Many moons ago, when I was a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, I developed an affection for asymmetry. It was the end of the year, and my fit model had put on a dress that I had designed, so that I could make adjustments. Despite multiple measurements, the hem rose slightly to her right. My instructor walked by, and said very casually, “she’s not a dummy”. My bewilderment, made her stop and smile. “You’re treating her like she’s a dummy, but she’s human, and she’s not symmetrical”. Sure enough, her right hip was about a half inch higher than her left, making the hemline rise on that side.
From a distance, most humans are bilaterally symmetrical (your left side is a mirror image of your right). Take a closer look, and you’ll notice all the little differences. Some differences are courtesy of nature, and others are from your lifestyle (such as carrying your heavy handbag on one shoulder). Supposedly, humans have strong preference for symmetry, but no has figured out why. It was once thought to be a sign of health, but there is much debate about that theory. Perhaps the reason is simply that symmetry is just so familiar?
Why does fashion love asymmetry?
So if we find symmetry to be more attractive, why do we fashionistas love this trend of uneven hemlines, one shoulder tops and slashes on one side of our clothes? Just for the record, it’s not because designers want to be sloppy in their production (though I have to confess that my next fashion project in school, included an assymetrical, ruffled hem).
1. Asymmetry is unexpected, and great style is never boring. Off-center buttons make this chambray shirt so much more interesting.
2. Uneven hemlines are perfect for covering your assets.
If you have curves, your shorter skirts may hike up in the back. A hi-lo hem like this one covers your curves and draws the eyes down. For a more casual version of this skirt style, check out my earlier post Black Leggings, Move Over.
3. Asymmetry can be bold and dramatic. Leading fashion stylists have called it. Off-the-shoulder is so 2017, whereas one shoulder pieces are on trend in 2018. So get a jump start and try some bold pieces for the holidays, like this Club Monaco blouse or this BCBG one shoulder, asymmetrical hem blouse.
4. An asymmetric cut-out elevates basic style.
5. Asymmetrical style is subtly sexy. As popular as it is with celebrities on the red carpet, I find the “nude” dress trend to be tasteless. For most of us, a little shoulder exposure or a discreet cut-out is a sensuous enough.
What’s your favorite way to throw a little unexpected style into your outfit of the day?