I posted a photo on Facebook over the weekend, and it looked like some ancient mysterious proportion jibberish, and it’s really not.
Here’s the outline of a nautilus animal shell. What this shows is that when you mathematically calculate the curves and place the squares over the curves, you get a mathematical ratio. That means you take the squares next to each other and you will find that they increase or decrease at the same rate. That ratio is 1.618. It goes out further than that, but for us that’s good.
The ancient Greeks used it extensively in their design – the most notable being the Parthenon:
The Greeks discovered how pleasing the ratio is and how often it occurs in nature.
What’s so fabulous about this ratio is how you can use it to help you in design. Here’s how it helps me. As you know I’m short and so my “sweet spot” on hems, lengths and proportions is very short. On taller folks, they have a lot more room, whereas we short people don’t.
The problem here is that the sweet spot on short folks is so small that most short people conclude that they can’t wear the same things tall people can. Some say they have to wear long jackets only, or can’t wear short jackets, can’t wear capri pants or can’t wear longer skirts or whatever. What the real problem is that for short people it’s just hard to find that sweet spot.
Enter the Golden Ratio. This is a mathematical system where by to help you find that spot. And that’s what I used in my recent outfit to find my capri length.
So looking at this again. What I did was set a length for my top – I wanted it past the wide part of my hips – so I took my height and made the golden ration from the height – the longer/bigger block being the top (that’s the measurement on the left side).
Then on the length for the pant, I took my waist to floor and the larger/bigger part was my pant or capri length. Now after I finished this I did leave a little extra cause in this fabric I noticed that it like to gather around my knee a little – I’m OK with that, but wanted to take that into consideration on my hem length. And I’m known to fudge a little on this to get it like I want, but using this ratio gets me very close in the ball park and helps me figure out where the proportions are the best on my short frame!
You don’t necessarily have to use the large on top/small on bottom like I’ve done here, you can use it the other way around. But using these proportions sure makes it easier to find that “sweet spot” and enjoy wearing clothes that you never thought you could before. Play around with this proportion and see what fun things you can discover about your own proportions.
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