Are You Savvy When It Comes to Style?

Style and Colour Savvy to Create the Look You Want
Wear Design Lines that Enhance Your Body

No matter what your need there is a design feature that can create the perfect illusion for your body. From making you appear taller, shorter, heavier, thinner, wider or narrower design lines can work minor miracles in our daily life.


VERTICAL design elements are those which run vertically on our body. They slim and lengthen any area of the body they are applied to. The more vertical design influence in an outfit the slimmer and taller you will appear. Examples of vertical influence include: vertical stripes, zippers, pants, one colour outfits and garments, open jackets, pleats and center front buttons.

vertical fashion look Style and Colour Savvy to Create the Look You Want


HORIZONTAL design features run from side to side on our body. They add width to the area they are applied to. The more horizontal design influence in an outfit the shorter and wider you will appear. Examples of horizontal influence include: yokes, skirts, horizontal stripes, belts, wide leg pants, boxy skirts and wide or contrasting waistbands.

horizontal fashion look Style and Colour Savvy to Create the Look You Want


DIAGONAL design features run across the body on an angle. The more vertical the angle the slimmer and longer the area will appear. The more horizontal the angle the shorter and wider the area will appear.

diagonal fashion look Style and Colour Savvy to Create the Look You Want


CURVED / ROUND design influence add weight, width and feminine curves to area of the body they have been applied to. They include most floral, paisley and swirly patterns, round necklines, curved hemlines and contoured belts.

circular fashion look Style and Colour Savvy to Create the Look You Want

Use Colour to Your Advantage

Colour has the ability to increase or decrease body size. How you coordinate the colours you wear will make you appear taller or shorter. If you combine colours that slim the body with colour co-ordination that increases apparent height you have doubled your slimming power.

Light and/or bright colours appear to advance and will make the area they have been applied to appear larger. Dark colours appear to recede into the distance causing the area they have been applied to appear smaller. In photo C the hips appear smaller than the upper body while the opposite is true in photo A.

Medium depth colours neither appear to advance or recede.

Colours can also give the illusion of having a weight of their own. Darker colours appear to weight more than light colours and as a result often look more balanced when worn on the lower half of the body. A light colour worn on the upper body will also draw attention upward increasing apparent height and decreasing apparent height (Photo C).

In the photographs below; Photos A and B requires a tall person and a slender body to look best. Photo C will make the wearer appear the tallest and will visibly decrease the apparent size of the lower body. Photo D is slimming due to the medium and dark colours and the lower colour contrast coordination. Photo E elongates and slims the body through the use of dark colours and by creating one continuous vertical column of colour.

The way you contrast colours is also important.

colour advantage Style and Colour Savvy to Create the Look You Want

Discover Your Best Silhouette

The silhouette of a garment is it’s outer shape; all garments have one of four silhouettes:

  • Very fitted: best for slender, youthful women with firm bodies.
  • Semi fitted: Semi-fitted garments are flattering on all women and are the most desirable and universally appropriate of all the silhouettes.
  • Boxy and stiff: Boxy and stiff silhouettes fall straight and stiffly and show no body shape. This silhouette is best for straight figured women who are under 45 years of age. For women over 45 this silhouette can appear matronly especially if it is a jacket if it is not in a current style colour and kept above hip length.
  • Boxy and soft: Boxy and soft is also a boxy silhouette but it is made of a soft fabric that it flows as the wearer moves. This is an easy to wear and flattering style for all ages and weights. It is particularly attractive on mature, full figured women.

Being able to select the silhouettes that are best for you is an important step when purchasing clothing – get this right and you’ll be well on your way to a great look.

silhouette fashion Style and Colour Savvy to Create the Look You Want

Use Focal Points to Highlight Your Assets

Focal points can be many things from: a bright colour in a dark print, an eye catching piece of jewelry, a motif, embroidery, item of make-up (bright lipstick), hair colour, a handbag to eye wear but they all have one thing in common – they attract attention and say “look at me”.

Every day we place focal points on our body and each one invites attention to where they have been placed. If you have a heavy lower body you don’t need a anything attracting attention below your waist, and likewise if you are large busted and feel uncomfortable about your size.

After you have dressed for the day stand in front of a full length mirror, close your eyes, open them and ask yourself what you noticed first? The item that caught your attention first will be your most major focal point. Ask yourself ‘is that where I want people to look?” If not you will need to place a focal point on an area of your body you like better.

You can also counterbalance a focal point in the wrong place by adding a competing focal point in the right place. Below you’ll see the hemline stripes of the blue dress are balanced by the red cardigan and the striped top and yellow cardigan attract attention away from the bright pants.

When counterbalancing an outfit avoid creating cluttered or busy looking outfits by having less than three focal points.

focal point fashion Style and Colour Savvy to Create the Look You Want

Use Universal Colours for their Versatility

Like flowers some colours are perennial. Every year they rise again and can be purchased almost everywhere. They are colours that suit almost everyone because they fall into a very special set of characteristics.

  • They contain a little of the opposite temperature in the mix.
  • Are medium in depth – from medium-light to medium-dark.
  • Are neither very bright (clear) nor very dull (muted) colours.

Universal colours are perfect for uniforms and bridesmaids. There are thousands of universal colours here are just a few.

universal color fashion Style and Colour Savvy to Create the Look You Want


Ann Reiten AICI CIP, an internationally acclaimed image consultant and trainer, is behind the success of My Private Stylist where women all over the world are being empowered with the knowledge to help themselves become their own stylist. It also teaches women all the essentials that personal stylists learn during their training years. My Private Stylist: Changing Lives One Wardrobe At A Time is the foundation for impeccable style and is available on By Ariane. Click here —> to get started. ”© [2013] Image Innovators Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

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