How Can Horizontal Lines Impact on Your Look

How Can Horizontal Lines Impact on Your Look


Horizontal lines in clothing can impact on your overall look. Where you place horizontal lines on your body can be enhancing or distracting depending on your body shape.

Our eyes travel more slowly across a horizontal line. Horizontal lines can create a broader and widening effect depending on where they are placed on the body. Horizontal lines in clothing are noticed before vertical, curved or diagonal lines. This means they are noticed first and can create a focus on where they are placed on your body. Taking notice of where horizontal detailing is placed on your body can explain why an outfit may not be working for you.

Body Placement

The impact of horizontal lines in your clothing relates to your body shape and how you feel about certain areas of your body. The areas of the body to take notice of are shoulders, bust, waist, hips thighs, knees, calves and ankles. Horizontal lines can be used to create balance between the upper and lower body depending on your body shape.

Body shape is determined by your skeletal structure and relates to the shoulders, lower rib cage – waist, hips and thighs.

Horizontal lines can create body balance in the following ways.

  •  Placing horizontal detailing on the shoulders can create balance if your shoulders are narrower than your hips.
  • A small bust can look larger with the placement of horizontal detailing such as pockets, sleeve length, double breasted buttons and horizontal stripes.
  • A large bust will look larger when horizontal elements are placed in line with this area.
  • Placing seams, bands and belts on your waist will be enhancing if you have a defined waist and wish to showcase this area. If you have an undefined waist than avoid horizontal details in this area.
  • Placing horizontal detailing on your hips can create body balance if your hips are narrower than your shoulders.

Broken Horizontal Lines in Clothing

Sometimes horizontal lines are created by what we call broken horizontal lines. Broken horizontal lines can be created by  some hemlines and constructions details.

Broken Horizontal Lines

When selecting clothing take notice of the horizontal detailing that is present.  Let’s look at where we find horizontal lines / details in clothing:-

  • Straight hemlines in sleeves, tops, shirts, jackets, cardigans, pants and shorts create an invisible horizontal line across the body. It is important to take notice of where these hemlines are crossing your body. The areas of the body to take notice of are shoulders, bust, waist, hips thighs, knees, calves and ankles. A broken line across these areas can have a widening effect.
  • Double pockets can be widening. It is important to take note of their placement on your body. The caramel jacket above has pocket placements on the thigh area. These pockets are also in line with the sleeve cuffs and length. This would not be enhancing if you wanted to avoid focus on your thigh area.
  • Double breasted buttons can create a focus on the middle section of your body. These can work well if you are petite and want to create some more shaping.
  • Shoe details such as ankle and leg straps & boot height create unbroken lines. It is important to take notice as to where these are sitting on your leg. If the are finishing on a larger area then they will not look enhancing.
  • Horizontal distressing on jeans can create a widening effect.
  • Bands on jackets, tops, pants will creating a double horizontal line placement across your body.

Horizontal Stripes

Horizontal Stripes


Horizontal stripes can vary according to the width, colour, contrast and placement on the body.

  • Narrow stripes do not create as much widening as larger stripes.
  • The difference between the lightness and darkness of the stripes is called the value contrast. When the stripes are more different in value then the impact of the stripes is greater. The black and white striped dress above has a high value.
  • The navy dress would appear more slimming because it has narrower stripes and a lower value contrast.
  • Lighter and brighter colours in the stripes are more noticeable. The black and dark grey striped jumper will have less impact than the blue striped jumper because it is darker.


 Belts & Colour Blocking

Horizontal Lines Belts Colours


  • Belts are a great way to showcase a defined waist. A belt will always create a horizontal line across your body. The colour and size of the belt can make a difference when creating an enhancing look. Look at the three dresses above. Wearing a belt that blends in with the outfit will create less of a focus. The white belt above has the greatest difference in value contrast and stands out more and creates more focus on the waist.
  • When you combine colours that are similar the overall look will be more slimming. This is because the horizontal hemline is not as defined and noticeable. In the outfit images above the middle image has used two blocks of colour in the outfit. This results in a strong horizontal hemline defining her top and bottom half. The hemline on the right is less noticeable because the colour and value difference is minimal.

 Important considerations:-

Take notice of the horizontal details in your clothing and how it is relating to your body shape and overall look.

  1. If you do not want an area of your body to appear larger or wider avoid horizontal detailing in that area.
  2. Stopping a horizontal hemline above or below the widest part of the area will always be more flattering.
  3. Use horizontal lines in clothing to create balance and harmony with your upper and lower body shape.


 A professional consultation is a great way to understand how to dress your body shape and discover







1 thought on “How Can Horizontal Lines Impact on Your Look”

  1. Pingback: Weekly Blog Roundup - 8th June 2020 - Hey Vicki Jakes

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: