How to wear Stripes in clothing

How can you look good in stripes? -The rules to wear them so that they enhance your features and make you look beautiful

A striped fabric is any fabric with lines of different colors on the surface, that is part of its woven, knitted structure or which has printed lines on it.

striped clothing style

When I think of stripes, the first thing that comes to my mind is the many variations of blue-and-white stripes in my husband’s wardrobe. Stripes seem to be a thing with men’s shirts, t-shirts, and even jackets and pants. Designing with stripes appears to be a favorite for men’s wear; for women, not so much, but it is getting there.

Stripes can look very appealing on women’s wear – with the correct placements. They have a unique energy and fluidity that can be used to advantage to enhance the look of the clothes and the person wearing them.

Stripes have not always been a favorite in fashion design. A long time ago, royalty and the nobility never wore striped clothes. The striped patterned clothes were only worn by the outcasts. There was even an official decree that only a section of the society (downtrodden, ofcourse) should wear stripes. 

There is even this book titled ‘The Devil’s Cloth: A History of Stripes’ by Michel Pastoureau which explains the taboo on striped clothes in ancient times.

Even today, you know who wears convict stripes (convict stripes refer to the black and white stripes worn by prisoners). Clowns also wear striped clothes.

But stripes have integrated very well into mainstream fashion, and many fashion designers design garments with striped patterns like any other pattern. In alternate fashion, stripes are a constant. Sailor t-shirts with vertical navy blue stripes and Sailor-inspired striped black and white tops are a favorite for a lot of hipsters.

striped cloth with thin lines and thick lines

Different names for stripes

The stripes can be uniformly formed or made of wide and narrow lines. The other kind of stripes are colored stripes against black or white backgrounds.

There are several kinds of distinctive stripes in fashion. They have very characteristic features and unique names like Awning stripes, Bengal stripes, Pinstripes, Candy stripes, Barcode stripes, Shadow stripes, Bayadere stripes, Regimental stripes, and Roman stripes.

You can identify 18 of these stripes by looking at this post – Different types of stripe patterns

In mens’ clothing, stripes are constantly used – diagonal stripes are used frequently on ties. Seersucker suits usually have a striped pattern. Striped shirts form a staple in most of the office wardrobes.

Stripes do have a modern appeal – which is suitable for formal as well as a casual dresscodes.

How to style stripes?

First decide on whether you want to be an attention grabber or a wallflower – stripes can do both very well. In faded neutral colors with thin lines, the striped pattern can make you fade into the wall. But bright colored stripes, even if it is worn only as a small accessory, can make you look striking.

Dark-colored stripes on a light background are usually a striking color scheme. If you do not want to be this conspicuous, you can go for tone-on-tone stripes.
Stripes made of light-colored lines or tone-on-tone work well for conservative dressing styles.

Dark and bright colored stripes always make a bold statement. A mix of stripes made of grays and blues lines is great for conservative clothes for formal occasions.

A case for thin stripes

Thinner stripes are considered more flattering than wider stripes. They are also more slimming, taking into consideration the colors of the stripes. It is best if, in addition to being light and thin, the striped lines are closer together. 

Vertical or Horizontal stripes

Which stripes make you look thinner? Which way do you wear stripes to look slim?

The main question is “How to wear stripes without looking fat? Most of us want to look tall and slimmer.

The best advocacy for stripes comes out of our desire to look lean. The slimming-down effect of lines, especially vertical lines, is legendary. Everyone knows that vertical lines on clothes make you look taller and slimmer.

The key to looking good in stripes is to find the right balance in the striped pattern.

If you are planning to buy pants with stripes, a vertical stripes pattern will look better than a horizontal striped pattern. But when it comes to skirts, both vertical and horizontal stripes can work equally well.

You can wear stripes according to your body shape.

For short women, it is good to wear thin vertical stripes as it gives an illusion of an elongated figure.

If you have a pear-shaped body, use horizontal striped tops to give an impression of wider shoulders. Avoid striped bottoms as they will draw attention to your wider curves. Wear a vertical striped top with a solid-colored bottom.

striped clothing styles with dark stripes on a light background and dark stripes on a dark background

How to make horizontal stripes flattering?

Horizontal stripes can be flattering, depending on the placement. Stripes are more attention-grabbing than solid. So when combined with solids, they should be placed in such a way that they divert attention from problem areas.

But if the stripes are darker and the solid is lighter in color, the opposite may be true. As light color tends to expand our vision.

For those with apple-shaped bodies, diagonal stripes on above or below can help deviate attention from the mid-section.

If you have an inverted triangle shaped body with horizontal stripes can be used for bottom wear to bring more attention to the area below waist.

Stripes as inner wear and as outerwear

Combining stripes with solids and other patterns.

A striped pattern together with other striped patterns or other prints like floral or spots can be a little overwhelming if done wrong. But if you get it right the risk is well worth it.

You can mix vertical and horizontal stripes for the top and bottom. Similarly, you can also go for different width stripes for the top and bottom. For example, a wider horizontal striped top and thinner vertical striped pants.

Wearing stripes for clothing as well as accessories is not a good idea. If you are going for an all stripe ensemble, it’s better to use a solid color or other prints for bags and shoes.

If you are thinking of how to pair stripes with other clothes in solids, the easiest and most classic method is to wear a striped top with a darker toned bottom in the same color as the largest stripe in your pattern. A plain top with a striped bottom can always look fabulous.

Different combinations to try with stripes

For a more trendy and casual look, wear a striped top with a pair of jeans and a jacket or blazer. You can also choose a striped jacket to go with plain t-shirt/shirt and pants.

Horizontal or vertical stripes in contrasting colors can make a statement. So, if you want to go bold, try multi-colored stripes in place of single-color stripes.

If you don’t want to go for stripes all over, go for stripes on selective places like on sleeves or on the hem, or as a shawl.

mixed colored stripes in clothes

Related posts : Names of 17 check patterns; How to cut and sew printed fabrics.; Different types of patterns on fabrics

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.
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