Column Dressing: Gray Formula

I like to think of style rules as someone else’s idea of how you should dress. Style formulas, on the other hand, are proportion and color principles that can help you achieve the look you’re going for. Column dressing is just one of the formulas you can use to look taller and slimmer. Wearing one color head to toe creates a verticle line that leads the eye up and down, giving the illusion of height. Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life wearing a column if color with gray sweater, pants and shoes

The colors don’t need to match exactly to get the effect and it’s fun to incorporate texture and pattern into the mix. Here are some casual outfit of gray sweater and checked pants

I created interest in this column by pairing column of gray worn by Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled LifeI chose slightly darker gray suede flats to add some subtle texture. Nude shoes help you look tallest, especially if you can wear a heel, but for me, flats are most comfy when I’m running errands and spending long hours on my feet.Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life wearing gray silk sweater from Lily Silk

It’s fun to add a pop of color to a neutral outfit, but be aware that it stops the eye from moving up your silhouette. The vertical line is interrupted by the contrasting color so you loose that lengthening effect. I added a patterned tote in a mixture of grays to tie things together.

Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life sitting on bench wearing gray head to toe

High crew necks are not the most flattering with my broad shoulders so I added a gray patterned scarf to create a soft drape at the neckline. This outfit is one of the reasons I am shopping for paler fedora’s this winter. This black hat coordinates but a pale gray hat would lengthen my look even more.

Lilysilk is a great place to shop for holiday gifts. I love these silk pillowcases. They’re all I sleep on now because they’re so gentle on your complexion and hair! They are currently 40% off and right now, Lilysilk is generously offering my readers an extra 12% off everything with the coupon code awellstyledlife. They have very fast and free shipping over $50 so you can get everything in time for the holidays.


Do you use column dressing to look taller?

Have you experimented with adding a pattern and texture?


A big thank you to LilySilk for partnering on this post. Thanks also to you, my readers for supporting the brands who work with A Well Styled Life.


  1. Love your column dressing in grey. I often use this technique in grey, navy, and black.

  2. Ooooh! I’ll have to order some silk pillowcases. They really help with the sleep lines that I used to get on my face every morning. I have some satin ones that I ordered online, but they only came in white. I like that these come in lots of colors. Thanks for all you do!

  3. Ginger Moore says:

    Could you please tell us which pillowcase you order? I am not familiar with the different silks, etc. I love column dressing and agree with you and others that it helps us look taller and thinner. I always look forward to your emails! Thank you!

    1. I buy the 19 momme cases with zipper closing. The silk is so soft, I like to have the case secured.

  4. Column dressing is one of my favorite ways to dress. Most often in navy, brown, caramel or grey. Very rarely do I wear a column of black. I usually wear a long necklace to add another vertical line, but sometimes it’s a scarf instead of a necklace. Shoes are typically loafers or booties in the same color, but maybe a different tone of the same color. I’ve also been know to wear shoes in a totally different color, like red, rust or leopard for an unexpected pop.

  5. I always dress with an inner column or outer column with jacket and pants same color for example because it is easier but being shorter, it helps to add an inch or two. Adding scarfs or jewlery, adding color with bag or shoes is just a lot if fun too. It is never boring just easy.

    1. Inner columns like that are sooo slimming. I love that look.

  6. I do it because it’s easy. My SIL dresses like this and I was shocked, after knowing her for a year, to realize she is an inch shorter than me. I thought she was taller. This works.

  7. I often wear a column of colour, whether it be black, grey or navy. I wear it because it’s easy and has a slimming effect. When going out, I wear a scarf with some colour that ties in with my main column colour. It adds that little bit of brightness and interest – slimmer but not boring.

  8. I love column dressing for slimming purposes…it is a great way to trick the eye! Love your hat…you have inspired me to start trying hats on. Now that my hair is shorter…it just might work!

  9. Linda McCormick says:

    Love the outfit on you. You look beautiful. I also agree about column dressing and appreciated all of the tips. I found some things for me to improve as I have been carrying a tote that is probably too big for me, and some of my long vests/sweaters are finger tip length. At just under 5’3 and 147 I also need any help I can get to look taller and slimmer. ?

    1. My tote is huge too, but I was carrying tons of stuff that day. I had a smaller purse inside it.

  10. Laura Jane says:

    I also use column dressing, but I wasn’t aware of it until I read your post! I agree with Janet – it is an easy way of dressing and looking put together for work. I absolutely love your shoes. Where are they from?

  11. I absolutely do use column dressing to lengthen my body. At 5’3″ I need all the help I can get! It is also an easier way of dressing which helps with my busy work schedule.

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