Optical Illusions in Fashion: How Colors & Prints Flatter the Body

In her previous tutorial, Giedre spoke about optical illusions and how different placement of stripes on an outfit can change the appearance of our body shapes. In this optical illusion fashion tutorial, Giedre is going to discuss prints and colors. She will be wearing the same dress throughout, but make some transformations with the help of some white tape.

Light vs dark colors

First of all, let's start with colors. You probably already know that dark colors help to conceal your body, but let’s look at the proof of this.

Light vs dark colors

As you see here, the black rectangle appears to look smaller than the white one.

Creating optical illusions with color

If we add a circle of the opposite color inside these two rectangles, the effect is even more noticeable. The white circle appears to look bigger. Lighter color always stands out from the whole picture, and therefore an object in white looks a little bit bigger.

How to wear dark and light colors

Now let's have a look at an example with the dresses. It is obvious that the white color comes forward, having the effect of making the part of my body in white look larger accordingly.

However, it doesn't mean that only black and white create such an illusion because any darker color placed next to a brighter or lighter color creates that slimming effect.

So, for example, if you are wearing pink from head to toe, just place some darker tones on the body parts that you are self-conscious about and want to draw attention away from.

Color blocking principles

Color blocking

Another great tool to slim down your figure is by using color blocking, where two or more colors are used in graphic shapes to create different illusions.

Take a look at these rectangles. Here you see the same size shapes, but the one on the right looks thinner and longer since the dark color panels elongate the sides and slim down the shape. 

How to do color blocking

Now let's jump into the example of the dresses. The vertical panel line here on the left makes Giedre appear taller, leaner, and slimmer.

Creating curves with color blocking

If you want to create curves on your body shape, then choose a dress that has curved lines on it. The white part comes forward and creates the allusion of adding additional curves on the body.

With all the examples, Giedre is showing you only the principle. So, for example, if you don't have color blocking dress, you can just add a blazer on top of your blouse, and you will create darker sides, and therefore you will slim down your figure. So be creative and use this information to work for you.

How busy prints can trick the eye

Busy prints

Now let's talk about prints and how busy prints can trick our eyes. Looking at the two rectangles, we see that the one on the right with the print immediately catches our attention. Therefore we could presume that it is bigger. 

How to wear busy prints

Let's see the example with the dresses. We see that prints draw the eye and tend to enlarge the areas that they are on; therefore, Giedre looks a little bit bigger on the left.

Once again, be creative and interpret this rule as you need to. For instance, if you are top-heavy, you can hide the larger upper part of your body by wearing something very eye-catching on your bottom part.

Different sized prints

Different sized prints

Now let's check the size of the prints and how different-sized prints create different illusions. As you can see, the rectangle on the right looks bigger with bigger prints, whereas the one on the left looks smaller with smaller scale prints.

The smaller the print, the smaller you look

The same appears in the example of the dresses because the rule is, the smaller the print, the smaller you will look. Small scale prints trick the eye, while big scale prints draw attention. 

Different spacing of prints

In addition, the placement of the prints really matters. Fuzzy frequent prints flick before the eye and camouflage. These prints make it difficult to see what's happening behind them. Therefore Giedre looks smaller and thinner on the right with small and frequently placed prints. 

Optical illusions in fashion

Another way to look slimmer with prints is to choose strategically placed prints. For instance, if you want to elongate and slim down your body, choose prints that create vertical lines.

Optical illusion fashion tutorial

To sum everything up, if you want to enlarge some parts of your body, then choose items either with decorations or bright, light colors. And if you want to create an opposite effect, choose solid darker colors to visually reduce a part of your body. The key is understanding all these principles and making them work for us.

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