Design is made up of elements such as line, shape, color, negative space, the rule of thirds... These things we naturally recognize as "good design" and they are pleasing to our eyes. A quick google search will turn up a lot of information on all of these elements and they can be used when decorating a home, planting a garden, taking a photograph or even getting dressed.
But today, I want to talk about one lesson in design I learned from my favorite professor, Jane.
"If you can't hide it, feature it."
You might already do this, and not know it. I did it when I rented an apartment with pink tile in the bathroom. Instead of trying everything to play down the pink, I embraced it, full force, and chose towels and accessories that highlighted the pink and gave the impression that pink tile was the only thing I ever wanted in a bathroom. It made me feel like I had the power to control the environment where I lived.
I do it when I choose bold glasses to wear because I can't wear contacts. I do it when I encouraged my friend to carry an alternative (heirloom handkerchief and family bible) to fake flowers in her wedding when she didn't have the budget for fresh ones. I do it when I notice my less-desirable personality traits surfacing and try to find ways to take advantage of the best parts of them.
Sometimes when I sew, stitching is necessary for structure or support in a place I would rather not put it. The typical solution is to choose matching thread to help the seam visually melt away, which many times I do. Sometimes though, I choose a contrasting thread color and make that seam a feature of the design. Same with zippers. Or buttons.
Many times that thing I wanted so much to hide ends up being my favorite part of the project.
What is something in your life people might "notice" that you would rather they didn't? Instead of playing it down, can you feature it in a way that makes it the star instead of the elephant in the room?
I'm Denise Meyer, apparel designer in State College, PA, saving the world one clothing problem at a time!