Fashion is not something that comes naturally to everyone. Indeed, it’s an art that few ever completely master and, by its very nature, it’s constantly changing. However, if you can get to grip with the fundamentals then you might stand a chance of being able to shake off that perpetual hobo chic aesthetic and reach for something a little more classic.
So, what exactly are the fundamental principles of fashion?
This relates to the aspect of the piece that is the focal point – the part of the outfit that draws the attention. This could be anything from an accessory embellishment to the use of colour. A classic example of emphasis in operation would be the shoulder pads favoured by designers in the 1980s. They might seem daft now, but back then it was the height of high fashion. Being able to pinpoint what a designer is trying to emphasise is going to be of significant value when selecting an outfit that is and always will be fashionable.
Some colours work well together and others go, the same can be true of certain features – v-necks and sleeve for example. Balance is all about finding the right combination of colours, styles and accessories to create something that is more than the sum of its parts. Symmetrical balance is, of course, more common, but there is even greater flexibility to be found in asymmetrical designs. These kind of design concepts are, however, more often found in the high fashion world than on the high street.
If balance is about finding the right combination of ideas then proportion is making sure they all sit together properly. Proportional fashion is all about taking the size of the wearer into account. For petite women, for example, large billowy garments can generally be quite overwhelming. For fuller figured women, meanwhile, it can work as long as it’s offset by a supplemental flourish. Proportion also dictates whether or not a garment can be worn comfortably and it’s much easier to feel fashionable and glamorous in an item of clothing is you can actually wear it comfortably.
Finally, there’s a holistic nature at the heart of all great fashion. Everything needs to work well together and look as if it was built to work as one piece rather than separate components. This is perhaps the most difficult aspect to nail down as it involves a lot of trials and error and ensuring that each part of the outfit complements and enhances the whole.
A lot of the effort here comes from sorting ready-to-wear from high fashion. For the former, utility is the most important thing whereas for the former it’s all about the style. There is a middle ground, of course, but that’s for the true fashionistas to discover.
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