Now, make an outfit.

A secondary challenge I’m setting myself with the JAM is to co-ordinate each jacket with a complete outfit. To help figure out successful color/value combinations, I made this little croquis:

If your proportions are like mine (narrow shoulders, extra wide hips, long waisted and short-legged) these might help you, too. I kept the images all grayscale because this is a value study that can apply to any colors. The object was to compare the overall effect of different combinations of light/dark in the three pieces I generally wear: jacket, top, and pants.

A is a monochrome outfit with little difference in value between any of the pieces.

B has the top and the pants in related tones, with a light contrasting jacket. I overheard salesladies at Chico’s saying that this is what they recommend to all their customers as the most slimming.

C has the jacket and pants related, with a light contrasting top.

And just so I could say I tried, I did lighter pants and top with a dark contrasting jacket for view D. (opposite of B) As I suspected, D is a no-go.

When I squint and look at the remaining 3, B and C look like the most flattering combinations, even though A is closer to what I usually put together. I think C’s virtue is that a longer line is formed when the jacket and pants tone in together. With figure B, even though the figure is chopped up by the difference between the light jacket and dark pants, the light jacket draws attention to the top half (and this is my prime objective!) A gives the longer line, but everything blends together into one big shape and looks larger because the outline becomes so strong.

So, B & C, the winners!

What do you think? Agree? Do you see something I’m missing?

7 thoughts on “Now, make an outfit.

  1. I also like B and C the best, slightly favoring B because it nicely breaks up the body with different values. I used to think that monochromatic dressing was the most slimming but that turns out to be completely untrue!

  2. Interesting. I also do more of A but can see that I should be doing B and C. I did know to avoid D and do nearly all the time. My figure is very simlar to yours. I absolutely have to do a narrow shoulder adjustment or add a shoulder pad to every garment.

  3. This is an interesting exercise to do!
    I prefer B – the whole look appears most balanced.
    C comes a close second and is still a good option – the light top gives some depth to the bodice area. Amazing the difference between C and A just by changing the tone of the top! I wonder what C would look like with a more mid-tone jacket?
    A makes the bodice look slim, but in comparison makes the hips look larger. And I agree D is the one to avoid!

  4. Agree, interesting experiment. I know dark bottoms are best for my figure as well, but sometimes I want something bright, especially during summer. B and C are definitely the most flattering.

  5. Definitely prefer B as well. I like your challenge to yourself to make outfits, rather than just the jackets. I am embarrassed to see how many jackets I have made that don’t go with anything in my closet.

  6. Agree, Robyn – B and C are very flattering.
    HOW did you create your croquis, and how do you then do the shading?
    I’d love to do that, such a valuable tool!

    • Mandy, I made the croquis and color in Illustrator, but you could do the same with Paint or another drawing program. To get the thing to resemble my proportions, I did some measuring in the mirror with the length of my head as the unit of measurment. Measured width of shoulders and hips, length to bust point, waist, crotch, knees, ankles. Then drew an oval for my head in Illustrator and used copies of it to locate all the other points. Not everyone uses Illustrator, but there are other similar programs out there. Hope this helps!

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