Fact: Not all stripes are created equally.
Between stripe orientation, width, placement and colour, wearing an ensemble with multiple lines can get a little confusing and unflattering, especially if it doesn’t suit your body type or the intended look you’re trying to achieve. As such, it pays to put a little more effort and thought when you’re shopping for your next striped outfit. To help you with your conundrum, we’ve rounded up nine style tips you can draw reference from.
1. Horizontal or vertical?
If you’re looking to visually extend the length of your body, vertical stripes are your friend. A failsafe option for most body types, vertical stripes work because the continuous lines down the body trick the eye to believing that you’re taller than you really are. Horizontal stripes on the other hand, accentuate width and are more suited toward slender body types who want to look a tad more shapely.
2. Diagonals are fun
Ganni striped swimsuit, US$125.46 (S$173.69) from Net-a-Porter
Diagonal stripes, though less common, are actually a great way to play up the stripe game. They are suitable for people who are conscious of their midsection as it visually distorts and reduces the prominence of the area.
3. Size does matter
Another factor to consider is the width of the striped lines. Thicker stripes, such as the one on the Re/Done sweater, would make you look wider. On the flip side, thinner stripes such as the one on the Sonia Rykiel iteration makes you look slimmer. Also, if you’re picking out a form-fitting outfit (say, a bodycon dress), it might be more flattering to opt for one with thinner stripes. Thicker strips tend to have a bolder and more dramatic effect — but of course if that’s what you’re going for, we ain’t judging.
4. Consider where it goes
La Ligne striped cashmere sweater, US$286.41 (S$396.51) from Net-a-Porter
Now that you know what stripe orientation and size to pick, it’s time to consider its placement. This neutral La Ligne sweater sports a singular vertical stripe across the chest and arms — which makes the area look wider. This design is good for people with a triangular or pear shape body type as it balances with their wider hips. Conversely, this design is not suited for people who are conscious of their broad shoulders.
5. Think about the colour
Oscar de la Renta paneled stretch-knit turtleneck midi dress, US$3,316.99 (S$4,592.04) from Net-a-Porter
Next, factor in the colour of the stripes. As a rule of thumb, dark colours recede and bright colours look bigger and nearer to you. The Oscar de la Renta cleverly uses the slimming effect of black for the sections that hug the body above the waist (hence hiding your flaws, if any), while the use of brighter brown panels makes the skirt look extra billowy.
6. Amalgamate placement and colour
Saint Laurent striped cashmere sweater, US$1,392 (S$1,927.08) from Net-a-Porter
Now combine the previous two principles and put them to use. If you have an inverted triangle body type, this Saint Laurent sweater is a great example of how to play up to your strengths. The block of black at the shoulders and chest will help make them look slimmer while the (brighter) white stripes that follow help creation an illusion of a wider chest and hips. Perfect — as it reduces the focus on the broad shoulder region.
7. Start small
If you’re just dipping your toes into the wonderful world of stripes and are not sure if you want go all out, well, don’t. Instead, start small and opt for a pair of stripe-trimmed pants, such as these from Gucci and Adidas. The vertical stripes along the side seams create a lengthening effect and adds stature.
8. Don’t be afraid of colours
J.Crew striped stretch-knit skirt, US$115.33 (S$159.66) from Net-a-Porter
Once you’ve gotten comfortable with the idea of stripes, consider the colour mix. Black (or navy) and white is usually the most common pairing you’ll see in stripes. Why? It’s a combi that’s timeless and elegant, and will look good on most, if not everyone. But if you’d like to change it up and be that babe that stands out from the crowd, this multi-coloured J.Crew skirt will have you turning heads. But don’t go all rainbow from head to toe: Pair this with a solid coloured top for a classier look.
9. Stripes x Stripes
Now that you’ve mastered everything you need to know about stripes, it’s time to show off your skills with a stripe-on-stripe ensemble. Here’s an example but you should do your thing and explore different stripe widths, orientation and colours for intriguing mash-ups. We’ve gone with a Khaite horizontally striped cropped top with a Golden Goose wide-leg pants that has vertical stripes. Quick tip: Horizontal and thinner stripes tend to look better on the upper body while vertical, chunky stripes will look more aesthetically pleasing on the legs.
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