A-Z of Styling C is for Colourr



What is a Column of Colour?

There are many ways to combine colour in an outfit for different effects. This post looks at the what, why and how of creating an outfit using tones of the same colour (neutrals & colours) which is called a monochromatic colour scheme. The colour wheel is great tool for exploring colour combinations. Each pie section of the colour wheel is an example of a monochromatic colour scheme. A column of colour is created when your outfit combines tones of the same colour top to toe.

Colour Wheel


What effect does a column of colour have for the wearer?

A column of colour is created when your outfit combines tones of the same colour top to toe. When you have an unbroken colour combination in your outfit there is no disruption or distraction. This creates a lengthening and slimming illusion for the wearer.

There a number of ways to create and wear a column of colour. Let’s look at some examples.


Column of Colour

In the above examples a column of colour has been created by using only one garment – long dress, jumpsuit and a short dress.   A column of colour has been created by colour matching the shoes with the outfit colour.  Wearing low vamp shoes that harmonise with your leg tone will create a column of colour. Low vamp shoes show the top of your feet. Wearing a nude toned shoe will create a continuous colour line up to the hem of the dress, skirt or shorts. Another way of creating a column of colour with a short dress is to tone hosiery / tights and shoes in a colour similar to the dress.


The examples above have created a column of colour on the outside of the body. An outside column of colour works well for those bodies with a defined waist. Attention is drawn away from hips, thighs and bottom area. Colour can be used to draw attention to the top half of the body. If you have a defined waist wearing a belt in a different colour can work. If you have an undefined waist toning belt colour with the internal colour will create less emphasis to the waist / tummy area. Note that shoe colour is toned to the outfit colour to create a continuous line of colour. If your legs are showing remember to tone low vamp shoes with leg colour to look taller.


Column of Colour Inner

The outfits above have been created with an inside column of colour. Wearing a column of colour works well if you have an undefined waist as it draws attention away from this area. If you have shorter legs wearing nude low vamp shoes will give the illusion of longer legs.


A column of colour works well for all body shapes, sizes and ages. This way of combining colours can be used with prints & patterns and plain colours. It can be used with light, medium and dark colours as well as muted and bright colours. The key to achieving this look is to make sure that there is little difference in lightness to darkness and colours are blended. The lengthening and slimming illusion of the column of colour is disrupted when there is a greater difference in colours and value.



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