Are You Afraid of Stripes???

One of my really close friends once told me that I own too many striped clothes.  Then we went on a shopping trip, and she refused to let me even look at any item of clothing with stripes.  I will admit that I love stripes. I am immediately drawn to them when I walk in a store. Stripes are classic and timeless. If you were to ask me what my favorite pattern is for clothes, it would hands down be stripes.  I may or may not own several versions of black and white and navy and white shirts. Wink, wink! In my defense, they are all slightly different in the size of the stripes, the style of the shirt, or overall look.  I like to view stripes as a neutral.  You can wear stripes with just about anything.  Stripes are also a great way to get your feet wet with pattern mixing, too. I will say that I am not a huge fan of pattern mixing.  I think it is part of my type-A, OCD personality that just cannot handle the contrasting patterns.  However, I am all about mixing patterns with stripes.  My second favorite pattern is probably polka dots.  I don’t have quite as many polka dot things as striped things, but it is a pretty close second.  Anyway, I absolutely love to mix stripes and polka dots together.  That is a great way to dabble in pattern mixing without it being too wild and out there. Stripes are also great to pair with floral and animal patterns.  There is really so much you can do with stripes.

I know many of you are afraid of stripes for fear that they will make you look larger than you really are. While some stripes can do that, it is definitely not the norm so get that idea out of your head now. The trick is knowing how to wear stripes for your body type. Not all body types are the same.  What looks good on me may not look good on your body.  You have to just sort of do a trial and error to see what works best for you.  Here are some of my tips that may help you choose the right stripes for you:

  1. Vertical stripes will typically make you look longer and leaner. I highly recommend that you wear vertical stripes on the lower half of your body, as they will give the illusion of long, lean legs. While in contrast, some vertical stripes on the upper part of your body will make you look boxy and your curves will be less defined. Vertical stripes on a dress can be oh so cute!
  2. Try to avoid wearing horizontal stripes across the largest part of your body. For example, I would almost never (see number 3) wear horizontal stripes across my hips or thighs as those are the largest parts of my body.  Again, horizontal stripes are best on top while vertical stripes are best on the bottom unless it is a dress. You can find many dresses in both horizontal and vertical stripes that look perfect on you depending on the style, cut of the dress, and placement of the stripes.
  3. Thinner stripes are typically more slimming than larger stripes on the larger parts of your body and are the easiest to wear. The only time I would consider horizontal stripes on the lower half of my body is if they are super thin stripes in a neutral colors (see number 4). Wider stripes can sometimes make you look larger than thinner stripes because of the size of the negative space between the stripes.  That space can sometimes accentuate the wrong part of your body depending on placement. However, if the negative space accentuates your waist or smallest parts of your body, they can be just as slimming as thin stripes.  Again, you just have to play around with them.
  4. Neutral stripes such as black and white or navy and white are more slimming than brightly colored stripes and are easier to pair with other things. However, don’t be afraid of colored stripes. In the right style top and width of stripes, colored stripes can be really cute.  You just have to try it on and see how it makes you feel.
  5. If you are larger up top, have larger girls, or broad shoulders, try adding a vest, cardigan, scarf, or jacket in a solid color to add contrast to a striped shirt. These will help break up the stripes and prevent the eye from just focusing on the stripes.
  6. Pair a solid dark colored top such as black or navy or a solid white top with a striped blazer or cardigan to add contrast.
  7. Don’t be afraid to mix vertical and horizontal stripes together, too.
  8. Pattern mixing can be fun if you don’t go overboard.  As I mentioned before florals, animal print, and polka dots are a great way to add some contrast and fun to a striped item.

In all honesty, you just have to try different styles, sizes, and colors of stripes to see what makes you feel good and feel the best about your body. The stripes I am going to show you today are probably the easiest ways to add stripes into your wardrobe.  A good black and white striped shirt or a navy and white striped shirt will look good on most body types and is a great staple item that everyone should have in their closet.

Vertical Stripes

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Thin Stripes

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Colored Stripes

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Striped Blazers/Cardigans Paired with Dark Solid Tops

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Horizontal Stripes with Accent Pieces

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Pattern Mixing

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Mixed Horizontal and Vertical Stripes

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As you can see there are so many ways that you can wear stripes without making yourself look larger/wider.  Don’t be afraid of stripes. I promise you can find pieces that will work for your body type. Just play around with them and see what you like.  If you are still afraid, start small with something like a striped scarf or a basic neutral black and white striped shirt and add an accent piece. In my opinion, you can never have too many striped items in your closet! 🙂

Anchored in Stripes,


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