a question of proportion

I’m working on new designs and have found myself musing upon questions of proportion.

(please don’t laugh at my shoddy sketching. I am useless with a pencil and Fashionary is a genuine godsend for me!)

It recently occurred to me just how much, over the past twelve months or so, I have been enjoying experimenting with different shapes and proportions in what I design and knit, as well as what I want to wear.

From Strathendrick’s oversized square, with skinny sleeves . . .

to the wide lines and cropped length of the Carbeth cardigan

. . . and jumper

. . . to Pabaigh’s combination of loose grown-on sleeves and funnel neck.

These shifts in proportion have affected how I style my designs, as well as what I’m enjoying putting on my body every day.

wide-legged dungarees, worn with Polkagris kerchief

loose dropped-crotch jumpsuit, worn with Oran do Chaora

simple square-cut top, gathered balloon pants, tortoise and hare gauntlets

Big blue pants, coral-red stripey top and Traigh

I find myself wearing fewer neatly-fitting skirts and dresses and more wide, loose-legged pants and tops. And, just as in what I’m I’m designing, in what I wear I seem to feel much more interested in playing around with volume and shape, than in garments that closely fit my body.

With all this fun experimenting with new lines and proportions, I have found myself dispensing with any residual concerns about what may and may not suit my body shape. I have forgotten that high waists are supposed to be “difficult” for someone who is short waisted; that width and volume are not really “supposed” to work on those who are not tall.

I put on a very big pair of big pants the other day and Tom said I reminded him of this.

. . .the apogee of big panted style, surely.

A large part of my current shape-shifting is certainly inspired by trends (there are definitely more big pants around for those who want to wear them) but there are other reasons for it too, upon which I’ve been reflecting. After my stroke, I was frequently told what I was supposed to wear as a newly disabled person (for example, in hospital I was instructed to wear particular kinds of “leisure” clothes which were meant to be comfortable and easy but which I found alien and disconcerting). I hated such injunctions, but I also often experienced an uncomfortable conflict between what I really wanted to wear (I wanted to wear what had made me feel like me before my stroke) and what my body could actually now cope with wearing (for example, it was impossible for me to wear shoes with any kind of heel or skirts that impeded movement). Disability meant that, for the first time in my life, my choice of garments was restricted, and that my style had to be determined by physical ease and comfort as much as any look I might have wanted to achieve. As time has gone on, I’ve felt much more comfortable about feeling comfortable, as it were, and I think that a greater acceptance of physical ease has in turn freed up the way I think about things like garment shape and volume.

All of this has prompted my question of proportion: have you found yourself playing with or wearing new garment shapes at particular phases in your life? Has your attitude shifted towards different garment shapes at different moments? Did the effects of age, disability, an alteration in belief or perspective or radical physical change (like sudden weight loss or gain) ever make your make you reconsider the proportions you thought suitable for your body?

Really enjoyed your thoughtful responses to my “blue” post. All comments gratefully received.