The most slimming way to dress is a “column of color” – one color (or closely related colors) head to toe – a suit, pantsuit, matched pant and sweater , etc.  Adding accent color tops under that jacket, or accent layers over the pant and shell keeps the look fresh and varied.

The colors you choose for this head-to-toe effect need to be about the same color value as your facial color pattern.

“Value” is the light/dark dimension of color. Every face can be described by its relative light/dark characteristics. Here are 5 examples, arranged from lightest to darkest, taking skin, hair and eye colors into consideration:

value scale

Similarly, every color has a value, just like you see here:


When you wear a large amount of a color that’s significantly lighter or darker than your own color value, it looks as if your head is floating separate from your body. You want a look that is one unified whole – not a look with a separate head.

The woman below is beautiful, and both garments are striking. But can you see that “floating head” effect when she wears the blush dress? The dark, sequined dress balances to the stronger color value of her hair and eyes – making it the more flattering choice.

The blush color can also be a wonderful, flattering choice for her – but used as a blouse or shell under a chocolate brown jacket or cardigan.

SIDE NOTE: While we’re looking at this example, observe how the side-parted hairstyle puts all the attention on her eyes, while the center-parted ‘do puts focus on her forehead and nose.  What a difference!  And no, I have no explanation for the sparkly green shoes.  Who want to make their feet a focal point?

What items in your own closet balance well with your personal color value?

About Nancy Nix Rice

I help other women feel confident about how they look every day - regardless of their age, budget, lifestyle or the size tag in their pants - so they put wardrobe concerns on the back burner and go share their gifts with the world.


  1. Gail Quillman on November 14, 2015 at 2:46 am

    Another article with great information , giving new enthusiasm for seeking in a rational way the clothes that will make me happy . Thanks a million , Nancy! I’m so sorry that I don’t live in Saint Louis ! You’re a treasure .

    • Nancy Nix Rice on November 15, 2015 at 10:23 pm

      Glad you found the info valuable. Since you don’t live in St Louis, keep an eye open in the newsletter for announcements when I’ll be visiting various areas of the country and hopefully we can connect then.

      • Pam R on June 25, 2016 at 5:17 am

        Where is your schedule available on your website?

        • Nancy Nix Rice on June 25, 2016 at 6:33 am

          It isn’t. Since I remarried (3 years ago next week!) I have a lovely reason to stay home. Thus I haven’t been doing nearly as many out-of-town programs, so I just don’t do a web schedule. Most of the upcoming travel I mentioned in the newsletter is personal or biz-but-not-a-program. But I am still delighted to connect with individual clients while I’m in their area.

  2. Sue P. on November 14, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    This is rather like a maze–walk past the dead ends of colors that don’t work and then follow the promising paths to eventually find great combos of clothing. Now that Rit has synthetic dyes, I might try some of that too for less than perfect colors of colors I already own. Meanwhile, I’m even having fun finding lucky matches and combos from items purchased years apart.

    It’s easy to wish I was taller/thinner/had blonde hair/blue eyes/ whatever, but following your principles leads to finding clothes to flatter me as is. Thinner would be gravy, but it’ll be good either way.

    Looking forward to more wisdom. Thanks!

    • Nancy Nix Rice on November 15, 2015 at 10:14 pm

      Love the “maze”analogy Sue. ANd love hearing that you are learning to love your looks “as is”. We gals tend to spend way too much time wishing and too little time appreciating our own assets.

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