Column Dressing – So Easy!

column dressing exampleLast week I attended a business luncheon at which I was seated next to a future Hall of Fame athlete. I wore a black column (black slacks and black knit sleeveless sweater), topped with a cobalt blue jacket. Pulled together very nicely, if I do say so. But, there is a funny story behind my ensemble. I was wearing my black column, topped with a lovely winter white double breasted jacket when I left the house that morning. Just before leaving my office to head over to the luncheon, our Executive Director walked by my door, and I caught a glimpse of the back of her jacket, realizing we had the EXACT same outfit on – black columns and winter white jacket. I immediately let her know that I would leave right away and stop by my house for a quick change  on the way to the luncheon.

Because I had my column on, it was so easy to run in, make a decision between a cobalt blue and kelly green blazer, and back out the door. Phew! Column dressing is so versatile, I highly recommend you have a few in your wardrobe for any occasion.

I first heard of column dressing during a presentation by Juliann Stitick from Your Success Style. It is a VERY simple way to pull together a look for any occasion, which I’ve been using in my ensemble choices ever since. I’ve noticed there a many others who do dress in columns, and there are variations of columns, as well.

What is Column Dressing?

It’s when you create a column of of consistency in color, or pattern over which you add a contrasting element.

There’s a high level professional in my company who  does a solid column of black slacks and black top every day, over which is topped a contrasting jacket or sweater. One day it’s polka dots, another animal print, on others a contrasting solid. Works perfectly for her, and she always looks great.

Solid columns look more business-like, while patterned can be more playful and relaxed, like a polka dot column with a solid casual jacket. I can see that for a fun summer outing, sandals and straw bag, maybe even a hat.

Column Variations

You can do two shades of the same column color, or break up the column with belts, scarves, or long necklaces. Just be careful to keep the different shades of color close, so you don’t lose the solid column effect.

Marla Tomazin, Image Stylist, say’s this about column dressing:

Consider column dressing.

Column dressing means wearing a top and pants or a skirt in the same base color—not only is it vital in extending your wardrobe, but it will also make you look taller and thinner. (And what woman doesn’t want to look taller and thinner?) For business trips, the “column” will extend your looks and will allow you to pack lightly. Start all your work ensembles with a column and build up from there. Keep it interesting by adding a different color jacket, sweater , shoe, or belt. Or you can really make a statement with bold jewelry or a scarf.”

Select a few columns to have on hand with a contrasting jacket or sweater . Intersperse them throughout your week, to see how easy it is!”

About Candace

Candy Dye is a Nurse Practitioner and teacher that loves everything about health, wellness, looking beautiful, and being with people who enjoy life and love to have fun!


  1. Carol Avery says

    Thanks again for the great tips Candy! What a smart way to organize a wardrobe. I’m going to look at mine and see how I can try this with what I have and then add from there!

    • Candace says

      You will love how easy it is!

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