Rule Of Thirds

Saturday was a beautiful fall day, so we took a short drive up to Abingdon, Virginia, to shop, walk, and enjoy a light dinner at Figaredos. We appreciate this place because the small food servings are excellent, and the service is top-notch. It offers a unique menu with classic Spanish tapas, brick oven pizza, and selected wines. We always sit in the comfortable club chairs by the window and watch people while we unwind after spending the afternoon exploring, shopping, and looking at all the beautiful old buildings.

This combination of a short biker jacket and full-length slim-fit jeans is a good look for me because it visually breaks my body into thirds. The top is one-third of my body, and the lower part is two-thirds of my body, making me look tall and slender.

Architecture is always pleasing to the eye with structural balance, harmonious elements, and proper proportion. The human body also appears more attractive in specific combinations of styles and accessories over other options. When I wear a longer top, it cuts my body in half visually, making me look shorter and broader, so it can be tricky to get this combination to work on my 5′ 5″ frame. If you are tall and slim, you can wear those longer tops and jackets with great success with long legs.

  1. You are an inspiration to older women. I just found your blog and FB a few months ago. I have been going through a rough time and have decided to take control of my life again. Instead of being frumpy I am changing my diet and attitude. I am 63 years old. I love that you posted about Abingdon Va. We are searching for places to move after Hubby retires and that is one City we are thinking about. The pictures look beautiful.

  2. You look great & what a beautiful town. Love the photos of the fall scenery, older buildings & mossy stones. Gorgeous! Appreciate the 1/3 top 2/3 bottom demo photo as well…was very helpful. Big thanks for no annoying banners & pop ups! Great post.

  3. I, too, am 5’6″ and have to admit I never thought about shorter top making my legs look longer. I’ve always bought longer tops to cover my waist and hips. I’ve already started following your tip about wearing shoes the same tone as my pants. I’ll have to think about the shorter tops but I do wonder if you would think they would draw attention to my heavier waist and hip area rather than camouflaging it?

    Your look is great and the town looks like it would be such fun to explore. I think it is sad how political correctness is trying to destroy the heritage of these southern cities.

  4. I enjoy your blog and especially appreciate being able to read your posts without two or three banners popping up and interfering with being able to see the page. I have stopped reading some bloggers who accept so much advertising that you can’t see THEIR content. I also appreciate that you wear your clothes over and over. Most of us can’t buy a new piece of clothing every day and only wear it once or twice. Thank you for the lovely fall pictures as well!

  5. I love the pictures. What a lovely town! I also love that jacket. What fabric is it? You look beautiful, as always

  6. Just want to let you know I appreciate your “clean” blog site. When I click on your email, I know I can get to your site, read today’s article and click on any links I’m interested in. I know everything will work. Other sites with a million ads, banners and images take forever to load and I often give up and just hit delete. Keep up the great job!

  7. Such a lovely town – you must take photos early to avoid people milling around. It has been so crowded in NYC lately (although it is always crowded!) that I never see any street at any time without people on it.

    I always think of proportion when dressing and totally agree that the silhouette and as they call it “the golden ratio” is so important in creating a flattering look.

  8. Thank you for the pictures showing your snazzy outfits and how beautiful you look in them. I am struggling for the proper lengths, looks, and items for petite size women. I am 5′ and would love to know what is best for me.

    1. Always make sure your clothing fits you well. Show ankles and wristbones often. Keep handbags and other accessories in proportion. Wear one color from top to bottom so that you don’t have too many horizontal breaks on your body. Find a petite style icon who you admire and study what makes her looks successful. I searched “petite style” on Pinterest and found more than 140 suggestions and links to articles that might be helpful to you.

      1. Thank you for your much appreciated fashion advice! I wish I could take you shopping with me!!! Living in Pennsylvania provides us with 4 seasons for acquiring appropriate clothing. All seasons offer beautiful scenery. You are so inspiring and look awesome in whatever you wear.

  9. Could you advise what material the tank from Chicos is made of. I have browsed their site but there are several. Thanks!!! Love this look on you!!!

  10. What would your suggestion be for those of us that are tall but not slender? Thank you for all your wonderful looks!

    1. I would make sure that my jackets stopped at the most slender part of my hips. Never created a horizontal line across your widest portion. A long top that hugs a part you may consider large, might be showcasing that part of you instead of hiding it.

  11. Is there a Code for My Fair Lady this month? I tried Nov17 and it didn’t work. Thanks Susan. I should have ordered that jacket when you first showcased it.

  12. Hi Susan,
    Another post with great ideas, stunning pictures, and you looking great.
    We travel to NH in the summer from Texas and stop in Abingdon. Because we have our dog we have to have takeout from the Tavern…They always include real silverware and napkins, and we leave them at their front door the next morning. Their weinerschnitzel is the best! One of our favorite towns. Hope to be back this summer, but we were flooded in Houston, so we are hoping for the best. Thanks for memories of our last few summers better days.
    Holly Rigby

  13. This is such a flattering outfit on you Susan – you always look great, but even more so in this. I love that the jacket has a slight peplum look and defines and slims the waistline and the shades of grey are perfect colours on you.

  14. I love this outfit. Thank you for sharing pictures of this lovely town.
    I’m 5’4″ and your formula of thirds works best for me as you have shown it. However, I did succumb to leggings and therefore have several tunics.

  15. What a beautiful place to visit. Great photographs of the scenery, including you, Susan! The jacket and jeans are so good looking.

  16. Wow! The photos are gorgeous, but you are even more so! If only I could look that good in a pair of jeans. Sigh. If only I had those genes! Hahahaha! Can’t wait to try Figaredo’s. The menu looks delish. Thanks for the wonderful fashion advice. Time to rethink my “thirds”!

  17. Susan, I’ve just come across your page and can’t say thank you enough.
    I live in Australia and getting proper advice on clothes and how to wear them and with what is great and you look fabulous!Marie

  18. What beautiful pictures of both you and Abingdon. Thank you again for continuing to educate us without all those pop ups and ads. Your illustration of the thirds principle has certainly got me thinking again.

  19. Hi Susan, What do you say about women who are short. I am barely 5 feet and weigh 120. My bone structure is average and I have a straighter figure, not curvy. What would you recommend for me with regard to proportion?

    1. Proportion is always your primary concern when you have a petite frame (under 5’4″). Search for style ideas for the rectangle figure. I found several good examples on Pinterest here.

  20. Susan, I have followed you for some years and I have learned so much. I appreciate all you share to help the rest of us learn what you have figured out on your journey. By, the way, I think your outfit today is one of your best ever — I really like the short jacket on you!
    I have a question and I hope you have some insight for me.
    I am 5 feet 4 inches, have full bust (but not huge), a short waist and a tummy, but I do have a waist and hips. Legs and arms are thin. I weight about 144. I really love the look of scarves, especially the longer, rectangular ones looped around the neck and tied in various clever ways. They are such attractive accents on most people. But, they look horrible on me! They seem to just add weight to my chest and leave me looking cluttered. They don’t do anything to give a longer, leaner look.
    Am I choosing the wrong scarves, the wrong fabric or shape, using the wrong knot? Or is it me and my build? Is this something I need to accept as just not a look that will work for me?
    Your thoughts would me most appreciated!
    Susan (in Texas, where we don’t wear scarves too often anyway!)

    1. There are a couple of posts on my old blog that might help you determine where and how to place the knot so that the scarf doesn’t add volume where you don’t want it. Look at the post here and the post here.

    2. I have a very full bust so avoid scarves although I love the chic look they can create and the color/style they add to an outfit. I also find the lighter weight the scarf the better for this middle age woman, even in Chicago! I did a quick search for styling scarves for full busts and there were multiple videos out there. Good luck!

  21. Lovely look — clean and classic with a bit of edge! What do you think of shorter jackets for women with fuller busts and bellies? I’ve heard to avoid them so the jacket doesn’t break at the fullest point — the belly. Do you think this rule of thirds is for all shapes/sizes? Curious. Thanks! I am delighted to follow along and learn more.

    1. My best jacket style has one button which I rarely close. It ends where my legs bend or mid-behind. I often push up the sleeves. Showing the full length of my leg works best for me with low heel shoes.

  22. Loved reading this entry. Just spent a couple of days in Abingdon.
    Your concept of thirds makes sense for my 5’3″ body. But other times you wear longer tops, sweaters, etc. and do it beautifully. Have you addressed ‘how-to’ do this, in a former blog, for short people like me.

  23. I love your blog and your look. I’m determined to become more colour coordinated in 2018 and I’m watching your videos for help and inspiration.
    I also live near Abingdon, however it’s Abingdon on Thames and it’s in the Uk!

  24. Hello Susan,

    First, I’d like to tell you I enjoy your posts and find them very helpful.

    When you said the longer tops are not worn as well on shorter women, what about the ones with asymmetrical hemlines such as the ones short on one side and longer on the other?

    I very much enjoy and look forward to your posts.

    1. Asymmetrical hemlines do not have the same effect of cutting us in half because they keep the eye moving. It is the tops that are straight across and end at our widest point or at the halfway mark of our height that can be a challenge to wear.

  25. Hello Susan,
    But, my Dear, you ARE tall and thin- at least to me- lol- I’m 5’1(almost)” 165 lbs…but I think the Rule of Thirds is great advice for anyone. I wear women’s petite sizes. Thanks for the entry and the very nice pics. You are gorgeous. I’m a new sub-
    Carole Hart
    Portland, OR

  26. Thank you for the ,’thirds’ lesson. I am turning 61 this month and have been having a fashion crisis since I left my 40’s. Here’s hoping to dressing better soon.

  27. Hi! I’m OBSESSED with that jacket! I followed the shopping link but it doesn’t seem to be available on that site. Do you happen to know where else I could buy it? I’ve legit been looking for a similar style studded moto jacket for the past year but haven’t been able to find one that was ‘just right’. This jacket is exactly what I’ve been trying to track down!! 🙂 Thank you!

  28. Great photos and beautiful architecture !
    I don’t think I have seen the early American building style yet.
    If I like to visit Virginia which city do you recommend to fly to?
    I live in San Diego area!
    As always you look so young and chic!
    How do I buy the cloth you recommend?

    1. I almost always share links to the items I am wearing or to something similar. Click on the links within the text of the post. Virginia has abundant historical sites. Richmond might be the best place to land. From there, you can visit Williamsburg, Jamestown, DC, Georgetown, Charlottesville, and many other towns and villages. Here is a website to help you plan your trip.

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.