Different proportion body dressing

Making an Outfit Better With Proportion Body Dressing

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Let’s have fun with proportion body dressing. Not the type that tells you your body shape and what you can and can’t wear. Because if it’s one thing I’ve learned from researching and experimenting with clothes, that one rule does not apply to every situation.

So I’m showcasing the same outfit with different details in the proportions. Is there a right and wrong? NO WAY. It’s all dependent on your preferences.

Quote of the day: “The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.” Gloria Steinem

There are so many fashion rules that one can read. If you are this body shape, don’t wear that. Or when it comes to proportion body dressing, you hear that the rule of thirds is what is best. There are always those rules of how to look slimmer and taller (which I call hogwash and believe in the idea of perfectly imperfect instead).

Related post: When Perfectly Imperfect Is Enough

One way that might make getting dressed easier could be wearing a dress. Then you don’t have the decisions that play in with proportion body dressing, haha. Exactly why we showcased casual summer dresses of all lengths recently.

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My History with Proportion Body Dressing

Personally, I remember when a friend told me to think about the proportions of my outfit. And I felt overwhelmed by that idea. I mean, isn’t it enough to coordinate the colors and make sure my items fit??

So how can I introduce this idea of proportion body dressing without it being just another annoying step??
In all reality, I think it’s easier to see examples side by side which I’ve done.

SPOILER ALERT: There is no right and wrong. We all like different things both for function and for aesthetics.

What I like to think about, is if you put an outfit together and something seems off, then you might consider changing the proportions somehow.

Another thing to consider is how often do you (or anyone else) really inspect your outfit? Lesley and I were having the conversation that many times people are in motion when we notice them and “see” their outfits. So does proportion body dressing even matter??

Insider tip: Remember that color tends to be one of the first things people notice.

This idea of proportion can be incredibly helpful if you are thinking of trying out new jeans styles. You can see how different jeans look side by side.

Related post: How to know the right length for your shirt

Pants and Proportion Body Dressing

I know we’ve all heard the rule that if you wear something loose and unfitted on the top half, then your bottom half should be closer to your body. Thus the love affair with skinny jeans, right?

So when I first put on this flowy tank top, I paired it with linen pants that have a more fitted silhouette which you see on the left.

Then I realized that I had pants about the same color that are a wide-leg version. Thus the photo is on the right.

Granted the tighter pants are shorter, but it gives you an idea of two different silhouettes with the same top and shoes.

Insider tip: I do think the asymmetrical hemline of the top is a fabulous detail.

Midi Skirt and Length of a Top

A midi skirt has become a favorite of mine since moving to Arizona. They provide coverage and are easy to sit in, yet also have enough airflow to be cool in the heat. I call any skirt that is below my knees to right above the ankles a midi. Of course, your definition could be different.

When I first put on this striped OTS shirt it seemed long with the length of the skirt. So I experimented with tucking it under itself. Since this shirt is a thicker knit material, it stayed by itself tucked up.
No fancy equipment was needed to change up the length of the shirt and I didn’t need to tuck it in.

Then again, does it make much difference??

Insider tip: The off-the-shoulder tops can “seem” shorter in the whole proportion body dressing concept because they start lower down and don’t include material on your shoulders.

Capri Pants & Proportion Body Dressing

This example isn’t much different than the midi skirt above except with pants. These capri pants end around the same place as the midi skirt and I experimented with the length of the top.

While the photo on the left is the preferred choice if you worry about styling your outfit in thirds, this top has a bit of a peplum silhouette on the bottom, so you also lose that by shortening it.

Capri pants get a bad rap about looking frumpy or not stylish. Yet, I think there is a way to make anything look good by looking at the other elements. Maybe proportion is one of the keys?

Tuck VS. Untuck

Now let’s explore 3 options of tucking vs untucking your top. 2 of the options are with wide-leg pants while the other example is with joggers.

Wide Leg Pants and Proportion Body Dressing

Wide-leg pants are a conundrum for many women. We are so conditioned to styling skinny jeans that we feel at a loss.
The other factor is when we find our tummy sticks out, we feel the need to cover it. So we prefer the untucked top silhouette. And sometimes that can seem awkward with wide-leg pants.

But don’t give up and you might find you love them!

I almost didn’t include this option because I didn’t like the outfit either way. But for the sake of keeping it real, here it is.

The one thing this outfit did do is finally get me off my butt and alter this star tank top. It’s always been too big so I have to wear a top under it so my bra doesn’t show. (As seen in my Halftees post years ago).
After taking these photos, I finally took up the shoulder seams of this tank top and made it even cuter…seen in this video.

And this is very similar to the outfit above. Wide leg pants and a top either tucked in or untucked.
Being short (I am 5’2″) means most “normal” tops hang to about my crotch area.

If you like to leave tops untucked, but crotch length isn’t the length you prefer, then you have options:
1-Hem it shorter (or have it hemmed for you)
2-Use an elastic to create a knot in the shirt which pulls it shorter (found on Amazon)
3-Buy “cropped” tops. Even though they are called “crop tops”, they might be the right length for you. Remember, don’t concentrate on the name of the item, but look at the measurements.


These joggers have a similar silhouette as skinny jeans so I showcased the look with the top both tucked and untucked.

What I notice in these examples is how I tend to wear a belt when I tuck in a top. Do you have to?? Of course not. For me, I just think it seems more finished. But try it both ways and you make the decision of what you like the best.
Remember, I am a “more is better” type of girl, and that doesn’t work for everyone.

Let’s also laugh at the sweat stains on the linen top when I untucked it. It was over 100 degrees this day.

Insider tip: Not all joggers have to be sweatshirt material. They also don’t have to be just for working out. I have a silk pair, a nylon pair, and this pair is very lightweight.

So let’s hear your thoughts about proportion body dressing? Do you ever consider it when getting dressed and have these examples made you think any differently?

Proportions in style

Photo credit: Rob Filogomo

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