Aligned Shopping 101 – Bonus Lesson

Aligned Shopping 101

Lessons from Align style analysis

Bonus - How To Read Shoes

Seriously, I just enjoy how daft that title sounds.

In the previous episodes (part 1, part 2 and part 3), we’ve considered how different items of clothing have different scale, line and volume. For our bonus lesson , let’s put those things together.

I’ve chosen shoes as our example. Shoes are a tiny bit harder to read than clothes, because they are a highly confined article of clothing. You can’t change that much with a shoe before it stops being a functional shoe, after all. 

Also for that reason, the examples below are mostly wearable shoes for every day. After all, I’m Dutch. We like to keep it practical 😛

But even though there’s less obvious variation in shoe design, as compared to clothing, there are still aspects that vary in scale, line and volume, among others. They’re just a little more subtle.

Without further ado, let’s have a look.

Shoes are a little more subtle - you can't change that much about them before they stop being shoes.

Shoes and volume

Shoes - scale, line and volume
  1. The first thing we notice is the sharpness of the nose of the shoe. And there are other sharp elements: the sole is thin, the edge of the leather has a very sharp, abrupt edge. And see the way the side of the shoe dips down, almost all the way towards the sole?
    So where does sharpness fit? It’s in fact the opposite of volume. Sharpness is not an aspect of yang, contrary to what’s generally thought. I see it in both yin and yang types that are about narrowness – or low volume. So this is a very low volume shoe.
  2. There’s a lot more volume in our next example. The entire front end of the shoe is rounded. There’s more space here to fit a wider foot. The shape is softer, less ‘slim fit’, if that makes sense. Yet there is also a hint of narrowness, though. The little notches at the corners of the instep, and also an ever-so-slight taper at the toe that keeps it from being blunt. So we’re around medium to medium-high volume, but not all the way towards the maximum.
  3. This last shoe is quite similar to the second. We’re getting quite a lot of volume from the sole, which is dense and rounded. But that is lessened by the low sides and the shine. Shine induces sharpness through the highlights. So on balance, we end up with a shoe that’s about medium to medium-high in volume.

Shoes and lines

Shoes and lines
  1. We haven’t covered curvature yet – it’s another aspect of lines. This is a very good example of a very rounded shoe – there’s no straight line to be seen.
  2. Here the curvature is around medium. Lines straighten out in some sections, but there are still curves. Have a look at the heel too. It has an ever so slight diagonal shape, that helps to extend the curve of the heel.
  3. Now we’re having a shoe that has extremely straight lines. There are still curves, of course, otherwise it would not be ‘shoe-shaped’. But they’re kept to a minimum. Notice also how rectangular the heel is – compared to the previous example, it’s almost aggressive.

Shoes and scale

Shoes and scale
  1. This shoe has a heel that’s placed very far forward, nearly at the front the heel of the wearer. Therefore, the distance from the tip of the heel and the front of the shoe is very short. That makes this a small scale shoe.
  2. In this one, the heel is placed directly underneath the heel of the wearer. That makes it medium scale.
  3. You feel this coming… with the heel placed as far back as possible, this is a large scale shoe.

And that concludes the Lessons of Align blog series! It’s only a brief taste of the knowledge and insights clients get when they have their analysis with me. During a two hour Skype session, we go much deeper into scale, line and volume, as well as silhouette, curve, angles, fabrics and detail – all with examples from clothes. 

This is what a recent client had to say about her experience: 

My recent analysis with Florentina was quite a revelation!  I’ve been analyzed in two other systems but never had the “ah-ha” moment that Florentina’s insight gave me. I greatly appreciate that she didn’t try to force me into a box by labeling me with an “essence” or giving me a specific style type to adhere to.  

For the first time in a long time, I felt perfectly at peace with my body.  No more dressing to try and hide certain areas, elongate others, or mask my proportions.  Nothing about my body needs to be changed; I just need to dress authentically.

My love of horizontal stripes always confused me, as they are often listed as a total “no-no” for someone with wide shoulders and a large bust.  With Florentina’s insight, I discovered that I have a lot of horizontal yang, so those stripes are actually harmonious on my body.  

Also, using her suggested technique I was able to successfully wear blush for the first time!  Past attempts had been all wrong because my proper application is exactly the opposite of what “conventional wisdom” recommends for my face shape.  

So many of her recommendations are like that, opposite of what we all read to be right for our body type. I now realize why most of those guidelines are useless.  Honoring your shape looks so much more beautiful than fighting it.  

My new understanding of what looks best on me will undoubtedly save me a ton of money and frustration during future shopping trips. I feel liberated and excited about new possibilities. Thank you, Florentina! 

If you would like to know what clothes really suit your body with incredible precision, including examples of how to turn them into your favourite style, then Align might be for you too!

Availability is limited and spots for 2019 are filling up fast, but it’s still possible to get on my waiting list for this year. Email me at florentina[at], where you can also reach me if you have questions. 

Plus, there's something I need your advice on

I’m considering to change the way I work with Align. So far, appointments have been one-on-one, and it’s been great to have that focus, that deep dive with just one person. But I’d like to be able to help many more women. 

One way to do that, would be to do group calls for each type. I’d love to know if you’d be interested in a group analysis, where you would get your video session together with other women of the same body type. The cost would be slightly less per person, too. Please let me know in the comments or via email, if you would like me to offer that.   

If enough of you are interested, I can start to investigate the logistics. So don’t be shy to let me know what you think (there’s no commitment!). 

For now, I had a great time sharing these lessons with you, and I hope you enjoyed it as well! See you soon on the blog. 

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