Jewelry of Flattering Scale

Almost every ensemble becomes more polished with the addition of tasteful jewelry –  jewelry that is not only cohesive with the ensemble itself — the garments, shoes, handbag and any other accessories — but also flattering to the person wearing it.

0717 Effy jewelry scale on model REV

I was struck by this ad from a high-end design house, which features an exquisite suite of ruby and diamond jewelry. The beautiful model wears two chunky rings, a tennis-style bracelet, and a pair of earrings.

The model has generously sized features — eyes, nose and mouth. Consider how the jewelry selections relate to her. While the other pieces of jewelry in the photo have plenty of presence, the earrings are quite delicate –  too delicate to be flattering to the woman, as lovely as they are. The slender linear design of the earrings has the effect of drawing attention to the model’s nose and making it appear relatively larger.

This effect could be easily remedied by having the model wear earrings of a design more akin to the chunky design of the rings. Changing the scale of the earrings would be more flattering to the woman.

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The Scale of Dress Straps: Choosing What’s Most Flattering

One of the best tips for selecting clothing that will genuinely flatter you has to do with your face — or more precisely, with the size of your facial features. If you are blessed with huge eyes and luscious lips, you  can wear clothing with larger scale detail without that detail distracting from your face. If, like most of us, your features are small to average in size, you are likely to find that smaller detail on your garments will be more attractive on you.

Scale straps Rose Byrne 1114 Lucky wide strap dress REV

Case in point:  Actress Rose Byrne appearing on the cover of the November 2014 issue of Lucky magazine. She is wearing a gorgeous jumpsuit from the Roland Mouret Resort 2015 collection.  The jumpsuit is black with thick white edging at the bustline that crosses and becomes the straps of a halter-style neckline.

While the jumpsuit is beautiful, and the actress even more so, the detail of the wide white straps distracts from Byrne’s lovely face, even though her eyebrows and eyeliner are dark and dramatic in the styling. With her slender frame and the dark body of the jumpsuit, what the eye notices first are the thick white straps and, correspondingly, her bare shoulders.

Scale straps Gabriella Wilde 0314 InStyle in David Koma REV

I came across two examples of similar designs, with straps of smaller scale, that might be more flattering on Byrne. The first is a David Koma dress modeled by actress Gabriella Wilde in the March 2014 issue of InStyle. The garment has the same style of white straps that crisscross and become the halter-style neckline, but they are narrower and therefore significantly less distracting. You see the woman, not the dress.

Scale straps Halle Berry 110314 People REV

Another example of the effect of straps, this in a different style, reversing the dark and light portions of the garment and with a square neckline, is a dress by Michael Kors pictured on actress Halle Berry in the November 3, 2014 issue of People. The thinner straps, while still providing a dramatic accent to the dress, do not distract from Berry’s beautiful face.

Incidentally, these principles apply to everyone, irrespective of body size or shape, and apply to all styles of clothing, from demure to dramatic. Never let the dress wear you.

A Season of Elegant Handbags with Small Scale Detail

This season, more than any in recent years, designer have foregone some of the logos and labels and extraneous buckles, straps and accoutrements, that have made handbags (and other accessories) chunky and sometimes downright unwieldy. This is the season of the return of the elegant, ladylike handbag.

If you have small to medium bone structure, rejoice!  Image consulting principles suggest that the appropriate scale of the construction details of your accessories, including handbags, shoes and jewelry, is most flattering to you when they relate to your physical features. Small to medium size wrists suggest that the  hardware and other details of your handbags are most attractive when they too are not overly large in size.

Small scale handbag Hugo Boss ad 1014 REV

A current ad for a Hugo Boss handbag presents a bag with a smooth surface, a small clasp, and minimal hardware on the bag’s handle. Notice how these relate to the small wrist of the model holding the purse.

Small scale handbag Amy Adams w Max Mara bag 1014 REV

In a current ad for Max Mara, actress Amy Adams is pictured with a bag of beautiful smooth surfaces and minimal hardware, and a medium-width strap, which looks perfect with her average-size wrist.

Small scale handbag Coach ad relatively 1014 REV

A current ad for Coach also reflects restraint in the size of handbag details, although there are significantly more “bells and whistles” on these casual designs with their studs and hangtags and relatively chunky hardware.