The Vertical Rules!

While the expression, “rules” may have gone the way of “bomb,” and “sweet,” when it comes to fashion, there seems to be an unspoken expectation for “dressing rules.”  Thus, I’m willing to date myself for the sake of a teaching opportunity.  Today’s lesson:  slimming and lengthening principles.

Directional Signals: Vertical lines lengthen; Horizontals add width.

Many of us were taught that black is slimming , period.  Sure it’s slimming.   So is yellow, grape, chartreuse, and beige.  It’s what you do with the colors that count.

Take the images here.  Granted, black is the base in our vertical example (on left), but it might have been fuchsia.  What’s important is the vertical column of solid color down the center of the model’s body.  Both outfits shown are attractive, but each has a different effect on its wearer.  The example on the right appears comfortable, casual, and on-trend current.  But the result may not flatter if a woman is either petite, or desires a narrower appearance.  The horizontal lines create visual “breaks” in the body that add relative width.  Can you see them?  (Hint: shirt hem, contrasting color, wide sweater opening and belt,..)

The image on the left displays a multiple of vertical visuals.  Solid color down the center of the model’s body, and a narrow opening to the front of her sweater draws the eye inward (not out wide!).  Even the zig-zag woven pattern of the cardigan moves through the torso in vertical lines.  All, visual effects that create a longer, slimmer image.

As an image coach, there’s nothing more fun than seeing a client take command of their wardrobe — especially where color and personal flattery are concerned.  Don’t shy from color.  Instead, use it to your benefit.  Move the eye where you desire it to land, and surround yourself with colors that brighten, lighten, and elevate your mood!

(P.S.  There’s an additional horizontal feature, not mentioned, in the image on the right.  Another to avoid if you’re striving for a longer, leaner look.  Can you identify it?)


Patty Buccellato

Patty Buccellato, is an image coach and founder of Refined Images. She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups. Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Rochester Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices — and, yes, even in shopping malls!   To get your FREE copy of Patty’s “How to Shop Like a Stylist,” visit or contact Patty.

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