How Curved Lines Work


Becoming a magician with clothes involves learning the illusion of line.  The slowest line we see is the curved line.  Why?  Well as our eye follows its path, it’s curves slow us down.

Thus, if it’s a slower line to look at, it adds volume and curves to our bodies.

how to use curved lines in your outfitsWhere do we find curves in garments?

  • Necklines
  • Hemlines
  • Jacket collars
  • Draping
  • Gathering
  • Sleeve cuffs
  • Frills
  • Lace
  • PatternsCurved lines in garments and how to use them to create a flattering appearance

Curves create softness and approachability in an outfit or garment.  They are the most feminine line (yin).


Where you'll find curves in clothing


Elements such as texture may create curves.

How to Use Curved Lines in Your Outfits

  • Puffed sleeves will also add volume to shoulders and make them look broader.
  • Gathered necklines will make your bust appear fuller
  • When is a curved hemline good?  When it removes a widening horizontal from your outfit.
  • You can use curved elements to add curves to your body.  These may balance other areas, or add more (if that’s what you’re after).
  • Curves also add that feminine and softer element, taking the severity out of a garment.
  • Frills and gathers add volume – so you can use them to create emphasis on a body part or add more size to balance
  • Many curved details add interest and decoration to your outfit.
  • They create a place for the eye to rest.  So you can use curves to draw attention and highlight an area where you want to place a focal point.

Understanding the illusion of curved lines

In this outfit I’ve used the gathers in the fabric to create more curves which with the addition of the belt gives me the appearance of an hourglass (X shape) figure.

Find Out How Lines Create Illusions

Horiztonal Lines– get my three essential rules

Vertical Lines – see how to use them to look taller and/or slimmer

Diagonal Lines– discover how to move the eye around your body

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  • Thank you so much for another great post Imogen! Having a very curvy figure I have discovered that I look best in clothes with curved lines. Straight lines work against my shape, almost erases it, whereas curved lines will follow and even enhance it. This goes for pattern, cut and details. However, some frills and gathers work wonders, others add unwanted volume, all depending on placing. So you still have to know your body shape in order to make the best choices.

  • What do you think about tops with rounded hi-low hems? It seems like they draw a lot of attention to the derriere and only look good on thin frames. Is there a trick for larger gals to wear them?

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