Clothing Communication 3: Line and Fit

Line and fit affect how your clothing communicates formality and sexuality.  Let’s take two pictures as an example – two red outfits, about the same length, accessorized similarly:

photo credit:  Flickr by fervent-adepte-de-la-mode


photo credit: Flickr by erin_everlasting












The suit on the left is more assertive than the dress on the right.  It evokes far more power.  The dress on the right has a strong romantic vibe, and a tastes a bit more vintage (a bit more vintage than the older photo to the left!).  Why?

Structured clothing reads formal.  It creates a sense of distance.  People in authority wear suits.

The draped dress on the right (which still has lapels, a black belt, a black hat, and buttons) creates more of a sense of romance.  It emphasizes the hourglass curves of the model’s body (or any woman’s body), and the softness of the drape creates the impression of softness.

Danica Patrick, red dress collection:  Wikicommons
Pascale Hutton wearing Paul Hardy: Wikicommons













Even two dresses with a similar volume can say different things – certainly the casual, athletic feel to the dress on the right is enhanced by modeling it on an athlete with her hair down, but it looks good on that athlete because of the loosely draped form that moves with her body.  It creates a sense of motion.

The dress on the left is very formal and luxurious.  As the bared shoulders and hourglass silhouette indicate femininity and maturity, while the fabric speaks of luxury – as does the lavish use of expensive fabric.

So, what message do you want to send with your clothing?

Examine the pictures above and contemplate why we choose to wear tailored clothing to the office, draped or figure displaying clothing when we’re in romantic situations, and loose clothing when we’re casual.

Does your figure need more volume (or less), more motion (or less)?  How can you use the other variants with color communication to create the impression you wish to convey if you can’t just take the stereotype and run?  When might it be worth it to wear a stereotype?

What lines are you most comfortable in?  Why?  Does that have to do with your figure, or with the message you’re subconsciously sending or both?

Keep thinking!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Elspeth says:

    In tube first set of pictures I am more likely to be in the dress than the suit and this has always been the case. Never been the suit type and hated when I had to wear them to church as a type of uniform.

    In the second set, again I like the flow and luxurious dress over the one the athlete is wearing. Not in love with the pointed shoulder but overall it’s more *me*.

    Should this be changing in middle age? I sure hope not.

    1. hearthie says:

      Nope. Not unless you’re taking on a corporate job. Your figure and personality are both suited to a flowing line.

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