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Color Effect Upon Size

( Originally Published 1924 )

White and the warm colors, red, orange, and their intermediates, are aggressive, so that they really seem to come toward one. Anything which is near to us seems to be larger than when seen at a distance. That is why figures clothed in warm colors seem nearer and therefore larger, and figures in cool colors seem farther away and therefore smaller.

Likewise, luminosity increases size. Brilliant textures increase size; shadowy textures decrease size.

"O That This Too, Too Solid Flesh Would Melt"

A very large American woman went to a celebrated artist in dress. She was clothed in brilliant red, with many many diamonds. Pantingly and breathlessly, for it was in those dark ages of tight-lacing, she said, "Mr. Worth, what colors should I wear?" That wonderful connoisseur looked her over for a brief moment and then replied, "My dear madame, when the Creator fashioned the hummingbird and the butterfly, He made them of brilliant colors; but when He created the elephant He made it taupe !"

This does not mean that every stout woman should necessarily choose taupe, but certainly every stout woman should select dark quiet colors. The general rule that intense colors should be used sparingly always, applies particularly to the stout woman's choice of apparel. Her soul may yearn for the gay and bizarre, especially in her sport clothes—but it would be better for her to resort to the proverbial millstone and the sea if she has not sufficient will-power to refrain.

In a recent play, one of our well-known actresses who displays considerable embonpoint played the rôle of a generous, big-hearted woman who delights in gay colors and a vulgarly asserted environment. Her clothes are her introduction. In the last act, where every one, even to the butler, is in a jazzing mood, she wears a salmon pink velvet with white lace, the upper part of the costume white, the lower part pink: One may imagine the effect !

Eliminating the "Lean and Hungry Look"

But on the other hand what is necessarily taboo to our buxom sister may lend a charm to her who is emaciated rather than fashionably slender. Softly curved and attractively plump becomes the thin person who calls to her aid the magic of certain colors. She realizes the value of reflected, broken, and refracted lights in rounding out her silhouette. There are many devices she can cunningly employ through a knowledge of color. There must be no deadness or dullness—no black or dark brown. There must be no extreme harshness of intensity, but soft colors. There must be depth; rich pile fabrics, or layer over layer of soft cobwebby materials, with colors playing hide-and-go-seek among them. For afternoon, there are the light tones; for evening, pastel tints. She may choose for general wear warm, tho not brilliant, hues of certain colors that do not contrast sharply but blend to simulate pleasing textures. We might add to the French idea of black—that no one over thirty or under sixty should wear it—that the thin woman should al-ways avoid black because of the slenderizing effect which it produces.

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