The relative proportion of color or design elements can make or break a look. A balanced 50:50 ratio is usually dull and uninspiring.

Unbalanced proportions are more pleasing to the eye. For example, pair a shorter jacket with a longer skirt or trousers. A longer jacket works best over a short skirt, not a mid-calf one. The ideal is to create a 3:5 ratio – the so-called Golden Mean. But a simpler 1:2 ratio is almost equally effective. In evaluating proportion in an ensemble be aware that components other than the actual garment may need to be considered. For example, black tights appear as an extension of a black skirt. Dark brown hair extends the visual area of a dark brown jacket.