Scale Strategy

Scale Strategy – Bring It Together

You now know the scale clues from your color contrast, body proportions and body frame size. It’s time to create an overall scale strategy by bringing these clues together.

Have you ever tried on a top in a store that looks great on your body? You need something to wear to a party, the overall style fits your personality the top’s silhouette follows your body. The colors enhance the color of your skin, hair and eyes. Horizontal and vertical lines lie in all the right places. But, something feels wrong. Since everything seems to be good about it and you need something to wear to the party, you buy it. You wear it to the party. However, ever since the party it has sat in your closet adding to the clothes you don’t wear.

The issue with this top is the print size or scale. Too big of prints over power you. Too small of prints don’t add value.

When it comes to creating a closet full of clothes and accessories you love to wear, the last element is determining your overall scale strategy. For your prints and accessories, you look for scale size that adds value without overpowering. Like a vocal group singing in harmony, scale of prints and accessories along with clothes’ silhouettes, design lines, color/color combinations, and placement of horizontal/vertical lines all have their own note to sing creating depth in the overall picture.

In this post you will learn:

  • What is scale
  • Combining color contrast and body frame size clues
  • Adding body proportion clue
  • Your scale strategy

What Is Scale

Scale relates to the actual and visual size of a print or accessory. For example these prints show actual size differences in scale:

Large, medium and small print scale

While these dots are the same size, see how on the left  the dot’s visual scale appears larger than the ones on the right. Since the dots on the right are just an outline it creates a sense of feeling lighter than the ones on the left.

Visual Scale

Likewise a necklace’s scale refers not only to actual size but also to how it visually feels.

Necklace Scale Visual Weight

The next step you determine your scale size.

Combine Color Contrast And Body Frame Size Clues

The first step to determining your scale strategy is to combine color contrast and body frame size clues. I’m not including body proportion yet because its clues relate to specific body areas: i.e. chin to bust. Color contrast and body frame size clues relate to the whole body.

Next refer back to your color contrast and body frame size scale clues from the previous posts. Then combine the clues as shown below. For same clues the result is: 


  • Large Body Frame + High Color Contrast = Large scale
  • Medium Body Frame + Medium Color Contrast = Medium Scale
  • Small Body Frame Size + Low Color Contrast = Small Scale

If you’re like me with opposite clues the result is: 

  • Small Body Frame Size + High Color Contrast = Medium Scale
  • Large Body Frame Size + Low Color Contrast = Medium Scale

Clues result for one step apart is:

  • Medium Body Frame Size + Low Color Contrast = Small/Medium Scale
  • Small Body Frame Size + Medium Color Contrast  = Small/Medium Scale
  • Large Body Frame Size + Medium Color Contrast = Medium/Large Scale
  • Medium Body Frame Size + High Color Contrast = Medium/Large Scale

Add In Body Proportion Clue

Body proportion scale clue enters the picture when viewing accessories or prints (i.e. a scarf) worn in a particular area, for example, a necklace worn between the chin to bust.

Start out with your overall scale determined in the section above. Then adjust it for the body area clue. For instance, you determined that you have an overall scale size of medium and the area between your chin to bust is:

  • Short — Decrease the scale of necklaces to medium/small or small
Body Proportions Short Chest Necklace
  • Same — Leave the scale as medium
  • Long — Increase the scale of necklaces to medium/large or large

Make adjustments in every body section:

  • Head to chin
  • Chin to bust
  • Bust to waist
  • Waist to crotch
  • Crotch to knees
  • Knees to floor

You might think: Why do I need to know the area between my knees and the floor? You might want to wear an ankle bracelet. To wear your greatness, the scale matters.

Your Scale Strategy

Now the fun really starts. Go to your closet and look at that one outfit you love to wear. Does it have a print?  Is it the size you just determined? I bet it’s close.

Do you have other prints in your closet? Look at them to see if they have the right scale.

If you don’t have prints in your closet because you never know what print to wear, or none of the prints are the right scale, go on what I call a “learning shopping trip.” Put different sizes of prints to your face to determine your sweet spot. When you find the perfect print size take a picture of it so you can compare it to other print scales.

Next, look at all your accessories. Does the scale match your scale for that area? To get more information go on a “learning shopping trip.” Try on different accessories, for example, necklaces. Put various sizes of necklaces around your neck (with the shapes matching your face shape). Determine the best scale size for you. Take a picture wearing the necklace so you have a reference point when actually buying necklaces. Do this for all accessories.

Did you have an “ah ha” moment? What was it? Write in the comments below. I look forward to reading your comments.

If you are wondering: How do I really know if I have the right scale or the design lines are really in the correct place? In the next post I will give you tactics that can help you know if you got it right.

Wear Your Greatness!!

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