Style School: The Golden Ratio and The Perfect Hem Line
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Style School: The Golden Ratio and The Perfect Hem Line

I'm going to share with you one of my favorite style tips! To look really good in your clothes, you want to find the perfect balance for your body type and color palette. In this article, we're going to talk about vertical proportions. First, let's talk about the golden ratio in your outfit. When you put together a top and bottom, it matters where the horizontal lines divide you. A horizontal line could be the line your top and bottom create or it could be a belt. It could even be a distinct horizontal stripe on a dress. The placement of these lines can be the difference from looking boring and frumpy to lean and stylish. So where's the perfect placement of those horizontal lines? Let's take a look at the image below... Style School: The Golden Ratio and The Perfect Hem Line Both outfits have the same top and bottom. Notice the line that is created based on how the top is layered with the skirt. On the left, I show the top tucked into the skirt. This creates a horizontal line that cuts the look in half. This is ok but kind of boring. On the right, the sweater is layered on the outside of the skirt creating the line lower in the outfit. This divides the look into 2/3 and 1/3. Which is ideal. It is simply more pleasing to the eye. Let's look at another example... Style School: The Golden Ratio and The Perfect Hem Line Now we have a longer skirt, which you could also imagine as pants. The outfit on the left has the top layered over the skirt and visually cuts the outfit in half. You can almost see how this can become a very frumpy looking outfit. On the right, if we tuck the top into the long skirt, we now have a much more visually pleasing look. This look of 1/3 and 2/3 makes the person look taller and slimmer. An alternative would be to add a belt around the top on the left. This would create a strong visual on the waist which is another way of dividing the look up into thirds. As with any styling, every person's body is different. So, be sure you pay attention to where the line falls on you. Even though the golden ration of 1/3 and 2/3 might be perfect on the outfit... the shirt line may land right at the widest part of your hips. Not ideal if you're trying to look slimmer because that horizontal line adds focus... and will visually widen the hips. Another thing to take into consideration with vertical proportions is your height and the length of the outfit. Again, even though your skirt and sweater have the perfect golden ratio doesn't mean the hem line falls in the right place for you. To find the perfect hem line for your height... slide on a pair of shoes. Measure from your shoulder to your toes. Let's call this measurement L. Now divide L by 1.618 Measure down from your shoulder this new measurement. That is where your hem should land. The higher the shoes, the longer the hemline. Style School: The Golden Ratio and The Perfect Hem Line Take a look at the 2 images below. The one on the left has the skirt at just the right length. The skirt on the right is too long. Style School: The Golden Ratio and The Perfect Hem Line Style School: The Golden Ratio and The Perfect Hem Line The next time you pull together a top and bottom, pay attention to the golden ratio. Where a long sweater with leggings for a top 2/3 and bottom 1/3. Or a tucked in blouse with long pants for a top 1/3 and 2/3 bottom. Try not to cut the look in half. I hope this helps! Have any tips, questions or comments? Put them in the comments below. Remember... have fun and wear what you love! Jen Thoden

Jennifer Thoden


1 comment

  • I am glad that I pinned the hem and tried on the dress before I cut. Had I followed your math, my dress hem would have been too short falling above my knee. That’s not the most flattering hem length for most women. Right below the knee just above the calf at the thinnest part of the leg in that area most women’s legs look best.

    - Jo Ann Aaronson

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