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How to Dress to Look Thinner and Taller

Most of us if we are willing to admit it, would like to dress to look thinner and taller. In fact, did you know that someone who wears the same size as you but is taller will automatically look thinner? This is because the eye follows lines, and it perceives the longer line (or human figure) to be slimmer. So tall girls, you are blessed to have this advantage! For everyone else, not to worry! We can utilize the principle of the vertical line in our garments, accessories, and outfits to create the illusion of more height and a slenderer silhouette. Conversely, we can minimize horizontal blocks of color which can widen the perception of our body. Here are three simple strategies to look taller and thinner:


Strategy: Minimize horizontal blocks of color

If you desire to dress to look a little thinner or taller,  you can achieve this by dressing in vertical blocks of color similar to the figure on the right. When we break up an outfit with a horizontal band, such as the white shirt hanging out from the black sweater on the first figure at her waist, the eye is caused to go left to right instead of up and down, creating the perception of more width or weight.


Maximize Vertical Blocks of Color

The human eye will follow the same color as it does a single line or column. If the colors are similar in value (or the lightness/darkness) it also follows this line up and down the silhouette. The color does not have to be dark or black. It can be lighter as in the photo on the right and the eye will follow these colors up and down as well because they are all light colors. This being said, dark colors to recede while light and bright colors advance, so if you want the slimmest look possible, then wearing medium to dark colors is best.


Look for Internal Vertical Design Lines

Within most outfits and garments there are internal design lines. These are design features that are created from structural elements such as pockets, lapels, zippers, buttons, and patterns, or they can be from design elements such as lace, braid, embroidery, or topstitching. When looking to dress to look thinner or taller,  look for dominant vertical lines or designs that are vertical in nature. One of the easiest ways to achieve a vertical element in an outfit is by wearing an open jacket, vest, or cardigan. The line is created when you wear a contrasting top underneath-the stronger the contrast, the stronger the slimming and elongating effect.

The slimming and elongating effect is even stronger if there are other elements such as zippers, contrasting buttons, or vertical elements such as stripes or contrasting stitching, as the eye will go to the most dominant design element in the garment. Even the perforations in the brown and gray cardi create a vertical design element. The open cardigan effect in this garment would be stronger if she had worn an off white top to match the stipe in the sleeves.

As you can see from the charcoal gray drapey cardigan, the elongating effect is stronger when it is not tied, but keep in mind you need some height or you need to wear heels to carry off the very long cardigans and jackets well. You can further elongate your upper torso by adding a long necklace such as in the last photo with the blue fringe cardigan.

Vertical design elements can be found in dresses and jumpsuits as well: the wrap seam of the first dress, the vertical pleats of the red dress, the vertical (and diagonal) stripes of the 3rd dress, and even the buttons and seam of the chili red dress become a vertical line for the eye to look up and down.

To see these styles and more go to Pat’s online catalog “How to Look Slimmer and Taller

Pat Gibson is a certified Image Consultant, Personal Stylist, and owner of The Artistry of You, LLC. To learn more about how Pat can help you achieve your best personal style and image call 440-212-2269 or email , or click here to schedule a complimentary style discovery session!

*I may recieve a small commission on some of the styles in my online catalog. This helps to compensate me for the time it takes to create the blog and catalog for your learning and shopping pleasure. Thank you!