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Hartman, Emil Alvin / Instructive costume design

Elements of costume design: chapter three,   pp. 24-36 PDF (2.2 MB)

Page 26

as an example of optical illusion, and it holds an im- 
portant place in fashion designing. "What is it," you 
ask, "that makes 2 appear longer than I, when both 
are actually of the same length?" This is explained 
by the theory that a line, divided or broken by other 
lines that carry the eye outward into space, appears 
longer than one of the same length that is checked by 
lines which tend to carry the eye inward. We con- 
dude, therefore, that a costume, the lines of which 
tend to run up and down, will make the wearer appear 
taller, while a costume, the lines of which run around 
the person, will make the wearer appear stouter. 
  Observe figure io. The long, narrow collar, the long, 
pointed panels, and the one-sided effect of the waist 
detract from the width of the figure and make it ap- 
pear more slender; and the narrow, pointed inserts on 
the long sleeve make the arm appear longer and less 
stout. Here we have tried to indicate what can be 
done to make the stout figure appear slimmer. You 
will notice that vertical lines have been used in this 
costume-also note the lines forming the silhouette 
of the bust, waist and hips. If possible, these lines 
should be almost continuous--otherwise the width of 
any one or two of these parts will be emphasized by 
the smallness of the third. 
  In figure ix, observe how the fullness about the 
waist, the hips and the sleeves tends to make the fig- 
ure appear stouter-it gives the breadth that is so 
much desired. For an over-slender figure, the design 
illustrated is excellent; the wide neckline, the loose, 
gracefully draped blouse and the extension at the hips, 
all tend to make the figure appear broader and less 

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