Why Smart Women Wear Horizontal Stripes

‘I don’t wear horizontal stripes! They make you look fat!’

This is one of the biggest myths in the world of women’s fashion. Yes, there is some truth in it. Big, wide, obvious horizontal stripes can make you look wider (ie fatter).

Horizontal stripes are a basic fashion that all women can wear. Many brands make them plain and boring but good designers make them versatile and smart.

It’s All about Contrast

Stripes are usually a mixture of two colours. They can be muted, soft, medium or bright. In a basic design, these contrasting colours generate a ‘so-so’ response. When you find a design that uses horizontal stripes in unexpected or slightly different ways, it lifts the power of contrast to a higher level. Wearing these designs makes you look like a smart woman who shines. You stand out from the crowd. You attract compliments and you look like an influential leader.

Mix Thick & Thin or Horizontal & Vertical

Graduated horizontal stripes from thin at the top to thicker at hip level or in the skirt on the left , are one simple way to do this. Be careful of horizontal stripes on skirts. You do not want wide stripes around your widest area.







Another variation is where three thicker stripes are added (usually at bust level) to a basic, thin horizontal stripe top. Both these are classic variations.







Some designers make it slightly different by adding a vertical or diagonal collar in the same basic stripe material.







Variety can be added by mixing one panel of a thicker vertical stripe to the basic thin horizontal stripe as in this Butterick 5561 pattern. In muted or soft colours and with a two-thirds vertical to one-third horizontal width, it is slimming as it follows the magic princess line.








Go bolder by adding a slim horizontal panel down the front of a wider vertical stripe skirt like this Vogue 1292 pattern. It is unexpected and ‘wow’.









A Touch of Contrast

Horizontal stripes are a stand-out feature when they are added from bust to shoulder line on a plain colour background. Another touch of contrast is to have one of your wider stripes in a different colour like the Events top above that has with one stripe in red.


Some tops add a contrasting embroidered trim to the front neckline only.







Many tops combine wide and thin stripes using the princess line as their guide. This Ezibuy top minimises the fattening effect by adding a printed design over the midriff area.







I have a stripe top that has narrow horizontal stripes at the back while the front has horizontal and diagonal stripes.








Irregular Stripes

Not all horizontal stripes are regular. Melange stripes are irregular widths and blended so you only see parts of the contrasting colours.



Some stripes are a combination of straight and wavy stripes. This is an effective dress design ad it looks smart rather than reminding others of a grandpa’s night shirt.







Wavy, narrow horizontal stripes are unusual and timeless as well as subtly highlighting your female curves.







Irregular width stripes in three or more colours add interest and variety to your wardrobe. Just be aware of where the widest stripes and narrowest colours sit on your body.







Chevrons like this Chico’s jacket are zigzag horizontal stripes. They look best in variations of one colour. Wear the jacket over a plain singlet or T-shirt and not with the matching chevron singlet top.






Last Words

Horizontal stripes can be boring or interesting. Smart women look for the unexpected or the interesting. You choice will be governed by your Introvert or Extrovert nature. Make the most of yourself in horizontal stripes and you will shine. Other women will then be inspired to follow your lead.

(Article sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ on 15 November  2012. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine.)


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