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Horizontal layering for knitters

The straight line of that peek of ruffle, the same width as my bangs, moves the eye back and forth between my face and my decolletage

Layering with length

In her book Embody, Jacqueline Cieslak talks so eloquently about layering horizontally. Who wouldn’t want to “create striking topography across the body?” The whole book is such a love letter to fat bodies and the clothes they deserve, and it has a place in every knitter’s bookshelf.

We all grew up familiar with layering vertically – jackets over shirts or cardigans over dresses, for example – creating long vertical lines. Layering horizontally gives us a second way to play with depth and interest in our outfits by drawing lines with hems and cuffs.

Local Meadow, a dropped-shoulder design with shallow sleeve caps, uses both vertical and horizontal lines to create lots of visual interest and movement.

I don’t use the word ‘flattering’

It can be challenging to talk about how we choose the clothes that make us feel beautiful without using the word flattering. For those of us who grew up with size privilege, it simply means ‘makes us look our best.’ But for those of us in larger bodies or with certain skin colors, the word flattering can land as ‘make you look thinner,’ ‘make you look like someone else’ or ‘make your skin look less olive/lighter.’

Precise language is always more helpful!

Instead of ‘flattering,’ I try to say what I mean. Here are some of the things I often find I’m trying to convey when my brain reaches for ‘flattering:’

  • Well-fitting

  • Doesn’t distort the figure

  • Creates harmony between the wearer and the garment

  • Makes you look (and feel!) like YOU

  • Creates visual movement or interest

  • Looks balanced, symmetrical