Tuesday, October 13, 2015

What Scale Works?

    Scale is a commonly referred to term in apparel design, usually used in conjunction with the breadth of lapels, or the size of a print.  It is also another of the significant, far reaching mechanisms that helps inform, and drive the Attire language.
    Scale as I see it functioning in the tongue we wear, means more than simply size.  It also involves the overall impact of not just a single garment, but of the apparel sentence as a completed thing.  First though,  let me treat with the simpler version, the one we understand more readily.
    The size, for example, of the buttons on a coat, can make that coat seem chic, fussy, or even comical.  The volume of a sleeve can change a shirt from conservative, to romantic, to grandiose.  The trimness of a skirt can go from sleek, to sexy, to embarrassingly vulgar.  And all this is about the scale of what is worn.  Too big, just right, too small.  These conditions affect how we perceive the wearer.  More often than not we go instantly from noting that something is wrong, to wondering why it was chosen by that person. We start asking questions, without realizing we do so.  The emotional and psychological impact of what we see on another is largely determined by the scale of what we are presented with, as it is filtered through our own personal preconceptions, and those we carry from our society.  And whether we like it or not, these deeply etched notions of what does, and does not work, affect how we see others, no matter how enlightened we might imagine ourselves to be.
    Its important for me to mention that I see Scale as being a larger concept that includes within it ideas like fit, and silhouette.  Scale also covers things like the size of a textile pattern, the amount of physical space a parson takes up when completely dressed in their ensemble, and to an extent, the amount, and type of decorative detail.
    Once we start adding pieces together, the importance of understanding Scale increases.  A body hugging evening dress, paired with a vast evening coat, ends up emphasizing the body, as it gets revealed within the folds of the wrap.  Layering massy garments over each other is a short route to having others question our sanity, unless we live in frigid climes.  Conversely excessively brief clothing confers other judgements.  And its not too far to say judgement.  We do it every day, all the time.  Its a part of how we navigate our world. We see things, categorize, and feel we then understand, even though we may not, really.

     Scale, like Intention, which I posted about yesterday, exists as a motive force within the Attire language.  It substantively alters the perceptions of those who see us, by giving greater or lesser visual importance to our clothing, and how we wear it. Linking Scale to Intention, moves us further along in our understanding of how this whole huge thing works on, for, and sometimes, against us. And that is why I think its so important to look at. Understanding our deeper motivations for what we do is ever going to be a good idea, both for ourselves, and for others.

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