternity dresses and it was solid coloured, fine-knit and had a light sheen, which also appealed to me, but the waterfall-front and the asymmetric hemline with the knit-in ribs always made me feel somehow silly and inappropriately clad. Now I know why and can fully and consciously embrace a smooth and straight style. Thank you!
Your styling tips are very helpful. I can’t really call them tips, your website is a huge styling resource. Thank you.
Thanks Tayseer! Glad you’re finding some useful information here!
Wow, I almost do the opposite of this! For me, since my naturally curly hair has so much texture, I feel like I can only wear it down with outfits that have simpler texture and pattern. And then when I wear tops with more texture and pattern I feel like having my hair down is too overwhelming and I put it up (I don’t straighten my hair, so up or down are my two options). For me, it’s more of a balance thing rather than matching.