How You Can Use Verticals To Look Taller and Slimmer


How to Look taller and slimmer by using vertical lines in clothing detail


As I discussed in this post on my Three Rules of Horizontal Lines, line in clothing design creates optical illusions depending on the direction of the line.

Verticals lengthen.  Partly because they go up and down (giving height) but also becasue our eyes move along them more quickly than they do on horizontal or curved lines.

So where to look for vertical lines in clothes?  I say everywhere!

You will find them on jacket openings, shirts with buttons going up the centre, creases down the centre of your dress trousers, princess seams, gores and vertical darts.

How to find flattering clothes - understanding the impact of verticals

Because verticals elongate, they also slim, so if you want to create a longer or leaner line, think about ensuring there are verticals in your outfit (it’s possible to wear an outfit with no verticals, as most garments are horizontally dominant).  If there are not extra horizontals, why not wear a column of colour to create a long vertical line of colour in your outfit.

How to find flattering clothes - understanding the impact of verticals

Where to Look For Vertical Detail in Garments

Vertical details are great to add to:

  • Your shorter proportions – so short legs – add vertical details, short body – add vertical detail etc.
  • Where you want to look slimmer
  • All over if you want to look taller

But remember, that some verticals widen.

Some verticals create widening rather than lengthening effects.

Ensure your verticals if widely space are either the same colour, or similarly coloured (lower contrast), otherwise they start acting as a horizontal and draw the eye outwards from one vertical to the next, instead of up and down.

Lower contrast, and verigated verticals are less widening (if widely spaced) than equal sized wide stripes.

You will discover in my Body Shape Bibles that for each body shape there are ideal areas to add verticals (and also where to put your horizontals).

If you haven’t done the quiz and downloaded, check it out now.

So next time you’re deciding whether or not to try that garment on, have a look for some vertical details to create some extra elongation before you take it into the change room (and don’t forget to also check for the horizontal details too).

Want more tips on elongating with verticals?  Check out E is for Elongation now.

whats my body shape


Linking this post to:  Top of the World, My Refined Style,  iwillwearwhatilikeVisible Monday, Let It ShineMonday MingleStyle SessionsTurning Heads TuesdayTrend Spin Link-UpWhat I Wore WednesdayBrilliant Blog PostsThrowback ThursdayPassion for Fashion FridayFriday’s Fab FavouritesStyle Stories,FlatbumMumThe FABulous Journey,Sydney Fashion Hunter


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  • This is so helpful, Imogen!! The straight H shape needs all the help it can get…looking taller may not always be the goal but learning to dress a straighter body is always a top priority.

    Thank you from all you H shape fans.

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