Here’s another reason there’s no such thing as a simple tee shirt: vertical proportion. The same reason that you never see a good landscape painting in which the horizon divides the canvas into two equal parts is the same reason you can’t dress in a 1:1 ratio. Exact halves are boring. According to The Triumph of Individual Style, the textbook for the image consulting class I took last spring (I introduced you to its author here), we are attracted to proportions that have “enough difference for interest, but not so much that it creates imbalance”.
Instead of 1:1, artists and architects use 2:3 or 3:5. This is known as the Golden Mean. For some of you, this is a very basic concept, but I find it challenging. I’ve been so busy focusing on necklines and buttons that I haven’t paid attention to how I look from top to bottom. So when my image consulting instructor, Carol Davidson, modeled the below example for our class and asked us which looked better, I was the only one in the class to choose the look on the left.
I began thinking about this concept again after wearing my new green tee shirt that I wrote about on Monday. It isn’t a petite, but is it really too long proportionally? This led me to question the Bermuda shorts I’ve been wearing all summer, which has led to the photo below (I’m wearing the aqua version of the tee shirt).
Are the proportions of shorts to top 1:1, or closer to 1:2, which is more appealing (and easier to figure out than 3:5)?
Before I make anymore significant clothing investments, I need to understand how this concept works. So I’ve been studying the sections of The Triumph of Individual Style that I skipped last spring. Step 1 involved measuring my head and seeing how many head lengths the rest of my body is. I’ll write more about this next week. For me, the challenge will be combining this new knowledge with everything I already know (or think I know) about dressing the large bust.
In the meantime, check out this explanation and this Dutchess Catherine example from Imogen Lamport, an expert on the subject. And for more fun with proportions, take a look at Already Pretty’s recent post on Proportion Play.
Hi, I just recently found your blog and I’d love to see more examples of proportion and the large bust. As a 36JJ, I find it extremely hard to play with proportions. I always thought I had longer legs compared to my torso, but the truth is my torso is actually longer than my legs. I’ve been measured and it’s confirmed but my boobs take up so much real estate on the torso that it appears the other way around. I can’t wear a tucked in shirt or anything high waisted as I will just look like all boobs and legs. Long shirts don’t seem to help either. Add to the above mix that I am only 5’1″ and I’m just impossible to dress! Also, as I am nearing 50, my waist has diminished too! Somedays I think a black cloak may work best!!!
Well, I’m now going to check out the links you provided.
Thanks for commenting! I wish I were already an expert on this subject, but this is going to be a learning process for me. I would love to hear more from you as you experiment with this concept because after taking my measurements (top of head to chin, chin to waist, waist to crotch, crotch to soles), I realize that this is going to be a different experience for every single woman. But let’s see if we can find some common principles. The Triumph of Individual Styles has some recommendations for the full bust that I will try and share here, but right now it feels very piecemeal to me. I want to see how it fits into the big picture.