Aligned Shopping 101 – Lesson 3 Volume

Aligned Shopping 101

Lessons from Align style analysis

Part 3 Volume

In our last episode of the Lessons of Align, the focus lies on sweaters. We will see how scale and line work together to create volume.

Why volume? It’s not the first thing you think of when you ask ‘what looks best on me?’. Yet most people already know whether they look better in loose fit, ‘parallel fit’ or tight clothes. The secret to understanding why is knowing your volume optimum. It’s a game changer, I promise.

Any item of clothing has a shape, and that shape needs to be congruent with the shapes in your body to look good. Volume is the first aspect of shape that I consider with Align.

To understand volume, you first need to know how scale and line work, read the previous posts here, and here. Shapes, or surfaces, are created by combining horizontal and vertical lines. Volume is like the scale of a shape. It makes sense that larger scale items have larger volume, therefore. But as we will see, it’s possible to play with horizontals and verticals to vary the amount of volume.  

There are many ways in which clothes have horizontal and vertical lines

Below, we’ll do just that with sweaters. Let’s have a look.

Large scale sweaters and volume

Volume in sweaters
  1. This sweater has high volume. It’s not bulky like you would expect from a high volume sweater – the volume is vertically oriented. We know it has large scale because its length is pretty maxed out. And as it’s not very fitted, there’s some horizontal width as well, emphasised by the horizontal stripes. Together, that makes this sweater have high volume.
  2. The second sweater in the row is closer to what you would expect from a high volume sweater. Now the volume is oriented more horizontally. See how the sweater is shorter and wider, blousier even than the previous one? The texture on the sweater is an interesting play on lines, by the way. It’s still quite long so the vertical is definitely there, but it’s obscured by the heavy rows of diagonals, and by the wide plaited column in the middle, all of which help break up the vertical length.
  3. Our third sweater has some verticals (because of the length), and extremely strong horizontals (because of the fabric folds and neckline). But despite the horizontals, we’re getting slightly less volume than for the previous two. The item has a softer feeling since the fabric is lighter and the fit is closer to the body.
  4. The last item has ditched almost all horizontals, and as a result the volume is less still. The tight fit, long length and a thin ribbed knit give us mostly verticals. The lack of horizontals makes the volume as low as it could be on a large scale item, almost coming down to medium.  

So there’s a pretty direct correlation between scale and volume, Items that have wider horizontals and/or verticals give more volume. Small scale items have less volume. But there are other ways to adjust volume. Here are some more examples of sweaters:  

Medium to small scale sweaters and volume

Volume in sweaters 2

5. The verticals from the length are pretty medium, and the horizontals are short as the fit is tight. We’re supposed to get medium-low volume from that. But the textured knit once again obscures the vertical and sort of infuses volume into this item. The volume therefore is medium-heavy, slightly heavier than we would expect based on scale alone. 

6. This sweater has medium-heavy volume, and actually happens to be medium to large scale, so this sweater is pretty standard. It’s medium long and medium wide, and the ruffle adds some soft volume too.

7. This is a funny one. We’re still getting medium-heavy volume, but in a totally different proportion. There are very strong horizontals and extremely short verticals. Eagle-eyed readers might spot a ribbed knit that’s supposed to emphasise verticals. Yet for this sweater, the vertical knit is totally underwhelming next to the horizontal volume.

8. Finally, this is an example of a low volume sweater that also small scale.

Volume considerations

We’ve seen that volume can be the result of large scale in horizontal or vertical lines, the external dimensions of an item. On top of that, the internal dimensions of an item, created by  print, texture and fabric, can optically alter the volume too.

Volume in knit sweaters is pretty obvious. Where else might knowing your volume optimum help you make better choices? For example with the size of your neckline, collar and lapels, and the fit your pants. It’s also a major determinant of what hairstyle suits you best, and it will even help you pick a mascara. Some people are at their best using a volume mascara, others will want a defining mascara.

When I do an Align analysis with a client, we consider scale, lines, and volume first. These help to determine the silhouette, proportion, fabrics, textures, and detail that the client looks her best in.

What volume looks best on you? Tell us about it in the comments!

***Last call for Align appointments at my introductory price***
Currently all spots are sold out, but it’s still possible to get on my waiting list for a spot at the introductory rate of 200 euro. Don’t wait too long, because price will go up to 300 euro after Easter 2019.  

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One thought on “Aligned Shopping 101 – Lesson 3 Volume

  1. Pat says:

    Great suggestions, know and understand your shape….voluminous clothing items make me work too hard to fit my H straight shape. This series has been so insightful, thank you.

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