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APPAREL : UNDETSTANDING BASIC SILHOUETTES

An Apparel designer is a sculptor who uses the human body as an armature for soft fabric sculptor created to enhance the figure. The size and shape of the garment are first perceived by its silhouette or outline. Then the eye of the viewer moves to the subdivisions created by the design elements to capture the total impression of the garment. The two main things that influence silhouette are fashion and the individual body. Fashion cycles often focus on a specific silhouette, but many kinds of apparel are used concurrently, and a person usually has a variety of silhouettes in her wardrobe at any one time. Fashion silhouette are modified by adding fabric and padding to various parts of the body to create a specific shape. The silhouette usually conforms to the shape of the body, but exaggeration is used to create a special effect or to emphasize a part of the body that is a current focus of fashion. The silhouette that remains most constant is the natural silhouette or basic body shape of garments like stretch, bathing suits, and leotards. There is little that fashion can do to modify the shape of a body wearing a leotard. Just because you do not have a perfect figure does not mean you should not wear a bathing suit or should go to an exercise class in body swears. The principles of illusion we can change the image of a body in a natural silhouette. The sketches on these pages illustrate some design elements that can be used. Cutting the leg line in an upward V gives the illusion of a longer leg. In the garment on the left of the facing page, a bold diagonal stripe minimizes the size of the waist and bust. The colour of the leotard should be determined by the size and shape of the legs. If your legs are slender and an asset, wear a bright colour, heavy legs will look slimmer if you wear dark stockings. The centre figure shows how a short warp skirt of slim gum shorts in a stretchy knit over a leotard can camouflage big hips. A contrasting design element at the bust balances the width of the hip. Legs look longer if short socks are worn with tennis shoes on the right a heavy bosom and slender hip leg line are balanced. Adding a vest or slim-fitted sweatshirt over the leotard would further camouflage this problem. The hourglass is a feminine silhouette because it emphasizes a full bust and wide hips. The narrow waist contrasts with the wider areas of the figure and visually "proves" the delicacy and smallness of the figure despite the fullness around it. The hourglass figure has been a dominant theme throughout fashion history. In the past waist cinchers and corsets were used to pull in the waist. Sometimes these cruel efforts to make the flexible waist area smaller were so harsh fainted or suffered broken lower ribs from being corseted. This practice made women's waists consistently small. During the 1960s, there was a turn toward shift dresses and the small waistline was "lost" for about a decade. Clothing manufacturers found that women's natural waistlines has increased over an inch per size when belts returned to fashion. The visual illusion of a small waistline is still possible through design techniques similar to those used in the past but without the severe corseting. A contrasting belt defines the waistline. Colour the belt black in the sketch on the left. The waistline recedes and seems smaller. The hourglass effect is enhanced by a longer than knee length skirt. The sweep of a long, flared skirt makes the waist seem even smaller, and of course, the person taller. A faced waistline, a slightly full sleeve, and a very full skirt constitute and evening and wedding gown formula that has been successful for many years because of its femininity. The sketch on the right is a typical "romantic" dress featuring hourglass figure. Petite women may wear the hourglass silhouette, but they should modify the proportion and volume of the skirt so they are not overwhelmed. A small woman with a full bosom will find this look unflattering. She will seem very short waisted and should not attract additional attention to her waist with a snug, contrasting belt. A woman with bulky torso or a large waist should opt for another silhouette. A balanced figure has a equal drop (difference) of 10 inches between the bust , waist and hip measurements. The balanced figure has well defined shoulder line. The ideal shoulder width is I head length measured from the centre plumb line. Models always have wide shoulders to carry clothes and allow them to drape over a slender body. The balanced figure wears the same top and bottom. It is the easiest body type to dress. As a body gains weight, the weight tends to be distributed in a consistent pattern. The balanced figure would add weight equally at the bust, wait and hips. The woman with a slender, balanced figure that is proportioned at 7 head heights or more can wear almost all kinds of fashions. Even the most extreme style fashions. Even the most extreme style variations will look good on her, and this is the ideal figure for which most high fashion designers create. The crotch is usually about midway between the top of the head and floor. Legs that are shorter in proportion to body height can be lengthened visually by garments that emphasize vertical style lines. A large head effects the head to height ration and tends to make a person seem shorter. The heavier balanced figure may look boxy and needs to emphasize the vertical to seem taller. Height balances this bulkier silhouette. A very heavy figure will make the head seem too small. A fuller soft hairstyle helps to balance the silhouette. Hands and feet appear more delicate and are good features to focus on an more weight is added. THE TOP HEAVY FIGURE This figure type was the fashion ideal of the 1980s when the Gibson girl was her full bosom and slender hip line as the rage. This figure type is still the modern sex symbol, as personified by Marilyn Monroe. This figure deviation is more difficult to conceal than pear shape because of the prominence to the upper torso. Most women with this figure type want to dress down their but line. They want to seem taller if she has a large bust. The key to dressing the top heavy figure is to minimize the torso by receding colours and simple vertical details and to emphasize the hips and legs to balance the larger top. Vertical lines should not run over the bust but to the side or centre a flattering line. Avoid decorations at the bust area, such as pockets or buttons. Bright colours and bold prints draw the eye to the area covered, so reverse these for buttons. A full bust makes the torso seem shorter so avoid any design elements, such as strong horizontals and wode belts, that further shorten the visual dimensions of the bodice. Layering is effective to minimize the bust. Avoid tops with front placket that are meant to be tucked in. Select instead garments that are designed as over blouses and are long enough to create a flattering line. Belt them with a self coloured or narrow belt to lengthen the bodice visually. Vests and Jackets that are worn open create a visual path that leads to the face, yet minimizes the eye to the face. High, horizontal necklines are also good, especially when worn with a necklace that falls above the breasts in a V. Beware of wearing jewellery that falls at the part of the bust. Chokers direct the eye to the face and minimize the bust. Avoid scoop necklines. Garments that are fitted with darts and many seam lines direct attention to the full bust. They are difficult to fit correctly, and the dart or seam line leads the eye to the fullest part of the body, instead of toward the face. Weight tends to collect on the upper torso as this figure type matures. Often the legs are very slender. Skirts length becomes crucial to avoid a "bird leg" look. Skirt length will vary depending on the individual, but the most inches below the knee. Flared and pleated skirts with hip detailling are flattering to this figure type. Slim skirted styles are appropriate because they gives the figure a longer line. Border print skirts and contrasting shoe draw the eye to the hem away from the bust line (soft gathers of stitched-down pleats) balance the full bust. The most typical figure deviation in American women is the pear shaped figure. This figure type has a smaller bust and waist in proportion to the size of the hips and thighs. Women who have jobs that require little movement and a great deal of siting often settle who this shape. As this figure type gains weight, the proportion is maintained, with most of the increase going to the hips, thighs and buttocks. Careful dressing can conceal the figure deviation and create an illusion of slenderness because most people focus on the figure from the waist up. clothes that focus on the face make the most of this figure type. The upper torso and waist are usually the slimmest parts and should be emphasized. But shape can differ even though circumference measures equally. An ideal distribution of figure fullness is when there is slightly more view of the bust then the back when seen in profile. Many-pear shaped figures have very bony necks and chests. A revealing neckline will emphasize this. Make sure that jackets worn over a fitted skirt or pants cover the derriere. Pants should fit without crease lines, bulges, or stress lines. Skirts should flare from the fullest part of the figure without hemline distortion.

 
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