Bag of Tricks

On many occasion, I have been given the blank stare or the “I don’t think so” look when I’ve taken a client shopping for the very first time. More often than not, once they try the item or outfit on – they love it.

The general response is something along the lines of “I would never have picked that up” or “you’ve got an eye for this stuff”.

Yes, most stylists have an eye for this stuff; however I am a firm believer that style can be learnt. All it takes is an understanding of your body and the principles of design (aka magic tricks of design).

The 5 key principles (Rules) of design are used to create: HARMONY. An outfit that works or what I call the ‘OHMMM’ – Zen moment.

Please note: Different books/colleges teach a greater number of principles or have different names … however they are all much the same and will heavily depend on the writers/teachers artistic background. Based on my experience in the field, I keep it simple with the above five.


1. FOCUS POINT – The Centre of Interest.

It is a design element or object that stands out above all others through use of colour, placement, size or pattern.  It will draw the eye in, so placement is key!

Where to put a focus point will depend on your body shape. The general rules are:

Keep focus points away from figure flaws or areas you want to detract from

E.g. larger belly – draw attention away by wearing a scarf, statement necklace or earrings. Avoid wearing tops with embellishments at the base, avoid wearing belts, jackets or cardigans with pockets that sit in that area (particularly pouch or flap style pockets) and avoid patterns in this area.

Draw attention to figure assets

E.g. Have a great waist – wear a contrasting coloured belt. Great hips and legs draw attention down.

You can have more than one focus point, just ensure they look visually balanced or harmonious. 

E.g. Statement necklace and shoes.

Keep an eye out for the next 4 ‘principles of design’ lessons and of course, let me know if you have any questions!


Images via Net-a-porter


One thought on “Bag of Tricks

  1. Claire says:

    I like this post a lot. I think it appeals to me knowing the science behind why something works. Looking forward to the next in the series!

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