Fashion Magazine

How to Be a Magician with Clothing

By Imogenl @ImogenLamport

How does magic work?  We’re smart people, we should be able to see the tricks of a magician?  Yet, how often have you seen a magic trick and been perplexed at it how fools your eye?

The art of the magician is in illusion and distraction.  The magician distracts you away from the trick, at the same time as creating an illusion.

I like to think that what I’m teaching you here is how to be a magician with clothing.

What I’m teaching you is this art, but using the elements of design as their tools.

How to Be a Magician with Clothing

Your Illusion Toolkit

We can use the illusion tools of:

  • Colour- using a column of colour, or the qualities of advancing and receding colours to create focus.
  • Line- horizontals, verticals, diagonals and curved lines all create different optical illusions
  • Design elements – details, accessories, pockets
  • Pattern – dense or sparse, high or low contrast
  • Scale – small, medium or large, balanced or different from your own personal scale

to make the body look curvier or slimmer, longer or shorter (or whatever it is that you want to achieve).

How to use the art of a magician to improve your style - tips on illusion and distraction so you dress more stylishly
Using a busy, dense pattern to stop the eye from focusing on one area of my body. Using a nudish color shoe so that my legs look longer, and darker bottom and lighter top to draw the eye upwards towards my face. The horizontal neckline makes my hips look slimmer too!

But, the magician also uses distraction as part of her toolkit.  And this is why it’s so important to create focal points in your outfit.  They provide the distraction needed to make the illusions work as well as possible.

In each of my Body Shape Bibles (which you can do your Body Shape Calculator Quiz and download free here), I share with you where to use the illusions of verticals and horizontals to flatter your shape.  Knowing how to use lines really helps you when you’re walking into a change room with a garment, whether or not it has got some chance of looking good on you, before you take off your clothes.  Here is a great example how looking at the lines would stop you from even trying on a garment.

Applying these principles to a garment on the hanger, helps you to understand why some garments look great, others less so.  It gives you the power of the magician to control the illusory toolkit that you have at your disposal.

Dress Your Portrait First

So many women dress from the butt/tummy/thighs/insert-body-part-you-want-to-hide-here up.  All decisions about what to wear come down to that body part.    Yes you have a body part you want to disguise (well most of us do …) but when all you do is focus on that part, rather than also providing a focal point, then the illusion never quite works so well (like when you watch the secrets of the magician revealed, and they show you how they did the trick…. the remove the distraction so you see the illusion taking place).

By making sure you add an element of interest, a detail, an accessory, a focal point to your portrait area (decolletage and face) then you will be providing the distraction needed so that nobody notices the illusions you are creating with your illusory tools.

How to be a magician with clothes using the illusion of line and creating distraction
Distracting with a turquoise necklace to create a focal point in my portrait area.  The column of color created by the dress has an elongating effect.

Some garments have built in detail in the portrait area.  Others need you to add a detail or two to create that much needed focal point.

What distraction will you be adding to your next outfit?

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