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Ever have that moment when you look in the mirror & realize that something about your outfit is off? Whether you consciously come to the right conclusion or you take it off & throw it on the floor in frustration, you almost instinctively know that it’s not working.


The rule of thirds, or golden means ratio, is a basic aspect of design which we can see [literally] everywhere, from nature to the logo designs of famous fashion houses. It’s one of the most prevalent yet unspoken design concepts.

It’s amazing how little we are aware of this simple ratio when it comes to dressing. The rule can be explained in the simplest form like this; it is the way of dividing that will result in the most harmonious & aesthetically pleasing look.


If we think of our bodies in thirds (starting from the shoulder down to the toes), clothing proportions should basically follow a 1/3 to 2/3 ratio.

  1. In 1st look, the body is cut in half. This results in a frumpier feel & makes us appear shorter than we actually are.

  2. The 2nd look uses the more flattering 1/3 to 2/3 ratio. The shorter top shows more of the skirt & lengthens the legs resulting in a longer/leaner look.


  1. The proportions in the 1st look are skewed. The top is too short & causes us to look like a man on stilts (see pic below)

  2. The 2nd outfit follows the golden means ratio. With a slightly longer top, it takes away from the length of the pants creating a well-proportioned look.



Next time you find yourself feeling like something isn’t working, rather than writing it off completely, spend some time playing around with the proportions & the results may surprise you!

Editor in Chief: Rui Cheng

Writer: Moira McNally

Photographer: Jana Machackova-Oey

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