From the gentle undulation of a hill-scape, the swirls in a paisley pattern to the languorous curves of the female form, there are few things as inviting as curved lines.

Unlike a straight line which can be quickly and easily followed by the eye, the curved line or feature causes the eye to slow down in order to take in its highs and lows. These lines are then interpreted by the brain as features that increase volume or size and the effect is enhanced the larger or longer the feature, pattern or line is. 

Curvedorganic groupSource: Top Image, Bottom Image

Curved lines also have their own set of effects and associations:

  • Physical: can increases apparent weight and width, holds attention.
  • Psychological: calming, nurturing, abundant.
  • Impression: feminine, gentle. soft, relaxed, graceful.
  • Associations: women, romance, elegance. 
  • As a Pattern: Seem most commonly in casual or dressy garments.  Should be worn in limited amounts to work.

These impressions are intuitively developed through our experience with objects that contain these shape throughout our lifetime.  Curved design lines and features can be found: 

  • within patterns: such as florals, polka dots, and spots, paisley, fluid, flowing patterns, etc.

Circular print groupbSource

  •  as structural components: contoured silhouettes, bubble skirts, scoop and cowl necklines, puff and leg-of-mutton sleeves.

CurvedshapedgroupSource 

  • garment detailing or embellishments: gathers, buttons, ruffles, paneling, draping, scalloped or round edges, etc.

CurvedEmbellishmentsGroupSource

  •  fabrics: such as lace and anything furry/fuzzy.

FuzzySweatersSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

  • accessories: scarves, bags, toes of shoes, earrings, etc.
CurvedAccessoriesGroup
Source: Top Row: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3 Bottom Row: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3 

So Many Uses  

The wearing of garments with curved lines or features is best achieved when it feels in-sync with your personal style expression

Curved lines can be employed to:

  • subtly add shape to a straight body, 
  • add a few extra kilos/pounds to a light frame.
  • highlight your God-given curves.
  • add a some feminine allure, to help you soothe, smooth or glide your way through a situation.
  • balance the body where one area is larger than the other e.g., if you have a triangle body shape, wearing a top with circular design lines or features can balance your body and create a more hourglass silhouette.  
  • soften the image of a person who is perceived to be strong, aggressive or unfriendly.
  • soften an all black outfit.

How to Style Curved Lines in Fashion

This is the fourth installment of my major design line features.

For the other three click:  The Vertical Advantage, Horizontal Help and Dynamic Diagonals.

  1. Really good to know more about where curves can be employed. Thanks Ann.

  2. Hi Ann,
    I love your articles! They are short, simple, to-the-point and informative. Thank you.
    Denise (a fan from California)

  3. Good post! We are linking to this partіcularly great artiсle on our site.
    Кeep up the greɑt writing.

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