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How to Archives - Style Clinic

Mastering Monochromatic Styling


By | Colour, How To..., Trend Tutorial, Trends | 8 Comments


Containing or using only one color Monochromatic outfits are created by wearing colors based from a single base hue and extended shades, tones and tints 

Have you ever considered wearing a monochromatic outfit but shied away unsure how to pull it off?  

If you have you’re not alone; many women fear they may end up looking bland or boring but with a little a little fashion aplomb you can look fantastic.

Monochromatic outfits have a lot going for them: they’re always in fashion, they can be worn at any time of the day or year and any occasion, they’re chic and can always be counted on to convey a polished and modern elegance. Plus they have the added bonus of being slimming when not comprised of bulky items.

The aim is to create visual interest.  This week we tackle how to wear outfits based on multiple hues of the one color and in a few weeks I’ll follow with how to wear outfits of one color and depth. 

Texture Play

A surefire way to update your monochromatic look is to experiment with various textures and how they visually work together. Consider the surface quality of your clothing, or maybe even vintage finishes, and fabrics with some sheen when shopping for pieces to pull together your monochromatic look. Knit with corduroy, dark denim with leather, faux fur with animal skin, satin and shantung; these texture duos add depth and dimension to these one-color ensembles.


Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4.

The Bling Ring

There’s nothing some sparkle and glitter can’t fix. Upgrade your monochromatic look with choice embellishments on one of the main components of your outfit. Some sparkles on your sweater neckline gives a head to toe hunter green look a little pop and a lot more chicness. An embellished mini skirt, on the other hand, gives your autumn sweater and one color look glittery glamour, just like how layering a bejeweled boxy top breaks up an all white outfit with some glitz.


Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4.

Belt It Out

Use one of this season’s hottest accessories, the statement belt, to give your monochromatic ensemble a trendy flourish. This is also a great way to personalize this trend as you can pick a belt that reflects your own style. If you love a bit of glamour, opt for belt with gold hardware. You can also use your belt as a subtle yet effective way to integrate a color splash into your look. For maximum impact and high street style fab quotient, an oversized belt in an interesting shape is the way to go.

Monochromatic_Statement BeltSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4.

Full Spectrum

Harness the full visual impact of monochromatic by creating an outfit using a single color in a variety of its hues and shades to make encompass the current fashion trend. Using colors like gray and pink will increase the elegance of your look, and display your fashion forward smarts at its best. Don’t be afraid to experiment when trying your hand at the monochrome trend. You can integrate different extremes of color depth in a single outfit, i.e., you can wear dark purple and plum or mix together pale pinks with bright bubblegum pink or the extremes of dark to light with black and white combinations – see image above..


Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4.

Read the Fine Print

Give some complexity to your monochromatic fashion by incorporating a subtle print into it. Pinstripes, snakeskin, and checks are muted prints that subtly add some visual richness to the singular color of your look. Understated sophistication should be your watchwords as you select patterns that are more fine and subdued to complement the color you choose to don that day.

Monochromatic_ComplexSource – Top Line: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4.

Source – Bottom Line: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4.

vertical fashion trend

THE VERTICLE ADVANTAGE: how to dress slimmer

By | Body Basics, Figure Flattery, Line and Design | 4 Comments

Imagine walking into a room or onstage and your audience sees you as strong professional woman, maybe one who’s even taller and more slender than you really are. How is this done? Through vertical design.

What is vertical design? It is clothing design elements which draws the eye up and down. The more vertical elements you use, the greater the elongating, slimming effect. For each element used, you can appear almost 4.5 pounds (2kg) thinner! This is the key for how to dress slimmer.

Vertical design is achieved through garments via:

  • shape:  straight and pencil skirts, straight and tapered pants, straight and tapered jackets/tops
  • silhouette: semi- to very fitted (boxy and soft somewhat)
  • structure: darts, panels, pleats, vertical folds, iron creases, seams
  • embellishments: vertical lace paneling, pin tucks, ruffles
  • fabricvertical patterns and prints; fluid fabrics which follow curves.
  • closures: zippers, buttons, lace-up
  • accessories: oblong scarves, pendants, drop and hoop earrings, open vamp shoes, high heels and/or pointy toe shoes, nude shoes, hosiery that blends into hemline and shoes
  • focal points: statement necklaces, medium to large or colorful earrings, applique design, embellished neckline/collar, scarf
  • length: the longer the garment, the more vertical power
  • grooming: long, short, straight hair; hair which stands up on top

Pictured are several outfits using vertical elements. Can you guess what they are (answers are at the end of the feature)?




Pants vs Skirts

Pants elongate the legs from waist to hem, which is usually at the ankle (J). Skirts vary more, going from waist to around the knee, leaving the legs exposed (K). The shorter the pants or the wider the skirt, the less elongating and slimming effect. Why? Because where the legs are exposed is usually an area of colour contrast that horizontally divides the length of the body (L). If hosiery and/or shoes/boots are worn in a similar contrast level (depth and colour) to the hemline colour, the vertical influence is maintained.


Run a Line

The most effective vertical line is one that runs down the center of your torso or limb (a seam, contrast stitching, zipper, row of buttons). However, the line’s position and width can negatively impact the elongating effect. This is definitely worth considering in light of how to dress slimmer.

Dress O’s wide vertical central panel, which is lighter than the sides, adds width to the torso. The wide central vertical seam in dress P divides the torso in two equal halves; however, the purple side is shinier, which makes it appear slightly wide than its darker matte counterpart. With sweater Q, the wider panel makes the torso appear wide regardless of the seam (vertical line). Sweater R is slimming due to the vertical seam being on the center of the torso.

A crease down the center of a pants is slimming. Pairing such with pointy toe high heel shoes looks even better.

Color in the Lines

Color coordinating your outfits can achieve an elongated look, either with an inner or outer line.

For example, a solid color single breasted jacket left open and paired with pants of the same or similar color creates an uninterrupted appearance from shoulder to pants hemline. Worn with a bright/light top and you create an outer vertical line (S). The darker colour is slimming because it recedes; a lighter/brighter colour advances, drawing the eye to the centre.

For variety, wear pants and a top of the same colour along with a solid colour single breasted jacket or cardigan in a different colour. This creates an inner vertical line (T). A light/bright jacket or cardigan should be avoided by those who are large above the waist because it will cause the upper body to appear wider.

Focal Feature

Even the best-laid lines of style and trends can be undone if you add a focal point which minimizes the vertical effect. For example, wear a low-placed focal point (colourful shoes, border on skirt) and you draw the eye downward, which in turn ruins the illusion of slimness and height. However, all you have to do is wear something eye-catching up high as a counterbalance (an accessory, statement jewelry, make-up or hairstyle) to move the eye upward. Ta-da!


Beware the Stretchy Stripe

While it’s well-known that vertical stripes elongate your appearance, some fabrics undo all the good of those stripes. Stretchy, clingy fabrics with vertical stripes can stretch out of shape where you are widest and end up accentuating what you want to camouflage. Stick with non-stretchy fabrics and a semi-fitted silhouette for stripe success.

Toe the Line

Wow! Who knew design lines exerted so much influence over how people perceive your physical appearance? Did you know it also affects them psychologically? It’s true. Tall is associated with strong (think trees, skyscrapers, and pro basketball players). Someone with “upright” morals is viewed as having strong beliefs. So it’s natural to view someone who walks tall or has an elongated appearance to be some kind of authority.

You can use vertical design to as part of your plan for how to dress slimmer. If you want to appear more professional, more authoritative (and slimmer and taller), be sure to incorporate vertical elements. After all, pinstripes for menswear hasn’t lost its pro touch!


A: 1. pintucks in shirt, 2. skinny pants, 3. high focal point with button on collar
B: 1. one colour outfit, 2. raglan neckline drawing attention upwards, 3. embellished collar, 4. pointy toe shoes.
C: 1. outer vertical colour flow, 2 .strong focal point blouse
D: 1. semi fitted tubular dress, 2. vertical pattern, 3. pointy toe shoes
E: 1. solid coloured dark dress 2. eyes up focal point – white shirt, 3. pointy toe shoes.
F: 1. solid coloured dress
G: 1. knee high boots, 2. striped coat, 3. focal point on shoulders and at neck, 4. high heels, 5. pointy toe shoes.
H: 1. gored skirt, 2. high waistband on skirt, 3. high focal point – leopard blouse
I: 1. vertical pattern in skirt, 2. pointed toe shoes

simple fashion style tips


By | Colour, Coordination, Figure Flattery, How To..., Wardrobe Savvy | 2 Comments

Are there tricks to looking slimmer, taller, better?

Yes! In fact, using the following simple style tips you can achieve the look you want. All use design lines, colors, and fabric characteristics to enhance and/or minimize your appearance.


VERTICAL design elements slim and lengthen any area of the body they are worn on. The more vertical lines there are, the slimmer and taller you will appear. Vertical elements aren’t limited to vertical stripes. They include zippers, pants, monochromatic outfits and garments, open jackets, pleats, and center front buttons, which elongate your overall appearance.

HORIZONTAL design features add width to the area on which they’re worn. Working the opposite of vertical lines, they make you appear shorter and wider. Examples range from horizontal stripes to yokes, boxy skirts, belts, wide leg pants, and wide or contrasting waistbands. These appear to “cut” the appearance of the body into sections. A good rule-of-thumb to remember is that you will appear as wide as your widest hemline.


DIAGONAL design features run at an angle across the body, but follow vertical/horizontal illusions. If the angle is more vertical, the area appears taller and thinner. If the angle is more horizontal, the area appears shorter and wider.

CURVED/ROUND design elements add (surprise!) curves. While this sounds ideal if you’re going for a feminine look, know they also add width and weight, which is not ideal if you have ample sources of both. Floral, paisley, and swirly patterns, along with round necklines, curved hemlines, and contoured belts achieve the look.

Color is an easy device to use to maximize or minimize your size and manipulate your height (i.e. appear shorter or taller).  Below are some simple style tips related to color.

Look at the following photos: in Photo A, the hips appear wider than in Photo C. Why is that? Light, bright colors “advance,” making the area they are worn over appear larger. Light colors worn on the upper half your body draw the eye upward, thus they also make you appear taller (Photo C). Dark colors “recede,” and do the exact opposite (medium depth colors have no movement effect). Darker colors also appear “heavier” than lighter colors and help you appear more balanced when worn on your lower half. Photos D & E show the slimming effect of the use of darker colors and low color contrast coordination (i.e. one continuous column of color). You must be naturally tall and slender to pull off the looks in Photos A and B.

There are some colors which suit almost everyone because they have certain characteristics:

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


These universal colors appear along with each new season’s crop of trend colors and are widely available. Here are just a few:



Besides using lines and colours to enhance your appearance, you must also consider a garment’s silhouette. The wrong silhouette for your figure can make even the cutest garment look bad. The right silhouette, however, can make you look great.

There are 4 silhouettes:

  • Very fitted: best for slender, youthful women with firm bodies because tight, clingy fabrics highlight every lump and bump.
  • Semi fitted: flattering on all women
  • Boxy & stiff: falls straight and stiffly and disguises the body’s shape. Best for straight-figured women under 45 years of age. A boxy jacket is best when it sits above the low hipline and hides a midriff roll or tummy. A boxy jacket can appear matronly on women 45+ years old if the jacket is longer or in an out-of-style colour.
  • Boxy & soft: made of a flowing soft fabric that’s flattering for all ages and weights, particularly on mature, full-figured women.


What turns plain old clothes into a winning outfit? A focal point! A focal point is anything which attracts attention: smoky eyes, hair highlights, a piece of jewelry, a print, shoes, a handbag. It’s intended to draw the eye to it.

If you’re not certain your attire has a focal point or if your intended focal point is appropriate, try this experiment: get dressed and stand in front of a full-length mirror. Close your eyes and then open them. What’s the first thing you notice? That is your major focal point. Now ask yourself if you want people looking there. Yes? Then you’re probably doing something right. No? It’s time to find another focal point.
If you’re big in the hips or posterior, you’ll want your focal point to be above the waist. If you’re large busted and wish to minimize your appearance, you’ll want your focal point below the waist. This can be done by counterbalancing a body feature by adding a competing focal point in the right place. See in the photo below that the hemline stripes of the blue dress are balanced by the red cardigan, while the striped top and yellow cardigan attract attention away from the bright pants.

Be on your guard against fussy looks by using less than three focal points. A great subject to study for how to achieve the 3-focal point or less look is the Duchess of Cambridge.



Fabrics come in three basic surfaces which alter the appearance of the garment and manipulate the size of the wearer. They are:

Matte surfaces: absorb light rather than reflect it (wool, most cottons, linen). Tend to make the wearer appear slimmer.

Fabrics with sheen: reflect light, thus appears to “advance” slightly, but will not add significant bulk to your size unless the garment is clingy or tight.

Shiny/sparkly surfaces; highly reflect light, thus appear to “advanced” greatly and enlarges the area it covers. Soft, shiny fabrics can also highlight every bump and lump.



(Purple dress by IGIG, Leggings by Asos, Jacket by Free People, & Jacket by Bloomingdales)

Besides its surface qualities, fabric weight and texture can be used to your advantage. For example, did you know you can “lose” a few pounds by wearing the right fabrics? Thin, lightweight, smooth fabrics cling to the body and have little bulk and texture, which visually slims your silhouette.

Firm, smooth fabrics are figure flattering when they echo the silhouette of your body (i.e. a tailored suit or leggings) but won’t necessarily minimize your figure.

Sheer fabrics are great for camouflaging challenge areas, such as a full upper arm, tummy, or full behind.

If you want to “bulk up” certain areas of your body, wear thicker, heavyweight fabrics, especially those with a bulky texture (corduroy, crinkled, quilted, ruffled, or fur).


Every “body” is unique; therefore, what looks good on a celebrity or an acquaintance won’t necessarily flatter you. So before you try to copy a look you like, keep these 4 rules in mind for style success:

  1. Slimline tops and bottoms work well together for a long, lean look.
  2. A full skirt/pant is best worn with a slim top.
  3. A full top is best worn with a slim bottom.
  4. A full top and bottom usually doesn’t work well because they create a wide, shapeless look.