Style and Styling

Stylist Trick: Create a Column of Color

3 Reasons to LOVE a Column!

Happy day, reader dear!

Woo hoo! We are approaching the end of the year, and with it, the onslaught of year end parties, treats, and seasonal goodies that are just so irresistible… Mmmm. I’m already feeling less svelte after Thanksgiving; I can’t begin to imagine how the next month will go. My first two holiday do’s are this coming Thursday!

So what’s a girl (Or woman, if girl annoys you.) to do when she’s feeling more fluffy than flat? My number one go-to and remedy for fluffy is a Column of Color. Why is a Column of Color so powerful? And what the heck is a Column of Color? A Column of Color is as its name says, the appearance of a long line (column) created by wearing a single color value from top to bottom. PS: It doesn’t have to be black! (That’s a myth.) Any color works!

(1) A Column of Color Creates (the Illusion of) Length

Which is why, as one on the petite side, I wear one a LOT! Chopping yourself in half color-wise makes you look shorter. (Which if you are my over 6 foot tall friend B, might be desirable!) When there is no break in the color (or Value) of your outfit, the eye moves smoothly from top to bottom, which makes you appear taller. Don’t panic! You can create a Column by pairing pieces similar in color. They don’t have to match exactly!

(2) A Column of Color Slenderizes

That same smooth eye movement that creates the illusion of more height also narrows. We are genetically programmed to notice horizontal lines. (All land mammals do it. It keeps us balanced!) When we wear one color from top to bottom, we avoid the horizontal lines drawn by a shirt or tunic hem. Our eye lingers on those horizontal lines, making those places look wider. One color (or Value) from top to bottom minimizes the horizontals, and the width.

(3) A Column of Color Camouflages

Keeping the eye moving up and down also keeps it from stopping on those places we’d rather not be drawing attention. If the tummy is your concern, wearing an Inner Column of Color with different colored topper keeps the eye moving up and down right past your midsection. The quickest and easiest way to create an Inner Column from shoulder to hem is to wear a dress. (Not a colorblocked dress, but your average ordinary dress.)

Polyvore Women's Clothing Illustrating Columns of Color

If hips and/or thighs are your area of concern, an Outer Column of Color is your friend! The outer column draws the eye up and down, and for you, the horizontal line peeking out at the waist creates waist definition. Just make sure your topper and your bottom are truly creating a column. The topper must be longer than the top underneath, and the topper hem shouldn’t end at your widest spot!

You practice! Here are a few more examples of Columns. Which is an Inner Column? Which is an Outer Column?

I find an Inner Column helps any outfit look just a little more sleek and sophisticated. Imagine the cami, jeans and cardie with a pink cami; it just wouldn’t have the same sleek. I feel like I can always use a little extra sleek!

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How about you? Is longer and/or leaner a look you want your outfits to create for you? Or would you prefer to shorten or fill out your shape? Did you correctly identify the columns above? Did any catch you off guard? Please let me know in the comments below! I do SOOOO love to hear from you…

Stylishly yours,


  • Paulette

    I never knew about the inner column vs the outer. Good to know.
    I have an apple body, large busted, short waisted. I wear a lot of dark colors (black, navy, dark green, wine) on top to assist in minimizing my bust. I never thought about it cutting me in half by wearing white jeans or shorts with those dark tops.

  • Lise

    This post is so helpful. For the first time I have really seen the benefit of a column of color thanks to your comparison photos. I often wear jeans – would this apply with jeans too? I guess the top must be in the same shade as the jeans…

    • closetplayadmin

      Hi, Lise! So glad to be of help! It works with jeans too. Jeans are a little more flexible; as long as your top is the same value (lightness and darkness) as your jeans, you will reap some of the same benefits.

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