The latest in a series of excerpts from “A Correct Costume Enhances the Wearer: Color and Line in Dress” by Laurine Hempstead, copyright 1931 – a delightful book on dressing to complement your figure with vintage tips that hold true today.
Chapter III: Necklines Frame the Face
The frame for the face provided by necklines and collars greatly influences the apparent shape of the face. Necklines should be chosen carefully with consideration of their becomingness, their effect upon the contours of the face, for probably no other detail of a garment is so important in its effect upon the appearance of the wearer.
A high, close collar covering the neck, or a scarf wrapped in high, close effect, shortens the face and thereby increases its apparent width. Horizontal lines leading the eye across the face and neck tend to increase their apparent width. The round neckline tends to carry the eye across the face and neck, increasing its apparent width and at the same time emphasizing curves in a manner that lends grace to the too thin face but exaggerates the fullness in the too broad face.
Too many folds, curves, or other details tend to accentuate irregularities in the features, to make the too full face heavy and the too thin face sharp and angular. Soft, smoothly flowing, rhythmic lines, rather than those that are harsh and rigid in outline, ten to conceal the contours of the face. They are, therefore, becoming to the majority of women, soft outlines of well-chosen shapes being more flattering than rigid lines following the same shape.
High, close coat collars, or those with a scarf worn wrapped high and close around the neck, shorten or completely cover the neck and, by shortening the are of skin exposed, decrease the length and width of the face. The collar or scarf that is draped low at the throat but high in the back gives a becoming background for the face, while, by revealing the throat, it makes the face seem longer and more slender.
A band of fur or other trimming across the top of a collar gives apparent width to the face, even when the collar is worn open, as a horizontal line is created back of the face. The more pronounced this trimming, the more decided the contrast between it and the body of the coat, the more evident is the broadening effect upon the face.
Collars that are shaped so that a point comes low over each shoulder, extending far out at the sides, tend to make both the face and figure of the wearer seem broader, for the effect is much the same as that of a horizontal line at this point….A collar cut so that the points are high and placed toward the back rather than the front of the shoulders, and cut narrow so that it does not extend across the shoulder, tends to lead the eye up and down rather than across the figure.
A collar made with wide pointed lapels, the points extending up and outward, likewise carries the ye out across the figure, making the face and shoulders appear wider. It provides a youthful boyish line that may be pertly becoming to slender faces and figures, but difficult for those that are full or heavy. Slender, narrow, notched lapels lead the eye up and down, following the lines of a narrow V. The very thin woman finds the lines too long and too severe, accenting angularity and increasing the length of her face, neck, and figure.
A short rather square or bulky collar, particularly if made of long-haired furs, tends to hide the neck and thus shorten the face, and at the same time to lead the observer’s eye outward, making both the face and figure appear more full. For the person with a thin face and neck, this is a graceful and becoming style but for many persons it is extremely difficult. The long shawl collar, forming an elongated V or oval line, makes both the face and the figure seem longer and more slender. This collar has an advantage for the face, in that, even when worn closed, it continues to form a V line rather than a straight high line. It has a disadvantage for the figure, in that, when closed, its several thicknesses of fur and fabric are concentrated over the bust, usually, particularly if long-haired furs are employed, making the top of the figure appear heavy and mature.
Start at the beginning – The Hairdress Shapes the Face
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