Did you know that one of the basics of style and dress is a
keen understanding of body proportions? For both men and women this is a key
principle involved in creating a more powerful visual impact and presence – but
few people really explore this aspect of wardrobe anatomy.
To make them look more aesthetically pleasing, I constantly
apply the proportion rule when assisting image consultation clients who want to
look their best. You can purchase clothes you love, but if you aren’t paying
close attention to how to dress your unique body proportions then you may still
appear out of balance or thrown together – versus ideally proportioned.
The “ideal” body is eight heads tall – although each body is
unique and rarely do we find a person with such ideal proportions. But
understanding how proportion works can dramatically improve your outward
appearance and the usefulness and attractiveness of your wardrobe. Here are a
few things to consider regarding proportion:
- If you have a long torso, you may need to elongate
your legs to appear taller.
- If you have long legs but a short torso, you
need to lengthen the upper torso area.
- Short in the rise? This will affect the style of
pants you need to shop for to visually appear longer in the rise section, be
comfortable, and wear your slacks with ease.
- Does your head appear shorter than the rest of
your body proportions? A new hair style may bring your head area back into
balance with your overall tip-to-toe look.
Whether you are male or female – the proportion rule still applies.
We use this rule in our corporate image consulting practice to help
professionals select the right length of jackets, skirts, and sweaters – plus
high heel heights and trouser styles.
The secret to applying the rule is to understand the way that
horizontal lines work on your body. I’m not talking about horizontal stripes in
a print, but the horizontal lines that are found in the hem of a jacket, skirt,
or dress trouser. This kind of insight explains why there is a real difference between
working with an image consultant versus a personal shopper. Image professionals
always look at real live bodies and discover how to bring the person into visual
balance to their advantage.
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Sarah Hathorn is a professional image
consultant, certified personal brand strategist, speaker, and author.
Her company, Illustra Image Consulting, works
with high-achieving future leaders and large businesses by enhancing their
corporate and personal brand image to take their businesses and careers to the
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Copyright 2010, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS