E is for Elongation

Many women tell me that they’d like to look taller, or slimmer, so today I thought that I’d cover E for Elongation to help you all with this quest.

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.
Vertical lines

To elongate you want to ensure you have more vertical lines and  less horizontal lines.

How and where are verticals found in clothes?

  • Plackets
  • Jacket edges
  • Center creases on trousers
  • Rows of buttons (up and down)
  • Pleats
  • Pin stripes
  • Vertical seams such as princess seams and darts
Because horizontal lines shorten and widen, you need to be aware of where you will find them in garments:
Horizontal lines
  • Hems of sleeves, tops, pants, skirts etc.
  • Yokes
  • Pockets
  • Horizontal prints
  • Seams
  • Trims
  • Distressing and whiskering
  • Straps and high vamps on shoes
  • Buttons on double breasted jackets and coats
  • Cuffs on trousers
  • Boarder prints

So if you want to slim, then you only want to put horizontal lines on:

  1. Your narrow points (so this is the – where do I end tops, jackets etc. rule)
  2. On the points you want to broaden to create balance

5 Easy Ways to Elongate to Look Taller and Slimmer:

  1. Find garments with more verticals (as natural hemlines that garments all have will create lots of horizontals) without adding extra ones.
  2. Tone shoes to trousers or tights or legs.
  3. Wear heels, if you like them.
  4. Wear low vamp shoes.
  5. 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.

Column of colour

So instead of breaking up your body by alternating colours, you can try elongating by creating a flow.

E is for elongation


  • leonie says:

    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.

  • Viktoria says:

    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!

  • fashionway says:

    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!

  • Lisa White says:

    This is brilliant! I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed your advise and creative ideas!

  • R.M. says:

    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?


    • Imogen says:

      RM – darker will elongate, lighter will shorten!

      • Starr says:

        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?

        • Imogen says:

          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).

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