For the Frill of It

Frills come in and out of fashion. Some call them ruffles (same meaning – different words). Frills can be feminine or sexy, fattening or slimming, comfortable or annoying or modern or dated. They are a fashion disaster just waiting for the wrong body shape and personality.

Frills create a 3D dimension that adds interest and texture to what you wear. So if your wardrobe is full of flat-textured tops, adding a frilled item may be the boost you need to combat your ‘nothing to wear’ complaint.

Here is my no-nonsense guide to frills.

Horizontal Frills

Women with a feminine personality tend to prefer horizontal frills.

Horizontal frills can add width and weight. Frills as neckline collars widen your shoulders and bustline depending on the frill length, the material colour the pattern and how gathered the frill is. If you are very slim, this is fine. Lightly gathered single or double frills that drape gently on plain, solid colours are less fattening. Add a soft mesh or draped jacket over it and the frill becomes less obvious and now turns into an interesting feature.

Patterned fabrics make frills more obvious and your body appears bigger. Beware of rows of whole upper-body horizontal frills as they can add weight to almost everyone. Watercolour patterns where the colours merge into each other are less fattening as the pattern on the frills are less obvious. Consider wear them under a jacket or not at all.

Frills on skirts can be either tiered or a hemline feature only. Hemline frills appeal to feminine women and are usually seen on casual clothes or evening wear. Be wary of soft-material black tiered frills on a classic straight skirt. It is not a timeless style and will only look modern for the season when it appears.

Vertical Frills

Women with a sensual personality tend to prefer vertical or diagonal frills as they are ’swishy’. They move with your body.

These frills are more slimming-friendly. Centre front frills will slim or widen depending on how wide the frill is, where it ends and how much you notice it. Some centre frills can flop around as you bend and move – very annoying for the unfussy woman.

Princess line vertical frills (on one or two sides of your body) are a very modern, slimming look. These often extend a little beyond the hemline and being sewn down, are less annoying when you move.  Diagonal frills are crossovers represented in a modern trend.

Also around are soft jackets with frilled front edges. Small, very gathered frill edges can easily look dated. Longer draped frills look more modern.

Good and Bad Ways of Wearing Frills

Horizontal frills on both skirt and top equals double the weight gain and only for the very slim. Instead wear a frilled top with plain streamlined pants, skirt, jeans or shorts. Or wear a frilled skirt with a plain smooth top and accessories to draw attention to your face. Small frills or gathers as a collar or small frills down the centre front of a button-up blouse are an old standby but not a modern classic.

Not a Fan of Frills:

Go for gentle draping like cowl necklines or ruching. Both of these have a similar effect without too much fuss. Fishtail inserts on the back of straight skirts are bias cut pieces to give a sensual frill effect minus the revealing leg split.

Always use the dressing room mirror to check from all angles, distances and do lots of bending and moving.

(Article sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ on 10 February 2011. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine.)

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