Friday, October 11, 2013

Learning from Art: Faces and Necklines

This is a sort of subtle thing that you only notice when you're looking for it... But sometimes, something will just look right, or wrong, and you can't put your finger on it.  If you notice the relationship between the length of the face, from hairline to chin, and then the length of the distance between the chin and the neckline of clothing, you will often see a harmonious matching of proportions.  Like these:


Jacques Louis David: Madame de Pastoret and Her Son 
Jean Antoine Houdon:  Bust of Anne-Marie-Louise Thomas de Domangeville de Serilly, Comtesse de Pange
Joshua Johnson: Mrs. Andrew Bedford Bankson and Son, Gunning Bedford Bankson

13 comments:

  1. I had never understood why I looked so...off...in a deep neckline. THANK YOU.

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  2. Never knew this but NOW I see why I feel infinitely more comfortable in certain necklines - THANKS !

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  3. I love this post!! It's good when we come up with a rational and mathematical formula - now off to measure my face...

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  4. So many times I hear women in a swivet about a moderately deep v-neckline on a sweater or top. They are terrified of it being too low. But often, the depth is necessary for balance, and a close-fitting cami addresses the fear of incipient cleavage.

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  5. Many years ago, I decided that crew necks and boat necks and even "short" v-necks looked bad on me. I have a classic oval face and thought any style neckline would work, but I finally decided to stick to deep U-shape or deep V-shape necklines (with an occasional deep square neckline). I FINALLY understand the "math" behind why these necklines work for me. I love the deep U-neck of the last portrait. Thank you for this post.

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  6. I think you can mimic the same dimensions by wearing a necklace of similar length if you prefer not to wear an open neckline.

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    1. Or a scarf. I always tie the knot to my long skinny scarves at a certain spot and after reading this I realized it right about where the neckline ought to fall.

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  7. There's a reason those deep necklines are called "portrait necklines." They frame and draw attention to the face and elongate the neckline for maximum flattery.

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  8. V-neck vs. crew neck: I'd rather be a wine glass than a beer can.

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  9. Breaks up the visual bulk of a larger chest, too. I was wondering where this formula leaves turtlenecks

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    1. I think you can create the lines on the turtleneck and other high necklines withna necklace in just the right length. Someone mentioned a scarf tied at the right point, as well.

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  10. Wow, clever thinking there. Makes perfect sense - humans seem to love symmetry.

    I've got a round face with a bit of a double chin from the wrong angle, so I'm always looking at scooped necks, v necks, maybe a cowl neck but certainly no turtlenecks or chokers.

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