Creating A Column of Colour to Look Taller and Slimmer

We stylists often extoll the virtues of dressing in such a way as to create a “column of colour”. This is because it’s one of the easiest ways to look taller and slimmer – and let’s face it, most of us would like to be one of, if not both, of those!

Monchromatic column of colour

In its purest form a column of colour is created by wearing a single colour from top-to-toe. This could be achieved very easily with a jumpsuit, a dress with matching hosiery, or trousers and matching top – all worn with toning footwear. In this way, the eye travels easily down the body in a vertical line which has a lengthening effect. This can be particularly effective on petite people and is one reason why you’ll often find me wearing some variation of a column of colour. If you’re very tall though, a long unbroken line of colour risks looking rather boring and uninspiring so, if you like the idea of monochromatic dressing, think about adding some interest to your outfit through mixing different textures (silk,wool, cord, velvet etc) or y using eye-catching accessories.


Creating a column with two colours

You don’t have to just use a single colour though. In fact, for many people, wearing an outfit consisting of two or three pieces in two colours can be a very effective way of not only adding height but also slimming the silhouette. So, for example, you could wear a jacket/wrap  and trousers in one colour and a top in another, as in this photo from Kettlewell’s current collection. Alternatively, you could wear a dress and tights in one colour and a longline wrap in another, thus creating a strong vertical line down the centre front of your body.

Body shape

Creating a column of colour is a great way of “shaving” width from your body; how you create your column will depend on your shape and what bits of your body you’d like to trim. If you carry your weight on your hips or thighs or have particularly broad shoulders, then wearing the darker colour on the outside (eg jacket or wrap ) with a lighter/brighter colour on the inside (e.g. tee shirt) will work particularly well. If, on the other hand, your tummy is your problem area a darker top/dress worn with a lighter coloured jacket/wrap will look good. As we all know, dark colours are slimming but, when it comes to the column of colour, it is that central vertical line that you create which is the most slimming aspect of your outfit.


Instead of wearing a top-to-toe column of colour, you might prefer to focus on using it to balance out your proportions. For example, if  you’d like to make your legs look longer (like about 90% of us!), you could wear a coloured/ patterned top but create a column of colour on your bottom half by toning your footwear to your hosiery and hemline.

On the other hand, if you want to elongate your body (perhaps because you are a short-bodied apple/oval shape), wearing a longer length wrap can work wonders as it streamlines the body. Kettlewell have a number of wrap styles such as the Aurelia which are good for this.

I hope you find these styling tips useful but, I urge you not to feel you have to stick religiously to them.  What you wear should make you feel happy and confident, so use your own judgement about what looks and feels right for you.