Harmony and scale, 2 basic fashion principles

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In order to have an impeccable outfit, both when creating clothes or just when matching our daily outfit, we must follow the basic fashion principles.

Rhythm, emphasis, proportion, harmony and balance are all equally important.


Rhythm In Fashion | OurFashionPassion

Balance: Basic Fashion Principle 2 | OurFashionPassion

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Harmony or Unity

In fashion design terms, harmony and unity are linked in their meaning in the sense that harmony is an attractive visual unity. It is the relationship between all parts of a whole and is achieved when all design parts are related and are arranged in an orderly manner.

Unity on a garment will give a sense of appeal and will hold the attention of the observer. It will also provide a sense of belonging to the garment. This is achieved when the elements of design are effectively used and consistent with the basic principles of fashion.

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How to create harmony


When creating the physical effects of harmony it means that the parts are in scale and their combined proportions look like they belong together and indeed belong with the figure the garment is covering.

To give an overall look of harmony each part of the design, including any accessories, should express a single theme that is reliant on the personality of the wearer and the place the garment is to be worn.

In order to harmonise shapes and spaces, it is necessary for the collars, cuffs, sleeves etc. to be in accordance with the main forms of the garment. For example, they should either both be straight, curved or angular.

In order to achieve colour harmony it is necessary to use monochromatic or corresponding colour schemes on a garment.

Harmony of texture is achieved when textures move from clinging to fluid folds, for example. In order to avoid boredom, it is necessary to avoid identicalness in garments. A small area in a contrast colour or a different cut or texture can break any monotony and add an interesting element to the design.

The three aspects of design, these being function, structure and decoration, must all correspond with each other in order to achieve harmony on any garment. All aspects must be taken into consideration such as age, size, gender, occasion, personal colouring, and lifestyle when designing garments.

Emphasis and Harmony Lesson for Fashion Design – YouTube

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Proportion or Scale

basic fashion 101
When designing garments proportion must be considered as it is the pleasing interrelationship of the
size of all parts of the garment. As a general rule, uneven proportion is more interesting. When looking
at an outfit the eye automatically compares the smaller part to the larger one.

A garment will seem to be shorter and wider when all parts are divided equally. The Chanel suit is a good example of an even proportion with its hip-length jacket and knee-length skirt. An uneven proportion will keep the eye moving and give it something interesting to look at.
The observer’s eye will compare both the height and width of all parts of a design. All parts must relate to each other in size and that includes sleeves, pockets and collars. They must also all relate to the complete silhouette.

A style with two-thirds to one third proportion will make the wearer seem taller and slimmer. An example of this would be the fingertip-length jacket over a short skirt or a knee-length tunic over a pair of pants. A proportion based on one-third to two-thirds is also visually appealing.


Body Conformation and Proportion

When discussing body size there are three categories that are used: small, medium and large. These body sizes are necessary in order to be used as a guide when choosing clothes and accessories. It is better for smaller body sizes to use small to medium scaled clothing and accessories. The medium body type is best suited to any one of the three. The larger sized person is best suited to wearing medium or large scale.

Certain parts of apparel like the collars and pockets and also any trimmings or buttons, should be the
correct size for the wearer and for the total design of the garment. A big, heavy overcoat would look strange with small pockets, for example.

When clothing, texture, fabric design or accessories are too large for the wearer, the size relationship is out of proportion. Medium build people have more freedom in the selection of clothing and accessories. When selecting an outfit it is important to use the wearer’s actual body as a guide. The most appealing way to divide a garment is at natural body divisions like the waist, hips or chest.

Any outfit you feel good in is perfect, but if you want to add that something to your outfit, after choosing the pieces of clothing that resonate with you, choose which basic fashion principles work best for your outfit.

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