The Fashion Figure – Understanding Fashion Proportions

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The Fashion Figure – Understanding Fashion Proportions

The proportions of a fashion figure are often exaggerated and stylised, particularly for womens wear drawings. This can sometimes be slightly confusing to the untrained eye but in fashion terms it represents a statement of an ideal rather than an actual body shape. This ideal is then aligned to a contemporary look that is viewed through the visual lens of fashion.

Most standing fashion figures are proportioned between nine and ten heads in height (if the figure’s head is arranged vertically on the page alongside the complete standing figure). Most of the additional height is gained through the legs, with some added to the neck and a little added to the torso above the natural waist. Most women in the real world stand around 5ft 5in or 5ft 6in, but a fashion figure needs to project greater height in order to better show off the clothes and communicate the look to an audience, usually through exaggerated gestural poses.

When drawing the fashion figure the look might refer to the prevailing styles of the season, such as the position of the fashion waist, or it may be an exploration of voluminous or contoured clothing styles with reference to influences from a particularly favoured model or celebrity.

There are fundamental differences between the fashion proportions for drawing men and women. Women’s fashion proportions are mostly concerned with extending height through the legs and neck, with the resulting drawings taking on a sinuous and gently curved appearance.