The Art of Wearing Stripes

After looking at magazines and browsing the internet, it looks like stripes are going to be big this fall (no surprise there – aren’t stripes kind of timeless?) So I gathered up some of my favorite looks with stripes and put together this little how-to on wearing them. Sure, you could just throw on a striped tee and jeans, but why do that when you can be creative? I hope these tips and pictures will inspire you to make the most of your stripes! (click the pictures to get to their original sources)

1. Wear stripes as an accessory. Scarf, purse, socks, belt, bracelet… pair striped accessories with anything. I like how Madewell paired bold black and white stripes with a monochromatic, polka-dotted, bright red dress.

stripes as an accessory via Madewell

2. Wear tiny stripes as a solid. If you have to look really close to tell they’re stripes or if it looks solid when you blur your eyes, use it as a solid. For example, this blazer has thin black stripes, but it works as a solid grey. Wear it with other patterns freely. The only thing I would avoid is wearing it with a piece that has similar tiny stripes. If you want to wear stripes with stripes, stick to contrasting stripe sizes, like the second picture.

Striped blazer via Anthropologie contrasting stripes, via pinterest

3. Wear bold stripes with another bold pattern. This is one I would be careful with because if you go wrong, you’ll just look like you got dressed in the dark. Stick to similar, limited color palettes or patterns that complement each other for best results. This is a hard one to give guidance for. Really your best bet is to use your judgement…and maybe a friend’s as well, just to be safe. I would personally avoid wearing multicolored stripes with other patterns because all that color would be crazy enough on its own (a rainbow striped sweater with a polka dotted skirt would scream circus, I’m afraid). I actually really like this pairing. I think this was a case of the stylist(s) trusting their instincts. Also, alpacas make great accessories.

bold stripes with bold pattern via Ruche

4. Pair stripes with animal prints or florals. I like the really wide stripes used in the first picture …they’re a nice contrast to the smaller zebra-ish pattern on the shirt. They also stuck to similar colors (greys and blacks) so it all “matches.” Also notice the leopard belt (THREE different patterns done so well). The second picture works well because the patterns are similar sizes (small stripes with small flowers) and share a common color.

stripes and animal print via Loft floral and stripes via Ruche

5. Wear stripes with tweed. In this case, use the tweed as the solid. I like how it’s done here. It makes this stiff, business-y outfit a bit more fun.

tweed and stripes via J. Crew

6. Wear stripes on the bottom instead of the top. Most of the time when you see stripes, it’s a tee or sweater or cardigan. A striped skirt or pair of pants, no matter how plain the pieces you pair it with, will be more interesting.

stripes on the bottom via pinterest

7. Wear your stripes from top to bottom – vertically, that is. Wearing horizontal stripes is the norm, so try some vertical stripes if you can find them. They’ll make you look taller rather than wider, and they’re a little more interesting simply because you don’t see people wearing them as often. Also give diagonal stripes a whirl. (and I don’t recommend wearing them as they are presented in the following picture. You MAY get strange looks. Though if that’s what you’re after, go for it. :) )

vertical stripes

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One Comment

  1. Megan
    Posted September 19, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Love me some stripes! Those socks are so cute :)

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  • Hey! I'm Maggie, a graphic designer, crafter, devoted secondhand shopper, Doctor Who fanatic, and dog-lover. Stick around and explore!

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