Lines: As Optical Illusion on Dress

Last Updated on 20/12/2020

Lines: As Optical Illusion on Dress

Vaishally Verma and Prerna Kapila
B.Sc. in Fashion Designing
College of Home Science
Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, India


In this era of style and execution everyone wants to present themselves as perfect to the world. Confidence is the main factor required to win the game. But many a times is what we love the most about a dress won’t suit and look best on our built as our body is changing throughout the years, because we put on weight or lose weight that may lead to change in our body shape. An undesirable body shape will act as confidence reducing agent. But today is the world where every problem is born with its solution. Improper body shapes can be shown as perfect bodies by creating optical illusions for viewers and will always make you look and feel the best no matter the occasion and age. Therefore our dress style will change in regards how to create visual balance in our body silhouette.

Lines: As optical illusion on dress
Optical illusions are best created by different types of lines on dress. The amazing thing is that a bulgy part of the body can be hidden with silhouettes and heaviness can be shown on some parts by adding designer lines in the form of pleats, tucks, seams and necklines. Physiologically, lines make the eyes twist and control our brain in such a way that our eyes follow and fix on the design. When lines come together (converge), the eyes follow them to the point at which they meet and become a focal point making that part of your body look smaller. Conversely, when lines move away (diverge) from each other, the eyes follow them to the end, which become a focal point, and make you look wider. So the idea is to have lines come together or move away from each other to that point on your body that you either want to look smaller or wide. Thick line conveys strength and alertness while thin line implies firmness and stability in one’s character. There are an infinite number of physical features and each person has their own unique combination of these.

Types of lines
The illusion of balance and proportion can be created with basic knowledge of some important style lines. The lines are classified as Structural or Designer or Printed.

Structural lines are the silhouettes that provide the outline and basic structure to the dress. For example: A- line, sheath, empire etc.

Designer Lines not only adds beauty and details in the dress but also their placement and types allows a person to emphasize on desired part or hide the bulgy part. It is the design added to the structure of dress. E.g.; tucks, gathers, pleats, princess seams or panels, hem lines etc.

Printed Lines are referred to the prints of fabric that symbolizes many things and helps to look lean, heavy, long or short. These are of different types like vertical lines, horizontal lines, diagonal lines, curved lines etc.

Vertical lines
Vertical lines give the impression of height and slimness when repeated at equal intervals by leading the eyes from top to bottom. Vertical lines close together will make you thinner while two vertical lines far apart will make you look wider. Avoid placing vertical lines at unflattering points. E.g. bigger hips and/or thighs- never a good option for pears. Apples and women with fuller tummies should stay away from any detail that adds more volume or brings the wrong attention to this area. Vertical lines include pressed pleats, vertical tucks, buttoned front closures, V-necklines and vertical visible seams, such as a princess seam.

Although vertical lines in clothing may be created by stripes, vertical lines can also be created by seam lines, panels, hemlines, pleats, tucks etc. in clothing that run up and down.

Individual height, arm and leg length must be strong considerations in selecting the location of your hemlines and lengths.

When wearing striped clothing, take into consideration that stripes that are too wide may not be in proportion with a petite frame. Also, too many stripes may appear too overwhelming for petites. You wouldn’t want to wear a striped blouse with striped pants, for example. However, a striped dress, if the style is right for your body type, may work very well. Suits in neutral colors with pinstripes can be good investment pieces because you can wear the suit pieces either together or as separates to expand your work wardrobe.

Horizontal lines
Horizontal lines tend to broaden and shorten the figure by emphasizing width. They divide height, especially when more than one line is used at a time.Avoid placing horizontals at unflattering points e.g. bigger bust, fuller tummy and thighs or the wrong sort of attention can be drawn to this part of the body. They are great for pears, women with a long waist and those who are flat chested. They will shorten a longer waist, add volume to the top for pears and create curves for flat chested women. Styles that accent the horizontal line are: yokes, wide waistbands, extended shoulders, bateau necklines dropped and empire waistlines.

The only exception might be when the horizontal stripes are confined to a small area on a garment and are framed on each side by either solid color or vertical stripes. Example, a camisole with horizontal stripes might be worn under a solid colored V-neck sweater. Although very slender runway models and very tall women can often get away with wearing horizontal stripes, short women will look better in clothing that emphasizes vertical line.

Zigzag Lines
This is a mixture of different emotions such as erratic, intense, abrupt, fun, busy, Confusing and diverse. Visually it is the eye catching nut and the person’s character cannot be defined as zigzags create confusions in one at the sight of it. These lines are perfectly creates illusion for hour glass figure.

Zigzag line on dress
Fig: Zigzag line on dress

Perfect dress on body contributes to quality of life and pleasure and satisfaction from human sensation through experience of sight. Fashion and style will allow for flexibility and creativity. There is a unique method of looking for lines that will create balance and harmony in your overall personality. Creation of illusion to gain perfect dress fit for all the body types to look smart with the use of different lines assembles the happiness and confidence of the wearer to execute its perfection to the world and go ahead to enhance its ambitions.

Diagonal Line
A Diagonal Line can have two effects, depending on whether it is at a more vertical or horizontal angle. Eyes always move from the upper to the lower end of a diagonal line. A shorter diagonal (more horizontal) will cause the eye to move quickly from one end of the line to the other, creating an illusion of width. On the other hand, the longer diagonal (more vertical) will lead the eye more slowly, creating a longer, thinner appearance. Remember, for the most pleasing results, the diagonal should follow the same direction the eyes move: from left to right, top to bottom. The rules are the same as for horizontals and verticals in regards to who should avoid what. Also women with a short waist or women with an unbalanced body shape need to be very cautious of wearing this design line.

Diagonal lines can also help create a flattering fashion illusion, although usually it’s a softer, curvier feel, which can be very effective, depending on the style of the garment. Chevron stripes work well because they create a series of flattering V-shapes, which makes petites look longer and leaner.

Curved Lines
It produces the same effect as straight line of similar placement. Curves add beauty to the garment and the tailor’s style like frills, flounces. The visual impact is softer and more graceful. Curved lines can be used to re-emphasize or define your figure because the female body is naturally curved. Often a less desirable straight line can be modified into a more appealing curved line. Produce the same illusion as straight lines; however, curves are more flattering in clothing. The curved line used in the bodice seam of front closures creates the illusion of softness, while a horizontal or vertical line is more pronounced.

These are not suggested to use in men’s wear as it is more feminine and it shows gentleness and smoothness.

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