How to Wear Stripes

Written by: Sondra Wolfer

Though often associated with casual and nautical looks , stripes took a starring turn on international fashion runways this spring. But don’t let their current haute couture moment fool you into thinking stripes will cycle out of style by the time autumn arrives. Whether they run vertical, horizontal, or at a jaunty angle, stripes have stood the test of time and make a bold and appealing choice in every season.

Rules for Wearing Stripes

There are none. We’ve all heard fashion mavens laud the slimming quality of vertical stripes and warn of the opposite effect when wearing horizontal stripes. Petite women are told stripes will make them appear the size of a garden gnome. It can feel as though you are at risk of a style faux pas when you wear stripes. I call utter tosh. If there’s any truth to these optical illusions, it’s only slight and shouldn’t put you off stripes. They are far too natty.

What to Wear With Stripes

When it comes to wearing smashing stripes—anything goes. Pair red and white striped tops and tees with toothpick trousers for a classic Audrey Hepburn-esque look. A flowing, striped tunic or a striped knit cardigan over your favourite jeans is the perfect style for casual weekend days. Add zip to the traditional striped work shirt with a solid fitted blazer in a bright colour. Stripes can be dressed up or down easily depending on your choice of accessories. Head to the beach in summer-friendly stripes teamed with a floppy sunhat, or enjoy a garden party in a fitted striped top over a maxi skirt and wedge sandals.

How to Wear a Striped Shirt

The striped shirt is a wardrobe staple for good reason. There are seemingly endless variations: the classic button-up, striped tees and tunics, and striped sweatshirts. Beyond vertical, horizontal, and slanted, stripes can be bold and wide, fine and thin, or even a mix of different widths and colours on a single shirt. A style rut is unlikely with a few striped shirts in your closet. For a cute, casual look, pair a long-sleeved striped tee with a short skirt and white sneakers. Wear a button-up shirt tucked into tailored trousers for a professional look that is ready for morning meetings and networking after work.

How to Wear a Striped Skirt or Dress

When styling striped skirts and dresses, mixing up the stripes with solids is smart. A dark cardigan jumper worn or wrapped around the waist interrupts extensive stripes on a dress or maxi skirt, so they don’t overwhelm. And a solid shirt is always a solid choice with a striped A-line skirt or mini.

If you’re not ready to fully embrace stripes as a wardrobe essential, that’s alright. You can experiment with the look wearing a lightweight striped scarf, or even a bright striped belt. But there’s no better time than summer to explore the endless style options striped clothing offers. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll want to wear playful, chic stripes year round.

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