How to Look Taller Using a Column of Colour


Would you consider addressing the best way to create a column of color with some examples? I try to dress this way and wear mostly dark wash denim or black ponte knit pants. I would like to expand the my choices on the top. A bit more color and some shoe/ boot options. I get very boring and neutral on the top with my gray, black, navy palate. As autumn and winter loom I would like to add some rich color to my wardrobe and still keep that vertical line connected. Thank you for any suggestions.

column of colour tips to look taller


For someone who is petite, a column of colour (that’s wearing similar colours head to toe) is a really great way of elongating your body and making it appear longer.  Each time we change colour (from shoe to hem, top to bottom) we shorten (and widen) our bodies.  Petite women have even more need to create the column as their canvas is smaller, too many details will overwhelm their smaller frame.

Here are some general rules on creating a column of colour :

1. Blend shoes to pants,  or shoes to legs

2. Wear a dress, then blend or shoes to hosiery

3. Wear jacket and pants the same colour and colour blend your shoes, you can then add a different colour as a top to create interest

4. Choose colours that are similar in intensity and either monochromatic or next to each other on the colour wheel so that hemlines are less obvious

5. Wear knee-high boots when the weather is right for them.


Here are some more examples:

Using a column of colour


Petite Tips:

If you’re petite don’t wear lots of different jewellery, focus on one focal point with jewellery.  Earrings, brooches and necklaces are all ideal as they draw attention up towards your face.

When wearing skirts and dresses always team with a low vamp shoe for maximum leg length.

Maxi dresses are a great way to look longer, just make sure it’s not too voluminous for your frame.

Colour blocking is a fun current fashion trend, you can do it, but keep it more simple and choose 2 colours not more.


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    • That’s great Pseu, I know you can work in more colour without losing the column or looking like a clown! Will enjoy reading your journey on your blog.

  • Hmm, so to look shorter, does one do the opposite, ie make sure NOT to have a column of color? I am quite tall for my build, and while I try to add leg length visually, I generally prefer to look shorter overall (or at least definitely not taller!).

    -tall & slim anon

    • Olga if you want to look less tall, but without losing leg length, keep a column of colour on your bottom half – say match shoes, opaque tights, skirt but wear an alternate colour top for interest.

  • Love your examples, Imogen — inspiring as always!

    I freely admit I am almost always trying to look more “of a piece” and I really notice the difference when clothing chops me up vertically. I am all about your column and your 2/3 to 1/3 color ratio tips….

  • wow, I wish they taught all these tips (and others) at school so I don’t have to spend a better part of my life being clueless about what to wear!! I’ve been looking for this kind of style advice for too long and I am glad to have found your site finally. What a genius idea to approach the art of dressing up from a scientific point of view.
    Tha fact that my body shape is so particular (105 pounds, 165 cm, rectangle body shape but with wide calves and skinny ankles) has made me a miserable fashion victim..I hope your tips will improve my dress sense!
    Thanks so much, Imogen! Keep up the good job

  • Hello Imogen
    As I have highlighted dark blond hair and blue eyes, so black doesn’t suit me near my face.
    Other than wearing a navy top with indigo jeans or black trousers, what other colours could be used for a column of colour – and should light colours be avoided near the face? Sometimes I wear a black or white cami in v or scoop neck tops.
    Also I need to cover my short legs -due to scarring – could I use leggings under a tunic or a dress (rather than tights) with shoe-boots or ankle boots?
    Not sure if a maxi dress or a long skirt suits my style, so I end up in full length trousers all the time.
    Here’s hoping you can advise,
    Morfudd Lewis

  • Thank you so much for another great article Imogen. I am trying to do two neutral one color. As I am a sophisticated palette with Medium High contrast. I love and use color column, either a top and bottom same color and colorful top or top and bottom same and a colorful colorful overcoat. My question is can I do column of color , with one neural as shown in examples?

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