The Vanishing Point

Thank you all for your lovely comments about my new Betsey Johnson prairie skirt!  :D

All 5 foot 3 of me in Betsey J trousers
Linda C left a comment, asking about the proportions of the skirt, and wondering if it “worked” because each of the 3 sections was about the same size?  She went on to say that she had been inspired to try a wider-legged trouser after I talked about the shape of my Betsey Johnson trousers and their unexpected tendency to make me look taller, and wondered if it was a similar phenomenon with the skirt?
Well, that got me thinking.  Me Made May provided me with a substantial “data set” of photos of myself wearing different outfits.  By far the most flattering combinations were “nipped in” with a high waist.  Whether it was a dress, trousers, or skirt, I looked taller and slimmer with this high-level definition.
And I realised that the Betsey Johnson prairie skirt is designed along the same principles.  No, the panels are not all the same size.  The upper section is the shortest and narrowest, the middle section is obviously wider to accommodate the hip, but is also proportionately longer, and the final flounce is by far the widest and longest section.  The result is an optical illusion of sorts:  the eye is drawn upwards to the smallest point, as if to the apex of a pyramid.  What artists would call “the vanishing point”.

Llynfi skirt with apex potential
There are so many theories about “apples and pears” and the ideal clothing for different body shapes, most of which I treat with scepticism.  I am pretty straight-up-and-down these days, despite an earlier career as a flat-chested pear.  Nowadays, I have slightly more up top, less waist definition, and slimmer hips.

Potential to look short and dumpy

In the outfit above, the eye is drawn to the width across the shoulder, which is almost the same as the width of the skirt. This could have been “hourglass” with a belt… but without a belt it is a squat rectangle. Ah.


Although an a-line skirt fits the “narrower at the top than the hem” description, it can either make me look slim or chubby depending on where the triangle hits me.  If the waist band hits me round the tummy, I will look a lot chubbier than if it hits me higher up, just below the rib-cage, where I am slimmer.  This also increases the optical illusion that my legs are longer than they are, because the section below the waistband is so much longer than the area above it.  So I can get away with a lower waist if the hem is correspondingly lower and wider.  The most unflattering skirt-shape for me is a low-waisted pencil:  that way leads to a short and dumpy Roo, with more or less equal proportions above and below the waistband.

This is the sort of discovery people make when they draw a croquis.  I never did get round to that!  But it has led me look at pattern illustrations with different criteria in mind. All the pictures in this post are of patterns that I think would suit my shape.  I own a few of them already, but not all…. yet!

It hasn’t escaped my attention that they are all from the 1970’s.
Maybe this is why I am drawn to that era – I instinctively know that the line will suit me?
Mind you,  there are plenty of 1970’s styles which would spell dumpy disaster… and no, you don’t need me to show you!  Just think:  blouson, dropped-waists, drawstrings, short smocks with big collars