The Real Rules for Wearing Stripes
Stripes can be a tricky design to wear, as large stripes can be overpowering and detract from any outfit. Stripes also affect your silhouette, making you appear larger or slimmer, depending on how you wear them and the overall design of your ensemble. With some striped outfits it’s best to simply try them on before you buy, but you can also note a few simple rules to make you look your best.
It is true that stripes can slim you down or even make you look heavier, so it’s good to be cautious about horizontal and vertical stripes. Vertical stripes, which go up and down, can make you appear taller and leaner as they break up your width. Horizontal stripes have the opposite effect; the break up your height and add width, so they can make you look heavier. There are a few exceptions to this rule, and a few ways to wear stripes correctly to have a better shape.
Because black is a slimming color, you can use vertical black stripes to slim you down if you place them correctly. For example, a white dress with a large vertical black stripe across your midsection will make that area appear smaller. A black dress with a wide vertical white stripe across your bust line can make that area appear larger. While you may want to avoid vertical stripes as a general rule, having them placed in certain areas can work to your advantage.
Horizontal stripes also need attention as to where they’re placed on an outfit. A favorite red carpet trick is to wear a light-colored dress with dark stripes down the sides; this makes a starlet look slimmer as it narrows down her overall width. Using color and stripes this way will help you to look your best no matter your outfit.
The size of stripes for any outfit needs to be considered no matter the color or placement of those stripes. Very large stripes can be overpowering no matter their placement or color. Small stripes can add some visual interest and break up a monochromatic dress or suit or other piece, but pinstripes often look very businesslike and professional. They may not be the best choice for a party dress or for dressier occasions.
It’s also important to note color when you’re wearing stripes as this will also affect the look. Too much color even in pinstripes can be distracting, but a soft color like yellow against a black dress or pink against a brown suit can be flattering and feminine. Be cautious about red or hot pink or other strong colors, but don’t hesitate to have fun with your stripes so your outfits don’t become bland and dull. Try on any striped piece before you buy so you know it will be the best choice for you.