Sculptural Fashion: 3 Ways to Control the Volume

Designers have been churning out almost sculptural designs. Instead of being fitted, garments are now swooping upwards and outwards, taking on a surreal, artistic twist. It’s no longer about showing off the body using controlled volume.

The look is mysterious. Cocoon jackets have round shoulders and exaggerated curved sleeves that taper tightly to seize our wrists. Trapeze tops cling to the bust and then drop dramatically outwards to their hem. Blocked heels are thick and chunky with slim, tapered toes.


Cocoon jackets have round shoulders and exaggerated curved sleeves
Cocoon jackets have round shoulders and exaggerated curved sleeves.



Distorting the body’s view is not a new idea, but it has never been this mainstream. Fashion journalists call this sculptural look “controlled volume” and forecast it as the decade’s definitive look. But how do you manage to pull off something so theatrical on the sidewalk, not the runway?

1. Contrast the Volume

Clothing that is very full-cut or flows away from the body needs to be balanced. To keep from looking costume-like, balance these pieces with items that lay closer to the body. Trapeze tops pair best with skinny-cut pants. The chunkiness of block heels becomes easier to pull off when worn with pants that show off the shape of your leg. Cocoon coats should be paired with slim knit tops that hug your curves and skinny pants.

 2. Keep Accessories Sleek

This look is all about being modern, so keep the frilly accessories at home, please! Bags and shoes should be solid colored and have clean lines. Jewelry should not be too ornate or fussy.

Trapeze tops pair best with skinny-cut pants


3. Keep your Look Coherent

Make sure that you use a maximum of three colors in your outfit. Any more than that will make it too chaotic. When you’re dipping your toe in this style, try neutrals with a pop of red.

This new fashion look won’t be going anywhere soon, so why not try it out? Armed with the tips above, you’ll be ready to take on the modern look in a fierce way that’s age-appropriate to boot. And in ten years, you might look back and remember that trapeze top as fondly as you do your ’70s flares!

*This article from Guest Contributor Morgan Mullin

Join the Conversation