by admin on September 17, 2012

vest (as figure) against black ground

the notion of figure and ground is easy to understand in painting, photography, even shop window design.  a highlighted figure stands out against a neutral backdrop.  but what about figure and ground in wearable form?

let’s say you have a beautiful long vest, purchased with great enthusiasm and at some considerable expense.  the vest has been hanging sadly in your closet, orphaned because you can’t quite figure out how to wear it.  you’ve tried the usual approaches:  searching for other pieces that pick up its colors, matching it with items in a similar tone, perhaps using it as part of a column of color.  nothing quite does it justice.  you may even have contemplated consigning it (horrors!) or felt guilty about making an expensive shopping mistake (oy).

you are bemoaning a series of such mistakes to someone with a sympathetic ear and a good eye (in esme’s case this was her sister roz).  roz suggests a simple, but out-of-the-box-tweak:  dig out a plain black skirt and a black tee and try the long vest (in this case 2 long vests and one wide vest) over them.  against the neutral black background, the vests will show themselves at their best.  add your tall black boots, or perhaps some black sandals.  forget about scarves or jewelry and keep your make-up to a minimum. et voila!  merveilleuse!

you could use most any plain neutral garment for your ground (navy, brown, white, gray….).   your figure could be a jacket, skirt, top, necklace:  whatever you want to highlight.  esme has in mind a simple black cotton knit dress that she spied at CHARTREUSE the other day as ground, but then she’s a black person through and through.

yoshi yoshi vest against black ground long blue-grey vest on black ground

with the principle of figure and ground you just might save yourself countless years in therapy, and months of givers-away-remorse, as well as giving yourself several new outfits constructed entirely of already owned garments!

trying to figure it all out and still stay grounded,





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