It’s been a strict rule in fashion for decades: Don’t wear horizontal stripes! According to this unwritten law, stripes create the illusion of width, causing one’s body to appear shorter and stockier than it actually is. Contrary to this widespread belief, horizontal stripes can be worn and can be very flattering. After all, designers wouldn’t keep making striped tops and dresses if they looked horrible on women, would they?
That being said, it’s important to keep a few tips in mind before filling half your closet with this print. The biggest thing to remember is focusing on how the item fits. Make sure your top or dress fits properly and it’s not too snug. Many maternity outfits are designed with horizontal stripes to draw the focus to a growing baby bump. You probably don’t want others to center in on parts of your body you’re feeling insecure about, so make sure your clothing fits well and isn’t stretching more than it should. It’s not a bad idea to visit a tailor or seamstress to ensure your clothing looks its best.
To make the most of your outfit, look for garments with thin stripes, or better yet, look for items with thick stripes at the top that gradually get slimmer toward the bottom like a gradient. This will bring the focus up to your neck, bust and décolletage rather than your tummy and hips. Keep the color in mind as well. A black top with white stripes will look classic and flattering, whereas a bright yellow top with bold black stripes will look a bit too childish or could resemble a bumble bee.
Next, pay attention to the overall design of the clothing. Boat necks and deep-V necklines are a great way to break up stripes. If a striped skirt is what you’re after, look for an asymmetrical or mullet hemline. This too will break up the stripes in a flattering way. Fabrics are another crucial point to remember. Tight jersey fabrics probably won’t flatter the way loose cotton or heavy, structured materials will. Again, make sure these pieces don’t cling to your body and instead rest slightly away from your skin.
Break up your striped apparel with solid-colored pieces, like an oversized black blazer or denim jacket. It’s not a bad idea to incorporate a slim waist-cinching belt into your outfit to draw the focus to the slimmest part of your torso. Look to nautical fashion trends for style inspiration. Navy, gold, red, and white look fabulous with horizontal stripes. Now you can put this myth to rest and rock classic stripes for years to come.