I recently read a blog by Ken Downing, fashion director of Neiman Marcus, in which he talked about the importance of keeping attention on the face. He tells of having grown up observing his mother and grandmother in front of the mirror asking the proverbial, “Does this dress make me look fat?” Entering the fashion industry, this mantra was expanded to, “My hips are too big”, “My bust is too small”, “These dressing room lights do nothing for me”, and on and on. Early in his career at Neiman’s, he assisted famous Hollywood designer, Bob Mackie, on one of his runway shows. Mackie made a grand gesture around the model’s face and stated, “It all happens around the face, and the rest gets lost in the folds.”
Sage advise. Downing goes on to promote the use of necklaces and earrings to bring attention to the face. Unfortunately, in some of the catalogues that I receive from Neiman’s, there is often no attention paid to scale or harmony with the neckline of the dress. Let’s look at some examples from Neiman’s web site.
The key detail of this brown dress is the asymmetric neckline. Any necklace is going to fight with this detail so I would choose earrings – not too big and not too small but in proportion with the face of the wearer. Voila! You have an accent drawing attention to your face without detracting from the dress design.
Why do you want the attention on your face you may ask? Ideally, anyone you encounter notes your face first then scans down your body, the shoes relate to your hair drawing the eye back to your face. How can anyone focus on a conversation with you if they are observing everything but your face?
This floral dress makes a statement with the print but could be accented with medium earrings and a chain nestled inside the dress neckline.
These necklaces are shown on the same dress but the effect is strikingly different. Notice how the choker adds sparkle around the face without competing with the neckline. In the other example, this necklace overpowers the simple, sleek design of the dress and would be too large a scale for most wearers. Notice the disharmony between the necklace and the dress. The necklace is strong and bold – comprised of circles. The dress is simple elegance with straight lines and angles. Of course, they do not complement each other!