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Each spring & summer season, I’m always tickled when I see stripes hit the scene! If you’re not typically into wearing patterns, they are an easy and stylish way to introduce prints into your life. I truly feel that anyone can wear stripes and that they should be a BFF in your closet!
But there is certainly an art to wearing them so they don’t exaggerate any ‘trouble’ spots. Here are some quick simple tips to keep in mind when wearing stripes.
10 Do's and Don'ts on How to Wear Stripes
1. Horizontal stripes are generally friendlier to ladies’ figures (regardless of one’s size). Vertical stripes can work, but you really have to be careful with the fabric. Vertical stripes can literally stretch horizontally on the widest sections of our body. Now, I know that sounds a bit confusing but bear with me here. Imagine wearing a stretchy sheath dress with vertical stripes, for example. As you visually follow the vertical stripes downward, they will expand and contract over the widest and most narrow areas of your body. So essentially, what that’s just done is totally bringing attention to the widest parts of your body in a very unflattering way. Do you see why this is a no-no? You can better disguise problem areas with horizontal stripes (with one exception below).
-Okay, sidebar… I totally approve of wearing vertical pinstripes on tops and bottoms. But this needs to be with a structured fabric that doesn’t stretch. Generally, vertical stripes of a smaller width work much better for everyone! 😉
2. Diagonal stripes or stripes in a chevron pattern are a great way to add length to your body or torso.
3. Always think about scale. For the most part, I feel that narrow stripes (let’s say about 1.5” or smaller) are more flattering that wide stripes on most women. There are some exceptions to this rule, but that width is definitely the safe zone. Overall, they’re just most flattering to our shapes.
4. If you have very wide hips, stay away from horizontally striped pants or skirts. In this instance, the stripes accentuate the width in an unflattering way, so it’s generally a good idea to stay away from them.
5. High-contrasting colors (like black and white) are easier to wear together; low-contrasting colors (like navy and purple) are definitely do-able, but I recommend adding an element that will pop – like a statement belt (to break up the stripes) or a scarf or long necklace.
6. If you wear a striped jacket, break it up by adding a column of solid color underneath – this is easier on the eyes and allows you to add a fun element like a long necklace to help break things up!
7. The converse of #6 also works. Placing a solid-colored jacket over stripes is a good way to tone it down some (if you feel the need, of course)! Also, it’s a nice way to add some pop under a solid jacket, too!
8. Want to give the illusion of a wider shoulder (especially if your hip area is wider than your torso)? Instead of wearing stripes in a crew neck style, go with a boat neck or off-the-shoulder style. This effect visually elongates your horizontal neck/shoulder line, which is always very attractive!
9. Feel free to experiment by mix-matching your stripes! In my recent blog post about how to style polka dots, I mentioned that they could go well with stripes! You can mix-match stripes with polka dots, florals, and other prints. Just pay special attention to scale and complementary colors because if not, it can go really wrong really quickly! Oh, and you can mix stripes with stripes (like vertical with horizontal) – again, it has to work just right in order to pull it off so be very mindful of these aspects.
10. Timid about incorporating stripes in your summer ready-to-wear looks? Play with stripes in your shoes, handbags, or accessories!
Check out a collection of pieces I curated that give you an idea of how to wear stripes well!
Living a Striped Life
Love these pieces? Click the pics to Shop the Look!
(…and click the right arrow to see more!)
What's your favorite way to wear stripes? Drop a line in the comment section below!
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