Rhythm in Fashion Styling

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When we want to create an outfit that has that something extra, it’s important to keep in mind the basic principles of dressing and styling
One of these is Rhythm in fashion, along with Balance, Emphasis, Harmony and Proportion.

The term ‘rhythm’ in designing refers to organised movement. The rhythm of a garment is the pleasing
arrangement of design elements which allows the eye to easily move over the piece of clothing. A
regular or gradual change which gives a sense of continuity throughout a design is what will create

The rhythm of your outfit can be achieved in several ways.

Updated Rhythm Lesson Fashion Design – YouTube


Rhythm through Repetition

Rhtyhm in fashion
Achieving rhythm is created by repetition or regular repeats of shapes, buttons, pleats, laces, colour, motifs of design, or pleats. The rhythm can be created by having all parts use the same shaped edges such as keeping them all rounded or squared or scalloped. Using colours in a repetitious manner can achieve a good effect in particular if the colours are allocated in an interesting manner.

To create a gentle wave rhythm which gives a sense of peace and calm, smooth, and undulating lines can be used. Repetitious use of lines with sharp or jagged points creates an exciting rhythm and is best suited to dramatic evening wear. It is, however, necessary to take care with this type of design as it can also create a disturbing or subduing design on a garment. For an abrupt rhythm in fashion creation use tucks, pleats and stitching folds. Trimmings such as buttons, laces and beads will also create rhythmic effects therefore use these to achieve variety in a rhythmic manner.

Rhythm in fashion through Progression

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Rhythm can also be created by progression or by gradation, the latter being a gradual increase or decrease of similar design elements. Colours may move from light to dark or textures from fine to coarse, for example. Shapes can range from small to large, or vice versa. Lines can range from thin to thick. The gradual changes give continuity while providing a feeling of movement.

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Another way to create rhythm is through systematic sequences of gradually increasing or decreasing changes in sizes of motifs, trims, buttons, intensity, flowers, ruffles, fabric design, etc.


Rhythm through Transition

When a curved line guides the eye over an angle, the transition is created, this being a fluid rhythm. It is the curved lines of transition which result in the eye changing direction gradually, not abruptly.
Transitional shapes and lines arc and glide over the figure in a rolling rhythm directing the eye easily and elegantly from one area or direction to another. The absence of abruptness (like that of jagged lines) is created. Transition can be seen and created through dropped shoulder designs, puffed sleeves and cap sleeves. It can also be created through the use of shawls, scarves, ruffles and gathers.

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Rhythm through Radiation

The rhythm created through radiation (waves or rays) produces a feeling of movement in different directions. This is an organised movement and it commences at a central point of folds, darts, tucks, pleats, a gather or a line. The directions of radiation could be in a similar direction or only in one direction. The direction could be opposing or moving in both directions, several directions, and all directions.

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Rhythm by Continuous Line Movement

Rhythm by continuous line movement is produced by lines of trims, bands of colour, fabric designs etc. which are flowy. These make the eye move in a continuous line. The movement also merges the garment design and creates harmony. Rhythm in fashion will be broken when lines, trimmings, or fabric designs are not matched at the seams (or at other construction points).

So, when you keep the rhythm of your outfit, you will leave an impression of dynamism and joy, and if you are not sure of the result. You can take a picture to see if you are happy with the result. Keep rhythm in fashion every day.
Also here’s my post about another basic principle, the centre of interest.


By Paula Radu 

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