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In almost any haircut, makeup application or wardrobe I do, it is the creation of balance that is ultimately appealing. We are attracted to balance. We feel good when things are in balance. If you want to look good you take your extremes in proportion and balance them through illusion. That’s all there is to it. Creating symmetry where you are not.

The Big Five—Fundamentals every woman should know

I call them the big five. They are the source of every fashion, hair and skincare beauty tip. If you understand these, you will then understand the fundamentals of beauty that apply to any art form, from flower arrangement to architecture. And looking beautiful is an art. Particularly as you age.

These fundamentals include: Line, Proportion, Color, Texture and Accent

Line

The eye follows a line. The faster the eye moves across the line the longer and slimmer the line appears. Anything that breaks or stops the movement of the eye along a line shortens and draws attention to the break. If you are looking to appear as tall and slim as possible you want as few breaks in line as possible.

Line is created in the entire silhouette of your body and each individual part that makes up your silhouette. There is the hair line, the neck line, the jaw line, the brow line, the lip line. You have garment lines in seams, hems and lapels. How these lines interact and flow will determine where the eye rests. You must determine where you want the eye to rest and use line to direct it.

Remember these rules are for the line of your silhouette. I use them throughout the book. Whether it’s in relation to your makeup, hair or clothing, these everlasting rules will help you look your best.

•    Diagonals and vertical lines slenderize.

•    Round adds pounds.

•    Horizontals add heft.

•    Square evokes masculine.

•    Oval evokes feminine.

Proportion

Balance, scale, proportion. The human eye is attracted to symmetry and balance. Studies confirm that even babies are more attracted to a face that is balanced and proportionate.

The eye is drawn to the culprit of disproportion. Imbalance creates disharmony and wherever it is we notice. Whether it’s your hair in relation to your face, your hips in relation to your shoulders, or your eyes in relation to your lips, balance in figure and features is a desired goal.

Color

Color incites feelings in us all. Our eyes are drawn to color. Wherever you put color on your body the eye will rest for a moment. It makes most sense then to have color near and around your face as that is where the attention should be.

There are entire books on color analysis, how we react emotionally to color, and what colors combine well together. This is an emotional topic, wide-ranging in focus, so I try to keep it very basic in my explanation—think warm and cool. Most people look best with either warm colors, or cool colors near their face. It is to your advantage to understand what warm and cool colors are, and which look best in your hair, your makeup, and the clothing near your face.

It’s not just color but hue and intensity that create balance. When you paint a room dark, you create the illusion that it’s smaller. When you wear black pants your butt looks smaller than when you wear white. People look at the light colors first. Use color blocking to your advantage. Whether in your hair, makeup or clothes, use light colors on areas you want to look larger or get more attention, and dark colors on areas you want to look smaller or get less attention.

Texture

Textures range from smooth and flat to bulky and rough. Texture can accentuate or minimize. It can add heft or slenderize. By increasing texture where you want fullness and decreasing it where you want slimness you can create balance and proportion.

The bulkier the texture, the heavier you’ll look. From fur and feathers to flat matte knits the more texture, the more fullness. Texture can also hide or reveal any flaws. Take wall paint for instance. Flat paint hides the flaws, and gloss reveals them. So too, wearing anything shiny or sparkly will instantly reveal and draw attention to any imperfection.

Texture can also be created with pattern. Large patterns expand what they are placed upon and small patterns diminish. Texture draws the eye to or away. Adding texture to a haircut will give movement and help create the illusion of more fullness. Too much texture, however, adds fullness but eliminates shine. When it comes to hair, too much texture is not a benefit.

As we age the texture of our makeup needs balance. Dewy draws attention to wrinkles and uneven texture faster than satin over cellulite. Overly matte will remove any glow creating a look akin to a corpse. Balanced texture is always flattering.

•    Avoid shiny or frosty makeup. Bid adieu to dramatic frosts, extreme gloss, dewy foundation and sparkly bronzers and blushes.

•    Consider adding texture to hair for fullness and bounce or removing texture for shine.

•    Choose flat matte clothing texture for the most slenderizing look.

•    Wear bulky textures where you want to increase focus and fullness.

•    Consider that shiny and sparkly fabrics, which catch light, are best worn over a smooth surface.

Accent

Accents are the ultimate attention getters. They give any outfit a boost. Accents include, buttons, scarves, jewelry, bows, metal ornamentation, stones, fabric, prints, glass, and ceramic - the list continues. You can make any outfit come alive with the right theme of accents.

Accents take the other four fundamentals and put them into one big focus. Think strategically about the placement of accents and use them to attract or distract; to add excitement and interest, to create a mood, feeling or attitude.

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Renee Robinson wrote Jun 28, 2009
    • What do you do for a woman who has very slender legs but a large bosom?  I have always fought with how to look my best considering my body type.  I have small arms as well.

      My greatest assets are my breast and hour glass figure—it needs toning and updated however.

      Please offer some suggestions.

      Thank you.

      Renee



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Suzann wrote Jun 28, 2009
    • This is marvelous advice. I especially like your section on what to change as we get older. I still haven’t been able to give up my shiny under-eyebrow highlighter, but I’m trying!!!

      Best,
      Suzann
      [Link Removed]


      Suzann, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Christopher Hopkins wrote Jul 14, 2009
    • It is, again, about proportion.  Not exaggerating extremes.  I’m guessing you mean skinny legs that lack a lot of shape.  Yes, you will look top heavy by accentuating slim legs.  (leggings and a big top can make you look like you‘re about to tip over).  

      Show that waist, open the neckline, keep skirts and slacks a little straighter (not too tapered.)

      Hope that helps!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Christopher Hopkins wrote Jul 14, 2009
    • LOL.  I love the shiny under brow highlighter.  But truly...save it for evening.  :)  You’ll notice more in photos...like...oh yeah...



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