Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1487
Pen and ink with wash over metalpoint
on paper, 34.4 × 25.5 cm
Body Proportions Explained
April 10, 2009 by 46 Comments
Proportions are important as they tell us where to end our clothes, such as hems on skirts, hems on tops and jackets.
They help to create a balanced and harmonious appearance and can help us look taller and slimmer, or shorter and curvier.
Leonardo Da Vinci developed a theory that the balanced human is 8 head lengths tall (though most women aren’t, but clothing ranges are developed upon this assumption) and that the body is broken down into the following equal measurements.
1. Head length (top of head to chin)
2. bottom of chin to nipple (mid bust)
3. mid bust to navel (narrowest part of the waist)
4. navel to leg break (this is where the leg bends up at the hip, where you will see majority of trouser creasing, and is just above the crotch).
5. leg break to mid thigh
6. mid thigh to mid knee
7. mid knee to mid calf
8. mid calf to foot
Very few people I see have these exact proportions. Most of us are longer in certain proportions and shorter in others.
What is most important if you measure your proportions is to find out if you have a longer or shorter body as compared to your legs (so top of head to leg break compared to leg break to foot).
If one proportion is longer than the other, you will need to visually balance this proportion to change the apparent length (more on that in the next post).
What I have noticed from looking at many people, is that we are proportionally SHORT where we tend to PUT ON WEIGHT first.
So, for all those A/pear shaped women, if you measured your proportions, you’d find that you are short in your thigh proportion, thus appear to have hips/bigger thighs, and it’s much harder to lose weight from this area, as you are more compacted in this area, yet you may have a long waist and flat stomach as this is where you are proportionally longer.
And for H shapes/rectangles (like me) and O (Apple) shapes, we are proportionally short through the torso, and thus put on our weight on our mid-section first, yet our legs, which may be proportionally longer (though not always) are slimmer.
Is this starting to make sense? Where do you think you are proportionally longer and shorter?