Composition of harmony

(via totokaelo.com)

It’s hard to talk about the perfect length sans using visuals. Fortunately, the styling over at Totokaelo is so spot on – I love their take on where the pants should end on you, the perfect sleeve length that reveals the right amount of skin before hitting at the wrists, and so forth. Take a look at these photos – the separates are in harmony, which elevate the outfits from being boring and devoid of style to understatedly appealing and just no-nonsense. And the trick is… *drumroll* … to train your eyes to discern the right lengths for your body. I’ve already found mine, which makes shopping a simpler task in terms of eliminating items based on whether or not they create a harmonic silhouette.

26 thoughts on “Composition of harmony

  1. love this, love everything you post. you’re so very inspirational. i actually mentioned your blog in my second post (i only have two, just started). anyways, this is great as usual :) thank you for being such a role model!

  2. Totokaelo and La Garçonne always has amazing styling. I always want everything in their shops! The good/bad thing is that they’re not in Europe. Otherwise my wallet would be empty all the time. I think it’s great that they use the same few models all the time. It really helps to know how the garment will fit on you based on what they look like on the model. My body is a big more curvier than ‘Ande’ (pictured above) and my height is about the same as hers, so I have a pretty good idea of how something will fit me and the right size to buy. I often reference the mentioned sites to confirm the fit of a piece before buying online and it always works!

    That was a side note…regarding the length of garments, my ideal length of pants and tops are the same as you mentioned. Love slim trousers just hitting the ankle or slightly above and the show of wrist for long sleeve t-shirts and jumpers. The solid black totally reveals the cut of the garment. It truly is the quinessential fleurette uniform!

    • I agree with you re: the good/bad thing about La Garçonne and Totokaelo – sometimes it makes me so frustrated that I can’t buy things from said shops because the shipping is so expensive + the bloody expensive customs, but I guess it’s just good for my bank account. I always use La Garçonne for reference, which works wonderfully. Do you happen to know the height of Ande? I also use Metier SF for reference, as one of the models there is about my height.

      • model measurements Ande: 5’9 1/2″, 32A, 28-26-36, shoulders 14″, neck to waist 16″, sleeve 25 1/2″, denim 26/27, dress US 4, pant US 4, blouse US 4

        I like totokaelo styling, it inspires me a lot.

  3. LOVE Totokaelo — though I’m not convinced how well their particular visual composition translates to body types other than “slim,” “angular,” and “perfectly symmetrical.” Still, very inspiring. (And glad to see you posting again!)

  4. I agree with Jenny, many people that have bought things in Totokaelo been inspired by their clothing compositions have realized, when they have tried them on, that they weren’t suitable for them. I agree that you should know the right lengths for you, because they are not the same ones for everybody.

  5. believe it or not, i posted a question on this on my blog and had a post in my draft folder, inspired by that site. for me, it’s not just the length of the bottoms but the height of the booties as well. i’m thinking of cutting the top of some of my boots again. i can’t afford those expensive marants and a.p.c.s so the best i got so far are a pair of sam edelman petty. i have problem getting past myself for others that are ‘taller’. i think it’s in the opening…? the ankle margielas on the model look good.

    • I know, right? I’ve started to really like a silhouette similar to the last picture, often with a relaxed hip-length cardigan layered over the long tee, and this post just made me think “damn I need some ankle boots”.

  6. This is a great conversation on something that is so often overlooked. I, too, love jeans and trousers that fall right at my ankle. Even though I’m 5’4″ and people usually advise against it, it really lengthens me.

  7. I love ankle length trousers – I wear only flats, and I find that length to be the most complementary for flat shoes, the proportions feel right some how. My favourite sleeve length is somewhere just below my elbow, I feel like it balances out my broad shoulders.

    I think whether you’re wearing the most fantastical of outfits or the plainest, the “composition of harmony”, as you put it, is indispensible. The eye never misses these things, even if we can’t place a finger on what’s working.

  8. For a long time, I was scarred by the late ’90s/early ’00s cropped pants that had a bootcut flare to them. Not a good look! Also, to get the ankle-length pants right, the thigh can’t have too much extra material. So I avoided ankle-length pants for a long time.

    Finally I found a brand of jeans that are slim-fit but with a little of extra material in a uniform way throughout the leg (not loose on top, tight below, or the reverse). I’ve found that I can hem my own jeans and slacks at home and get precisely the length that I need. Not to sound too dramatic, but it’s really revolutionized my closet!

  9. That’s exactly what I noticed as soon as I glanced over the photos, where the ankle is showing. Some people have to have their legs and their chest out but just a little ankle makes the outfit so much more interesting on its own. Especially that trench outfit – yes please!

  10. I agree wholeheartedly about the styling – and have used the site as a source of inspiration quite a bit – but i do find, at 5″4 that many of these garments won’t fit me this way in reality, or the lengths and styles simply swamp my body. This has brought me to a sort of halt when considering buying more expensive clothes recently, for I don’t have many options other to purchase online.
    A dilemma!

  11. Lovely pictures! They really do just get it right. For me, another important factor is the neckline – a wide o-neck that shows collarbones but no cleavage is best. That outfit with the skirt and the first picture are my favourites.

  12. It’s amazing how much you can get away with as long as the details look right. I find that even the most stretched out old sweater can look exceptional if the shoulder seams hit the right spot. I pay a lot of attention to sleeve tightness too. And I agree with Kate–wide o-necks have never let me down.

  13. This collection truly reveals the importance of the perfect lenght of clothes. And it proves once again that here is nothing sexier than a little glimpse of a nicely shaped wrist. Thanks for this.

    xoxo Kathrin

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