Want to look taller and or slimmer? You are not alone as many of my clients have told me that either or both of these is one of their style goals!
As there are many illusion tricks I can teach you, so that you can become your own clothing magician, here you’ll discover how to elongate your body (or parts of it if you want to create balance proportionally).
How to Create the Illusion of Length and Slimness with Your Clothes
So let’s get back to basics and think about how to use line to create the illusion of length and/or slimness.
- Vertical lines lengthen
- Horizontal lines shorten and broaden
To elongate you want to ensure you have more vertical lines and less horizontal lines. How and where are verticals found in clothes?
- Jacket edges
- Centre creases on trousers
- Rows of buttons (up and down)
- Vertical seams such as princess seams and darts
How you can use verticals to look taller and slimmer
How to use verticals in your outfits
Horizontal Lines Broaden
Because horizontal lines shorten and widen, you need to be aware of where you will find them in garments:
- Hems of sleeves, tops, pants, skirts etc.
- Horizontal prints
- Distressing and whiskering
- Straps and high vamps on shoes
- Buttons on double-breasted jackets and coats
- Cuffs on trousers
- Border prints
So if you want to slim, then you only want to put horizontal lines on:
- Your narrow points (so this is the – where do I end tops, jackets etc. rule)
- On the areas you want to broaden to create balance – check out my body shape bibles to discover exactly where they are for your shape! If you’re not sure of your shape and would like my professional opinion on it and your colouring you can get this as part of my 7 Steps to Style program
Read my 3 rules of horizontal lines here
How to wear horizontal stripes without looking wide
Bad design – the horizontal line rule
5 Easy Ways to Elongate to Look Taller and Slimmer:
- Find garments with more verticals (as natural hemlines that garments all have will create lots of horizontals) without adding extra ones.
- Tone shoes to trousers or tights or legs.
- Wear heels, if you like them.
- Wear low vamp shoes.
- Wear fabrics that skim and drape close to your body.
and a bonus 6th:
The easiest way to look taller is to use the column of colour concept, which I’ve covered here and here and even here. It’s simple, the longer the unbroken vertical line, the taller you will appear. Just remember, a column of colour doesn’t have to mean only wearing black head to toe or only wearing one colour, you can still wear two or three colours, it’s just how you put them together.
So instead of breaking up your body by alternating colours, you can try elongating by creating a vertical flow from head to toe.
Brilliant tricks of the clothing magician
More tips on using a column of colour for your body shape
Creating a wardrobe capsule using a column of colour
Love this post, I will share this on Verily. I am having lots of ladies ask me ‘how do I layer without adding too much bulk or looking like a bag lady” this helps a lot.
Thanks Leonie! I’m sure I’ve done a layering post somewhere else too.
This is wonderful! I have tried the monochrome approach for years, without success, I´m now thinking that it doesn´t offer enough contrast, something I either need or like too much (can´t make up my mind which). I will definitely try to embrace the “column”-concept!
These are very much needed tips for a short and round girl like me. Awesome info! I just subscribed to your blog. Many thanks!
Navajo shirt really catches your attention in this pic.
Love these tips, and you must have spent ages doing those collages of outfits! Thank you!
This is brilliant! I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed your advise and creative ideas!
This is great, Imogen! I love monochromatic dressing and so so happy to see this. For monochromatic dressing for grey and matching shoes to pants or tights — would snakeskin print shoes (in tones of browns and grey) or light grey suede pumps (lighter in color than the pants or ightst) make my legs look longer?
RM – darker will elongate, lighter will shorten!
I am confused about how to work with my dark wash (NYDJ bootcut) jeans. If I wear any top other than a dark brown or black I have the dreaded “cut in half” look; I cannot achieve the “column” look. Any suggestions?
Starr – if you want to create the column, you need to wear with dark jeans, a dark top, or alternatively a dark jacket, waistcoat or cardigan (but if you’re wearing the 3rd piece as your dark piece, the top underneath can be lighter or brighter).
Imogen, I have heard about the “column” effect, but wow, a picture REALLY speaks a 1000 words! Thank you! This is one of the (many) things that make your website so valuable, is because you don’t only tell, you SHOW what you mean and that is so valuable in learning. You’re a star, thank you!
This article made me rethink my whole wardrobe! And I just made a purchase online following these guidelines. I’ll update my comment when my parcel arrives. Looking forward to it!
When you learn a quick tip like this it makes you look at clothes in a whole new light!