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Tina, here.

I was at the lake last weekend doing my best French girl on the Riviera routine in Breton stripes and capri sandals.

How To Wear Stripes Without Looking Wide

But my stripes are from TJ Maxx and my capri sandals are from tar-jay. And the Tennessee hills and lakes were my backdrop. And I was still a very happy girl. But I wouldn't turn down a trip to the Riviera.

How To Wear Stripes Without Looking Wide

Stripes are difficult to wear because common sense says horizontal stripes make you look wide. So we're gonna talk about how to pull off stripes without widening your frame.

How To Wear Stripes Without Looking Wide

Everyone acknowledges that horizontal stripes can make you appear wider than you are, and vertical stripes can make you appear taller. Need scientific proof? There's a study on that. Scientist Val Watham documented results that "show that vertical stripes make people look taller, while horizontal hoops make them look wide - but plain black was the most slimming of all."  Val was pushing back on another so-called study that said horizontal stripes make you look thinner. To which everyone who has ever worn clothes said, we're pretty sure that's bogus. That doc later clarified that what he really meant was that narrower horizontal stripes look better than wider stripes. No kidding.

See what we're talking about? Now, in 3D, as in when a human is wearing stripes, there are a lot more variables, like fabric content for one, and special circumstances. But this is a pretty good illustration. Refer to Val's study for more.

So why the enduring popularity of horizontal stripes? Romanticism, I think. Rugby shirts. Sailor shirts. Breton shirts. Each one of these categories conjures up stories of the adventure and excitement we create when we wear them. And they're all horizontal stripes.

How To Wear Stripes Without Looking Wide

See how the stripes get narrower from top to bottom? Brilliant design for a $12.99 top. This makes you think the human wearing these stripes gets narrower from top to bottom, too. Here's a traditional sailor stripe shirt that we really like. If you click on this link and buy it, we don't make anything off your purchase; we're just sharing honest advice and great style. That's how we do things. Vault Insiders, we just added a handful of stripe shirts and dresses for you to shop in the June Style Vault, in Style Notes. And don't miss the capri sandals featured in the how to wear it sections. 

If you’d like to join our monthly members-only service, where our personal stylists deliver great recommendations you can find in one, easy-to-shop place, you can do that here. We vet all the choices and bring you the best. We don’t work for retailers or advertisers, so you get an honest opinion, not what we’re paid to promote.*Vault Insiders, new items have been added to the June  Style Vault  in Style Notes.

How To Wear Stripes Without Looking Wide

The best way to wear horizontal stripes is to stick with the traditional navy and white or black and white.

How To Wear Stripes Without Looking Wide

If you must wear stripes, but they aren't going to do you any favors, throw on an anorak that has some shape at the waist.

How To Wear Stripes Without Looking Wide

What width should your stripes be? What color is your parachute? ha but really. It depends. The wider you are, the narrower the stripes, but not too narrow.

How To Wear Stripes Without Looking Wide

Another way to wear horizontal stripes is to cinch your waist in with a belt.

How To Wear Stripes Without Looking Wide

Stripes of different widths are flattering on most everyone because breaking up a canvas of fabric with variations of shapes keeps the eye moving, instead of focusing where you don't want the extra attention, like your mid-section for example.

How To Wear Stripes Without Looking Wide

Ok, so I know you may not have a sailor stipe shirt in your closet and you love color and pattern. If you choose stripes, I promise you they will look better if they are variable widths, getting narrower from top to bottom, and even better if they are "washed" or ombre or some other artsy stripe as opposed to perfectly straight-across stripes. Capiche?

How To Wear Stripes Without Looking Wide

And my preference will always be white jeans or white chinos or a skirt to pair with a top that has both pattern and lots of colors. I don't like busy-body clothing.

How To Wear Stripes Without Looking Wide

Check out the sailor stripe shirt we like, or for more options like stripe dresses and ombre stripe tops (and some capri sandals!), Vault Insiders can shop the Style Notes. Most bloggers get paid by retailers when you shop their picks. Not us. We're real personal stylists bringing you great options inside our online shopping service. Want more info? Click here.

Want us up close and personal? Get us in your closet now! We’re booking in-home wardrobe makeovers now. Check out our wardrobe packages from Tina Adams Consulting here.

Best,

Tina

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Photos by Krissy Leigh Creative 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/krissyleighphotography/