Vertical Lines Can Be A Foe

Whenever I talk about vertical lines, people’s eyes light up because they think all vertical lines are their friends. This can be true when placed correctly; but at the same time, if vertical lines are placed in the wrong spots then they can become foes. Just like poorly placed horizontal lines, vertical lines can create an unbalance and shabby look.

In the graphic above, notice how the placement of the vertical lines creates either an impeccable look or a shabby look.

In this post you will learn about:

  • Why understanding vertical lines is important
  • How vertical lines are created
  • The best placement of vertical lines

Understanding Vertical Lines

Vertical lines:

  • Draw the eye up and down
  • Elongate your appearance and make you look taller
  • Cut the body vertically, creating a slimmer profile

Look at this illustration:

Vertical Lines

All of these rectangles are the same size and shape. Note how the placement of vertical lines affects the appearances of the rectangles by making some of them appear taller and more slender.

How Are Vertical Lines Created?

Before you can place vertical lines correctly, you have to know how they are created.

Vertical lines are created by:

  • Style lines
    • Silhouette of the clothes
    • Princess lines
    • Center front or back seams
    • Button closures
    • Pockets
    • Neckline
    • Raglan sleeve line
  • Scarves
  • Necklaces
  • Handbags

When looking at the above examples of vertical lines, note:

  • How your eye moves up and down
  • How the appearance is elongated
  • How the appearance is slimmer

Proper Placement of Vertical Lines

What isn’t there to love about vertical lines? Well,vertical lines are not our friends when placed in an area that is already too slim and long. They can make that part of the body appear even more out of balance.

Ask yourself these three questions to determine where vertical lines should be placed:

  1. What areas do I want to draw the eye up and down?
  2. What areas do I want to elongate and make look taller?
  3. What areas do I want to appear slimmer?

To illustrate these questions let’s evaluate two of the girls in my logo.

First let’s look at Ms. O. Her waist is visually wider than her shoulders and hips. The vertical line helps move the eye from the shoulders to her hips. See how your eye moves up and down the line. You really don’t notice her bigger waist.

Second look at Ms. V. Her shoulders are visually wider than her waist and hips. Her raglan sleeve vertical lines visually cut the shoulders, making them appear to be in better proportion with her waist and hips.

Finally compare the visual heights of Ms. O vs Ms. V. Because Ms. O has vertical princess lines on her dress, she appears slightly taller than Ms. V.

When you understand your body elements and the clues they tell you, you will understand the placement of vertical lines. As general rule, vertical lines should be placed in the following areas:

  • The fullest part of your body so that area will appear thinner
  • The shortest part of your body so that area will appear longer
  • Where the line will move the eye from one area of the body to the other

Go to your closet and look at that outfit you love to wear. Look at all the style lines that create vertical lines and their placements. Also go to your jewelry box and look at the necklaces you love to wear. What vertical line clues are they giving you?

Now that you understand the benefits and drawbacks of vertical lines, play around with combining them so you can draw the eye where you want it to go and make a certain area look slimmer and taller. Have fun with it. You just might be surprised about your findings. I know I was.

Wear Your Greatness!!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *