One of the many things I love about Webs, aka yarn.com, is the photos in their catalogs. Why? First, they use models who don't appear to be professional models, i.e. they appear to occasionally enjoy a good meal. So you are able to get a sense of what a sweater pattern would look like on a real person. But, even better for me and my educational purposes, you can cut and paste, physically or digitally, and compare how two different designs appear on the same model. Since I love to do this, and it truly is insightful, I expect that this will be a frequent feature. And so we begin.
Take a look at the two designs, known henceforth as Purple and Green. Which one do you think makes the model look thinner? Why?
To me, it's clear that she looks much slimmer in Green. It has strong vertical design elements in the lace panel, the ribbed button bands and even the line of buttons to draw the eye up and down and elongate her figure. The v-neck creates a diagonal line which also elongates. Green is worked in a much heavier yarn than Purple, which should add visual bulk (and it does), but the strong design elements still make it a winner. The fact that it was styled with a dark bottom to carry through a color in the same tone also lengthens the model's figure.
Purple is all about the horizontal lines, which draw the eye across the body and, therefore, make it appear wider. The boat neck creates a strong shoulder line, which the model has balanced by twisting her right shoulder back. But, the most glaring horizontal is the one at the hip, because of the light-colored top which pops out beneath the sweater. Even the lengthening line of the locket necklace can't balance out that horizontal line that screams, "LOOK AT MY HIPS". And we do, because the plain surface of the sweater doesn't provide any interest to distract us. So, even though Purple is knit in a lighter weight yarn, Green takes the win.