Optical illusions: Contrast (comparison)

Our eyes and brain are constantly comparing everything to everything else. Usually, we cannot say whether an object is big or small, if we have nothing with which to compare it.





Normally, we compare items that are either next to each other or which belong to the same category.

For example:

One category: girls, their heights, body parts, sunglasses, hair length, their clothes.

Next to: wrist – sleeves’ width, ankle – the volume of the trousers or fabric around the ankle, the girl – the bag, hips – waist, sunglasses – face, body – clothing size


We usually do not compare, for example, an ankle with a wrist (if we are not requested to do so), because they are too far from each other and do not belong to the same category. But, if we had only a picture of someone’s hands and feet, we would begin to compare them.

Consequently, a thin person will look even thinner next to a heavy one. Legs or arms look thinner if the sleeves or pants are wider. A waist seems smaller in a full skirt. Skin looks smoother next to clothes with a rough texture and, vice versa, imperfections become more visible next to a smooth satin fabric.

Likewise, as we learned in a previous post, horizontal lines have a widening effect. So if we want to make some of our body parts look fuller we should wear a horizontal line on them. The horizontal line can be a print, a hemline, a seam and so on. But, if we want our slim parts to look even slimmer then we place a horizontal line next to those parts rather than directly upon them.


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