If you’ve been reading this blog for more than a nanosecond, you’ll know that I truly believe that personality is the most important factor when choosing clothes and accessories.
I listed 10 ways personality is more important than body shape here.
And you may be aware (but if you’re new, maybe not) that body shape, is just one small element of the style puzzle (find out about them all here, and download my guide).
“But then why all the rules and guidance Imogen?” you ask? If it all doesn’t matter if personality is the most important factor?
The answer, I believe, is to be a true artist, you need to understand your rules, then you can easily break them. When you know what does and doesn’t work for you within your rules, you will be breaking any rules knowing the outcome, rather than, as many of us do, looking back at photos and wondering “what on earth was I thinking?”.
So let’s look at an important factor of dressing which is scale.
Scale is one of your optical illusion tools in your magicians dressing toolkit (well that’s how I like to think about it). See how it works here, then come back and read on.
So when we want to make a body part or feature either appear larger, smaller, or the size it is, we can use the optical illusion of scale to increase or decrease the apparent size (this is why large scale necklaces make your bust look smaller).
On top of these scale rules, we also need to add in our personality. It’s a factor that can never be ignored in the search for our style.
For example, you may look at the two skirts or jackets pictured above and realise that you’d choose one over the other. This will most likely come down to your personality style.
Personality Styles that Stick to Their Scale Rules
There are some personalities that like to work within their set of rules. It makes them feel calm, peaceful and happy. They like to feel that what they are doing is right for them. These personality styles relate to the Classic, Relaxed and Feminine personalities (find out lots more and discover what you are in my 7 Steps to Style program).
These rule keepers like to work within their scale, and will upscale when necessary to create balance in their appearance, but they will upscale by using many smaller or medium elements to take up more space – to give the illusion of larger scale, whilst still keeping a more delicate appearance.
- The Classic personality will go for medium scale on the whole.
- The Relaxed personality will also work with a medium scale most of the time.
- The Feminine personality is more likely to go for smaller scale more delicate elements
Personality Styles that Break Their Scale Rules
Now, we also have the rule breakers. These tend to fit within the Dramatic, Creative and Rebellious personality styles. They will go outside their rules when the feature or detail is an expression of who they are, their inner core expressed through their outer layers.
- The Dramatic personality will go for one large or overscale element – a pattern, a feature or accessory. Bold is the word that always springs to mind for me.
- The Creative personality will create overscale when it’s representative of their inner creativity. They are more likely to scale up with multiple smaller elements than go for one big bold piece or feature.
- The Rebellious personality may overscale when the item exudes and “I don’t care what you think” feel. It’s all about not complying with the rules.
As we are all a combination of personality styles (we may have some rule stickiness and rule breaker within us, we complex beings!), then you may find that different parts of you will want to work within and outside of your rules to express who you are.
For example, here is a creative way to upscale jewellery – by pairing two more medium scale pieces (made from multiple elements) together to create one larger scale detail.
This is a more feminine way of layering necklaces. They are small scale beads layered, but still not going past medium scale in total.
Here is my guide on how to upscale your jewellery without overwhelming your features.
What scale of jewellery and details do you like to wear?
I used to gravitate to teeny weeny delicate necklaces, but being (a) busty and (b) a reader of your blog, I have come to appreciate delicate necklaces that take up more visual space, e.g. ‘pearls’-and-sparkles-spaced-out-on-three-wire-loops necklaces. Love ’em!
Excellent! I love that you appreciate a larger scale which harmonises with your assets!
I’m only 5’2″, and I’m a mix of feminine/classic/creative (depending on my mood!). I don’t really do anything large-scale, unless you count scarves (but even those aren’t bold).
I love the advice about “see-through” jewelry, because it allows me to wear medium pieces that would otherwise look too large on me, and it helps to balance my bustline. I love filagree, and the “beads on a wire” look is one I love, too.
The one place I do tend towards larger scale is with earrings. I have a relatively long neck, so I can get away with larger earrings to fill in that space if I’m feeling particularly attention-getting. Still, all of my larger earrings are less than 2″ long, and most are see-through and very feminine or classic (chandeliers, filagree, Middle Eastern-inspired, hoops), which keeps them from overwhelming me. A few years ago, before reading your blog, all I wore were small, feminine earrings. I feel more “myself” now!
And for anyone who needs direction with earrings, do read Imogen’s post about choosing earrings based on your face shape. I haven’t had a bad earring purchase since! Thanks, Imogen!
Thanks Pamela – I love that you are feeling like you now!
I prefer larger earrings and I partly attribute it to my prominent nose and long neck. Also, more dramatic and rebellious sides of my personality go for both earrings and necklace, scarf. Somehow, my portrait area without them looks empty and I almost feel naked…
Yes larger facial features cry out for larger scale jewellery. No reason not to wear it all at once if it suits your personality!