How To Style Your Outfit Using The 5 Elements of Design

Understand the five elements of design and how they connect to and influence your body shape and style personality so you can achieve your wardrobe goals and always feel great in what you wear. So, what are they and how do they relate to you?!

Outside Lines

What are outside lines? The outside silhouette or shape of a garment. 

How do you use outside lines? Outside lines that echo the shape of your body are generally the most flattering and visually pleasing.

body shapes blue.png

Hourglass - styles that draw in at the waist like fit and flare or wrap shapes to highlight curves.

Rectangle - fluid and straighter shapes that flow from top to bottom, skimming over waistline.

Oval - sleek shapes that are loose in the middle.

Inverted Triangle - strong shoulder lines and body shapes that skim over hips. 

Triangle - shapes with volume at the bottom to skim over hips with volume at shoulders to create balance.

Get to Know Your Body HERE

Inside Lines

What are inside lines? Design details that the eye follows such as seams, buttons, trims, pleats and lapels. 

How do you use inside lines? Inside lines can be strategically used to draw attention to areas you wish to highlight. 

Horizontal lines - widen the areas they are placed and can shorten a silhouette.

Vertical lines - lengthen and narrow an area or entire silhouette.

Curved lines - add softness and depending on their direction have the same effect of vertical or horizontal lines.

Diagonal lines - camouflage by leading the eye across and down the body and can also lengthen a silhouette.


What is colour? Placement of colour on your body and colour connections between pieces in an outfit.

How do you use colour? Light and bright colours will attract attention while darker more subdued colors diminish an area. 


Light and bright colours - use to highlight an area or create balance when another design detail draws attention to an area you'd rather camouflage. 

Dark and subdued colours - use to diminish and detract attention away from an area. 

Color breaks - wearing a solid colour elongates while the area where a colour break is created in your outfit will draw attention.

Discover Your Colors HERE


What is texture? Through fabrication and placement on the body texture is similar to colour in it's effects.

How do you use texture? Highly textured fabrics add visual bulk while smooth surfaces minimize, and shiny or metallic textures enlarge while matte surfaces diminish.

To enhance - use textured fabrications such as tweeds or thick knits to add dimension to an area you wish to draw attention to or create balance with. Shiny fabrications will also add to an area you wish to highlight by reflecting light and increasing body size.

To diminish - go for matte and one dimensional surfaces in areas you wish to camouflage, they absorb light and minimize body size. Steer away from textured fabrications close to the face if you are concerned with highlighting any texture in your skin. 


What is proportion? The dimensions of your outfit created by colour breaks, hem lines and seams.

How do you use proportion? Unbalanced proportions on your body are more visually pleasing than an equal split.


The Golden Ratio 1/3 to 2/3  

Create outfits that achieve this balance by making use of:

  • colour breaks, which can be adjusted through tucking or the use of accessories. Black tights will appear as an extension of a black skirt. 
  • the positioning of hem, waist and neck lines. A high neck covers a larger portion of your body than a crew or v-neck. 
  • any seam detailing which creates inside lines. These will be more prevalent in single colour outfits or dresses.