Information on Design lines

These details are only basic information to give you a better overview. Most of the information can and will vary when put together with other style details, lines, designs, patterns and fabrics.

A style line will allow you to create the illusion of balance and proportion with basic knowledge of some important style lines.

  1. Enhance, alter or conceal the actual contour lines of your body.

  2. Created by the basic outline of the garment such as a sheath, A-line, etc.

Design lines are major lines created within the style line e.g. openings, pleats, sizable prints or larger accessories such as sashes. They will create an effective illusion of height, width, length and curves to the contours of your body.



  1. Use of vertical lines gives the impression of height and slenderness by leading the eyes from top to bottom.

  2. Single vertical lines are the most effective in creating an illusion of a slender figure.

  3. More than one vertical line causes the eyes to move from left to right, so two vertical lines close together will make you thinner while two vertical lines far apart will make you look wider.

  4. A straight, unbroken style line will also create the illusion of the vertical line, accenting height and length.

  5. Avoid placing vertical linse at unflattering points e.g. bigger hips and/or thighs- never a good option for pears. Apples and women with fuller tummies should stay away from any detail that adds more volume or brings the wrong attention to this area.

  6. Vertical lines include pressed pleats, vertical tucks, buttoned front closures, V-necklines and vertical visible seams, such as a princess seam.


  1. Horizontals tend to broaden and shorten your figure by emphasizing width; they divide height, especially when more than one line is used at a time.

  2. Avoid placing horizontals at unflattering points e.g. bigger bust, fuller tummy and thighs or you'll be drawing the wrong sort of attention to this part of the body.

  3. Horizontals can be toned down by placing an off center, opposing vertical line or by relaxing the line into a curve or diagonal.

  4. Although horizontal lines can be difficult to incorporate into your wardrobe, they are great for pears, women with a long waist and those who are flat chested. They will shorten a longer waist, add volume to the top for pears and create curves for flat chested women.

  5. Styles that accent the horizontal line are: yokes, wide waistbands, extended shoulders, bateau necklines dropped and empire waistlines.


  1. A diagonal line can have two effects, depending on whether it is at a more vertical or horizontal angle.

  2. Eyes always move from the upper to the lower end of a diagonal line.

  3. A shorter diagonal (more horizontal) will cause the eye to move quickly from one end of the line to the other, creating an illusion of width.

  4. On the other hand, the longer diagonal (more vertical) will lead the eye more slowly, creating a longer, thinner appearance.

  5. Remember, for the most pleasing results, the diagonal should follow the same direction the eyes move: from left to right, top to bottom.

  6. The rules are the same as for horizontals and verticals in regards to who should avoid what. Also women with a short waist or women with an unbalanced body shape need to be very cautious of wearing this design line.


  1. Produce the same illusion as straight lines; however, curves are more flattering in clothing.

  2. Curved lines can be used to re-emphasize or define your figure because the female body is naturally curved.

  3. Often a less desirable straight line can be modified into a more appealing curved line.

  4. The curved line used in the bodice seam of front closures creates the illusion of softness, while a horizontal or vertical line is more pronounced.

  5. NOTE: When lines come together (converge), the eyes follow them to the point at which they meet and become a focal point making that part of your body look smaller. Conversely, when lines move away (diverge) from each other, the eyes follow them to the end, which become a focal point, and make you look wider. So the idea is to have lines come together or move away from each other to that point on your body that you either want to look smaller or wider.


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