Top ‘n Tail
Happy day, reader dear!
This post is begging for all the bad puns. On that note, are there good puns? Isn’t that the point of a pun? To be bad?
Want to know why your outfit doesn’t look like all the fabulous ones you have saved on Pinterest?
No, it’s not that you don’t have a 36″ inseam. Not even that you aren’t 25 or wear a size 00. Nor is it that she bought that outfit on credit and is returning it after the photo shoot.
It’s more likely that your top and tail don’t align!
I can hear you already! What? What tail? I’m not a dog. Or cat. Or hamster. Or guinea pig. Well, maybe not a guinea pig. They don’t have tails… Well, they do, but not really. (Okay. Maybe your brain doesn’t jump around that way, but mine certainly does!)
Topping and Tailing is a term used to describe repeating the color at your feet (tail) again at your portrait area (top). It’s why the Power of Three works so well. It’s why buying metallic shoes the same color as your hair is a great addition to a Special Occasion Capsule. It’s why a handbag in your haircolor is the most verstatile and why shoes in your haircolor go with every outfit. AKA: It’s not the cute buff suede booties that make the outfit, it’s the fact that they tie together with her blonde hair.
Topping and Tailing is the basis for much of what works in style. Why? Well, come join me down a biology rabbit hole… Because I’m that nerd. If you aren’t, please skip down to Match Your Top and Tail.
Style and Biology
Let’s wander back to our prehistoric days… You are scrounging about looking for nuts, roots and berries. The sun is high in the sky and there are hungry people back at the cave. You hear a sound in the brush. Your head snaps up to look at the creature stepping out of the bracken. Your senses are in overdrive. In less than an instant you have looked this being over from head to toe. Literally. No weapon. Dead animal in her hands. Goodie! Looks like rather than hitting you over the head and eating you for lunch, she might sit down and share hers with you…
That head to toe (Or Top to Tail) visual path is hardwired into the oldest reptilian part of our brains. It’s job is to keep us alive. Assessing friend or foe isn’t something to be left to the frontal lobe. It needs to be done in less than an instant. The frontal lobe may be smart, but it’s slow. Fast forward a few hundred thousand years, and yes, we don’t often worry about gathering lunch (from anywhere but the fridge or drive-through) and whether someone is going to eat us. But our biology doesn’t know that. It still looks someone from head to toe. Instinctively.
Match your Top and Tail
Sometimes Called: Connecting the Dots
Since our biology determines where our eyes will travel, we can take advantage of that biology to draw the eye where we WANT it to go. The eye wants to connect things that are similar. The eye travels between connected points. (Another part of keeping us alive. Think about hunting for berries.) In a modern context: From red shoes (tail), to red watchband, to red lip (top). If I don’t create the connection, the eye will focus on whatever is most out of context. Only red shoes? The eye will stay there. Again, the eye wants to travel and loves a visual loop. Hence, this is why wearing shoes in your hair color always works. You always wear your hair. That creates a loop from top to tail and back again! The same goes for your bag. A hair colored bag will always harmonize.
Which brings us back to–AKA: It’s not the cute buff suede booties that make the outfit, it’s the fact that they tie together with her blonde hair. If you have light hair similar to those cute buff suede booties, great! On the other hand, if your hair is dark, your cute buff booties just make your feet shout HERE WE ARE! (Unless you Top that color.)
Take a quick peek at Pinterest and you’ll see what I mean. That cute young blonde thing in the big black boots? She’s wearing A: A Dark Hat, B: Big Black Sunglasses, C: Tons of Black Eyeliner or D: Any Combination of A/B/C to balance those boots. What some people do instinctively, you can do intentionally. And the best part? The more you do it intentionally, the more instinctive that action becomes… YASSSS. Habit is powerful.
In Real Life?
How do you make this work IRL?
I wish I had moved the doormat. The effect would be even more obvious without the checks! In the first look, my head seems to be floating. The necklace is better; it ties the shoes to something else in the outfit. The neckerchief does the same. I chose the neckerchief because that’s my style. Not yours? Choose another Top element. When I was younger and my hair was much darker, black shoes were fine. As a matter of fact, almost all my shoes were black then… I was in a black phase. It was long. And dark.
How About You?
Were you aware of the Top and Tail style phenomenon? Do you use it? Are you suprised that there’s biology behind it? Do you wear shoes in your haircolor? Carry a bag? What color is your everyday bag? Does it relate to you or your outfit? Did this post make you go Aha? If so, do let me know about what! I love to hear from you…