Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Unbroken Vertical Line in Brown

Sweater - Vince, ¾ sleeve tee shirt – Michael Stars, velvet skirt – Chanel, corduroy pants – Ermanno Scervino  
Belted cardigan – MICHAEL Michael Kors, Tweed jacket – A.P.C., leather jacket – Quicksilver, cardigan – United Bamboo

Navy cardigan – M. Patmos, bone blazer - Gucci, camel blazer – Rag & Bone, ivory cardigan - Missoni
Yellow blazer – Theory, Rose cardigan – Diane von Furstenberg, Blue cardigan – N. Peal,  Pink blazer – Acne

Gold cardigan – Topshop, turquoise blazer – Iva,  red blazer – Hermès, hot pink cardigan - Patagonia

Long cardigan – Missoni, applique jacket – Manoush, Leopard cardigan – Dolce & Gabbana, Plaid jacket – Moschino Cheap & Chic, block print cardigan - Quicksilver


  1. Oh, I feel so stupid for never visualizing this before now! Tomorrow the black shirt goes on with the black pants rather than the white shirt!

  2. Dressing in a vertical column of color is one of my tricks for disguising thick, jiggly thighs, wide hips, and a generous bottom.

  3. Thanks for this.

    I have always loved the elegance of a monochromatic look. And at 5'3 with short-leg proportions, I really need the length of monochrome, or monotone, or whatever you call that visual column.

    The problem is, my coloring requires medium to high contrast. All light, all medium, or all dark is all too much on me. And an accessory, unless it's really statement-quality visually, usually isn't enough to "pop" the one-tone look. (I'm sick of the fashion term "pop," but it works.)A strand of pearls, or gold or silver earrings, or a bright bracelet just isn't enough, and I'm not one to wear piles and piles of big jewelry.

    Except for the occasional, predictable suited look (matching jacket or cardigan with pant or skirt, and contrasting top underneath). I usually wear a mix of tones in separates to appease my coloring, and feel uneasy because I don't have either the length or pull-togetherness of a single tone. I do love my mixed neutrals, both for the aesthetic of it, and for the mix of tones my complexion needs, but I sacrifice length in the process.

    I'm going to use your examples and find ways to work *over* the column, especially now that cooler weather is on its way.

    Speaking of which, any ideas for doing a column-with-contrast for very hot summer weather (hot days, hot nights, and these days not a lot of frigid indoor air either), which is what we have for at least 6 months of the year??

    Thanks for the great ideas

  4. Ahh, this is why two colour combos (the mainstay of the mature British woman - imagine navy pleated skirt with elasticated waist with lilac twin set) don't look as chic?

    Tell me why it looks so much more elegant to wear a column of colour with a toning/contrast jacket than say, black skirt/contrast colour top/ black jacket? The latter is such a universal look that the average lady in the street must feel they will look boring unless they combine contrasting colours. What I have realized, a lightbulb moment as I read this blog, is the one-colour-column ethic is the perfect canvas for accent accessories such as my very small collection of Hermes scarves.

    Dee: have you tried silk scarves as your high colour contrast - much more visual clout than most jewellery!

  5. I wear those columns all the time--skinny pants, matching tank (both in brown or black) with a sweater or jacket. Sooooo easy to get dressed. Also makes it easier to resist buying more items.

  6. Yup, this is a fail-safe. I do it with black, with taupe, and with white/cream (in summer).

  7. For Dee, an idea: I recently tried a skirt and tank top in a single color with a sleeveless silk shirt in another color worn over the tank (and not buttoned) as a " jacket". It was a third piece but not too hot as both it and the tank were thin silk. You might try it with thin cotton pieces, too.

  8. PussyWillow, I do agree that this column look is perfect for making accessories the focus. And in winter, I do live in scarves much of the time--usually longish or big square warm ones--solid or printed, but not the traditional printed silk square usually featured here. I

    do love the contrast of my scarves in winter, though, as it sort of doesn't matter what I wear, if it fits and is clean and warm, when there's a great scarf over top. And I go naturally to the column in winter, now that I think about it. Black pants, charcoal sweater, big contrast scarf. Dark jeans, black turtleneck, ditto. Light camel pants, light grey sweater, ditto. Too easy!

    My two scarf dilemmas are: First, it's very hot here half of the year, and then I don't want anything on my neck. Hair goes up. No necklaces unless very light. Deep scoops and Vs. So clearly no scarves. Torture.

    But the other dilemma is that, come cooler weather, I want badly to wear these beautiful printed silk scarves. I just rarely figure out how to do it without looking overly prim or older-traditional.

    I guess I never see them on other women around here except the occasional matronly lady who looks lovely in her pretty scarf---and nicely matronly. I try them on me, and I lose my nerve and take it off.

    Understand, I'm 50, and I'm not in the least trying to fake a too-youthful look. My style is contemporary classic, I love pearls, I wear flats and low-heeled shoes...I'm not an uber-hip chick. But, do you know what I mean that, even while being of a certain age, there are some looks that are perfectly nice on others but just seem to be going in the wrong direction on you?

    I imagine all of you wearing these gorgeous silk scarves and looking very chic and colorful, but my imagination doesn't extend to just how you are doing it. I WISH I could figure out how to make them work on me and have the confidence to feel stylish and un-June Cleaver. I drool over the scarves in every one of the wardrobes here. Maybe one day my light bulb will come on. Now that I'm a devoted fan of this blog, once cooler weather comes to my back yard I will be experimenting seriously.

    SewingLibrarian, I'm going to my closet to see if I have anything I can use to try out your strategy of a thin tank under a thin, unbuttoned sleeveless shirt. I love the idea. That third piece makes all the difference in feeling really dressed, something tough to manage in the heat.