The first principle of design that we will feature is proportion, or the size relationship of parts to the whole. Note, in this jacket example that the arrangement on the figure to the right has much more balance vs. the one at left.

Raspberry Fleece Jacket by Erin Alexandra Klym – $121.00

For example: the size of your hand in relation to the size of your arm. Or a clothing piece in relation to the whole outfit or body.

This concept can apply to colors as well; do the colors complement each other? Or is one color ill-proportioned to the other by having too much of a really intense color in comparison? What we want are dimensions that relate to each other, attract our viewers, and give a pleasant or complete feeling.

Tiger Lily Moccasin Navy by Darlingtonia – $129.00

The feeling of completion and pleasantness can be done with any style preference. Funky, all-natural, feminine, girly, frilly, classy, boyish….anything – as long as you follow the basic principles of proportion.

Some people seem to have a natural ability to know what works and what doesn’t, so what about the rest of us? Are there any basic rules or ways to find out what works if you aren’t a natural? Luckily there are! Throughout civilization, artists, mathematicians, psychologists and even philosophers have studied to find out what is naturally appealing to the human eye and mind. There are a lot of theories, but one that is best known and applied is the golden mean. Discovered by Egyptians, Greeks, renaissance (Notre Dame) and many other civilizations.  It is one that is found in nature in seashells,

in ferns,

Fern Ring by honeybee, Amy Moore Designs – $68.00

and even the human body.

So, here is a basic math version of the golden mean (section): 3+5=8, 5+8=13, 8+13=21, etc… What does that mean? If you look to the right of the image above, there are lines that help you visualize the proportion. The blue line equals roughly 5/8 of the white line. This proportion not only works for men, but for women as well.

What do you do if you don’t have an ”ideal” figure? No worries, my next Fashion Friday post will teach you some tricks and optical illusions to help you give your body a well-proportioned look.

For more images and examples to train your eye, go to or