Archive for the ‘reflections’ Category

Silhouette System

The premise of this makeover is based around the concept that by creating coherent silhouettes, one can solidify and control one’s image to a specific set of flattering ‘looks’ that keep a person (namely me) from putting pieces of clothing together that do nothing, whatsoever, for each other (for example, wearing palazzo pants with long blouses).

At the present time of writing, I have devised four separate silhouettes. Some are quite simple and readily recognizable. Silhouette A is an a-line silhouette, relying on high-rise bohemian ‘maxi’ skirts, and gaucho & palazzo trousers paired with structured, fitted tops. Look at any collection of vintage patterns (and at Vogue patterns, in particular) to see this ‘look’ of full display. Likewise, Silhouette C, which pairs big billowy shirts and mini-dresses with big shoes and fitted pants, has been an absolute staple of modern couture.

But being me, the other two silhouettes fare into distinctly different territories. One is completely devoted to creating a workable look for pantaloons and long artsy vests. The other takes takes fairly routine women’s business suiting and explores the subtle application of corsets, bodices, fancy hats, and mild-mannered steampunk elements, resulting in a subdued, professional, edgy look that I have neither seen nor put to use, before.

Silhouette-oriented makeovers suit my purposes because they control style, which is less a matter of what clothes one wears and more a matter of how they are put together. Carefully orchestrated silhouettes create a balanced look with a framing device and a focal point. Keep in mind that these need not be the same article of clothing. Silhouette A is framed by the expansion of the trousers and skirts, at the bottom, but the focal point here is clearly the blouse, which appeals to the eye through bright color, structural detail, and possible asymmetry.

If this kind of approach appeals to you, start by looking through your closet (or any magazine) for the sorts of clothing that appeal to you. If you have a few favorite one-pieces, you may want to start with the silhouette and break it down into its possible component parts. But if you are drawn to specific knock-out pieces in your wardrobe – say, a statement jacket or a type of pant – do an image search for that style of clothing and see what others are wearing with it and how different pairings create different statements. Find a pairing that speaks to you and begin extrapolating, from there.

There are so many different types of clothing, but silhouettes are what make those pieces pop. So think like an artist! What inspires the looks you love, and where do they draw your eye? Once you establish those basic principles, you are well on your way to creating (and controlling) striking looks that flatter your body and create a sense of coherence to any wardrobe.

Happy hunting!

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