Practically everyone has at least one, if not a few striped items of clothing in our wardrobe. Be it a breton top or your go-to striped dress, these have become such fashion staples.

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REDValentino Autumn Winter 2014. Image: REDValentino Disney

The challenge then, is to find new ways to re-wear these stripes. But fear not; the solution is far easier than you would think. As the list below would show, there are honestly no fixed fashion “rules” to wearing stripes. Although thick lines and vertical stripes are amongst the trickiest to wear, there are ways to make even these look figure-flattering.

Dries Van Noten FW2014_0.jpgDries Van Noten Autumn Winter 2014. Images: Showbit

I’ve sussed out 10 of my favourite ways to wear these striped finds, as seen on style bloggers and on the fashion week runways too.

1. Put a breton top on
The easiest way to wear stripes is to put one of these nautical-style tops on. First popularised by Coco Chanel as early as 1917, this thin-striped boat neck top was styled simply with wide-leg black pants and a blazer. As proof of its enduring timelessness, you can wear virtually anything with such a top, which now comes in a variety of hues, beyond the initial white-blue combination.

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Ines de la Fressange x Uniqlo merino stripe sweaters, $59.90 each. Images: Uniqlo

To liven things up, why not match it with a bright skirt.

2. Layer it on
Get more style mileage out of your striped dress by layering on a sweater or a crop top; or take the easy way out by buying a dress that does the matching for you. 

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Zara viscose skirt (left), $39.90; Something Borrowed stripe maxi dress (right), $39.90, Zalora. Images: Zara, Zalora

This also makes it easier for you to try the vertical stripes, or a print that uses stripes of varying colour and thickness.

3. Match it with polka dots

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Angelababy at London Fashion Week Fall-Winter 2014/15. Image: Onin Lorente

You wouldn’t expect it but a lined skirt and a dotty shirt make for such a winning fashion combination, as seen on Angelababy.

4. It’s all about strategic placement
Thicker stripes can be worn to balance out your body proportions. A pear-shaped figure as well as the petite will appear more proportionate with the help of a striped top, while a striped skirt balances out your curves on top.

stripe top ootd.jpgImage: Showbit

A mix of vertical, horizontal and diagonal stripes, when placed strategically can also help lengthen and elongate your figure.

Bottega Veneta FW2014.jpgBottega Veneta Autumn Winter 2014. Images: Showbit

5. Go vertical with pin stripes
We’ll like to bust the myth that horizontal stripes will make you look fat. The inverse is actually true; such stripes have a slimming effect, when compared to vertical stripes due to the Helmholtz illusion.

That does not mean that you should skip vertical stripes altogether. We’ll suggest that you take style cues from menswear and don pin stripe, the print with thin, parallel lines in contrasting colours.

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Channel model Tao Okamoto’s menswear-inspired look, as seen on the Bally Autumn Winter 2014 campaign. Image: Bally

The easiest way to wear it would be to have the print on a pair of pants or on a blazer.

ASOS polyester blend stripe skort (left), $29.70, ASOS and iRoo stripe pants (right), $126.80. Images: ASOS, iRoo

6. Try wearing stripe-on-stripe
The easiest way to do this, is to choose striped items with lines of varying thickness.

As seen on this Armani Exchange look, why not try pairing a jacket with thicker stripes matched with a breton top. 

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AX Armani Exchange striped jacquard jacket, $290, Club 21. Image: Club 21

Keep the rest of your outfit simple by keeping to a monochromatic colour scheme, for a more polished, work-appropriate look.

7. Variety is key

Alberta Ferretti SS2014.jpgAlberta Ferreti Spring Summer 2014. Images: Showbit

The most stylish striped frocks and skirts around will vary in thickness, from thin lines at the waist to thicker lines near the hem and neckline.

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Ostwald Helgason polyester stripe top (left), $331, Club 21 eShop and Bless’ed Are the Meek cotton-viscose blend draped skirt (right), $200, SheShops. Images: Club 21, SheShops 

8. Stick to one striped item
If you dare not wear these stripes from head-to-toe, keep the stripes to just your skirt, shoes or on a single accessory.

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H&M polymer-blend flare skirt (left), $19.90 and Koumi Koumi stripe wedges, $29.90, Zalora. Image: H&M, Zalora

It’s another easy way to give vertical stripes a try. Another handy tip: A skirt with vertical or diagonal stripes, when matched with a top in a solid colour can give the illusion of height.

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Asama silk satin square scarf, $85, SheShops. Images: SheShops

9. Mix it up with multiple prints and colours
If you’re tall and thin, this is the style for you to try.

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In the style of Caroline Issa (left): Mother of Pearl multi-print silk dress, $598, Club 21 eShop. Images: Onin Lorente, Club 21

Those with boyish figures have more free play with mixing and matching multi-colour stripes with other prints. This style however, may look too busy if you’re curvy.

10. Belt it

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Image: Showbit 

Put on a belt in a contrasting hue on for a figure-cinching effect on your striped dress. Our favourite no-fuss combination: A thin red belt, paired with a stark black-white stripe dress.

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Ines de la Fressange x Uniqlo skinny belt, $29.90

STOCKISTS
A|X Armani Exchange stores are located at ION Orchard, Paragon, Vivocity and Ngee Ann City in Singapore.

Bally stores are located at ION Orchard, Takashimaya and The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands; the Autumn Winter 2014 collection is now available in stores.

H&M store locations can be found here.

iRoo stores are located at Takashimaya Shopping Centre, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands,Vivo City, and Great World City.

REDValentino stores are located at ION Orchard and The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands; the Autumn Winter 2014 collection is now available in stores.

The full Ines de la Fressange x Uniqlo collection will be available Uniqlo Suntec City, with selected styles available at other Uniqlo stores from September 5, 2014.