Style Stretching Strategies: Color Columns

I recently summarized my favorite wardrobe tricks to describe the strategy behind a 10-piece collection in brown and plum that I added to my own wardrobe. Then I realized I haven’t ever itemized them succinctly on this blog.  So here goes …

Trick #1 is building color columns.  In a client’s key neutral colors, I try to add a color-matched top with every bottom.  Even better – two different bottoms, an under-layer top and over-layer top all in that neutral.  Watch the magic those pieces can do …

The specific styling of those pieces can adapt to and body type, lifestyle and budget.  This gives you an idea of the range you might pick from in neutral navy.

You could choose a narrow skirt or a fuller one.  You might opt for dress pants or dark-wash jeans (or both)  One under-layer top.  The over-layer defines the formality level – blazer, jean jacket, hoodie or cascade cardigan?

Here’s the chhocolate brown column I created for myself.  The jacket is an oldie but goodie; skirt, pant and shell are new additions. Each top works with each bottom to make a head-to-toe flow of color.  Here are two of those:

The Inside Columns can be topped with other over-layers in a variety of accent color for instant outfits.  The dusty blue suede cardigan is an somewhat surprising color example.  And the Outside Columns make additional combinations with accent under-layer tops.

Of course I can break up the colums and coordinate them in other ways too.  One of my favorite combos layers the brown cardigan over a column of black – an unexpected and very sophisticated mix that relies (as the blue outfit does) on a second Stretching Strategy:  Links.  More about that HERE. 

What neutral pieces are hanging in your closet just waiting to be expanded into Color Columns?


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. Barbara Grace on November 28, 2020 at 7:05 pm

    Love the waterfall jacket over the sheath dress!

  2. Wanda Liliedahl on November 29, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    The waterfall design sure helps a 5’1” figure with their multiple vertical lines.

    • Nancy Nix Rice on November 29, 2020 at 2:25 pm

      There’s a reason I own so many of those myself – LOL.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.