Fashion Magazine

How to Use the Golden Mean Ratio to Dress

By Imogenl @ImogenLamport

Hello–thank you for the wonderful website.

It made me think while reading your advice on Column of Color–could you address the fashion rule of thirds for everyone–research does not reveal that much and I’d like it specifically geared toward what constitutes 1/3 and 2/3 with our outfits.

Thanking you in advance!

rule of 3rds


rule of 3rds by imogenl featuring a blue maxi skirt

So what is the rule of thirds? It’s the breaking up of the body into uneven proportions (in thirds). You can see the two outside pictures are in 1/3 to 2/3 ratios, the two middle pictures are splitting the body into halves and it doesn’t look as visually appealing.

column of color rule of thirds


column of color rule of thirds by imogenl featuring a silk wrap dress

When you’re using the column of color concept it’s still great to dress using the golden mean ratio (which relates to the rule of thirds).

We really like uneven proportions, when we dress in a 1:1 ratio (halves) we find it looks blocky, boxy and unflattering. Using a 1:2 ratio where we have a longer proportion and a shorter proportion (1/3 or 2/3) will elongate your body and provide a more aesthetically pleasing appearance.

When you look at these examples it’s easy to see that using a column through the center of your body then adding a shorter proportion in another color is really pleasing.

It’s really common for

rule of 3rds column


rule of 3rds column by imogenl featuring tux pants

You will notice in this example the outfit on the left with the longer top shortens the legs, and even though the jacket and pants create a column of colour, the longer top and alternate color shoes shorten the overall look and create a boxy equal halves appearance.

In the outfit on the right with the shorter top and the boots (with heels) create a 1:2 ratio and a more appealing look.

This is why cropped pants can be so unflattering on many who are not particularly tall (and who have shorter legs than body proportions), as they shorten the already shorter proportion and throw off the balance.

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