Stripes can be found on the catwalks and the high street season after season. Some people adore stripes and find them elegant, chic, neat, fresh and modern. But there really are so many types of stripes to choose from it can all be a bit mind-boggling! Some are monochrome, some multicoloured, some are wide, some narrow, some regular width, some random and then there’s direction to consider as well! So what should you be looking out for when choosing your stripes?

DON’T OVER POWER

As with all patterns, your stripes should look like part of you! If you’re quite petite but wearing big, wide loud stripes they can over- power you so choose something smaller and more subtle. If you’re a larger or taller scale you can take a bolder stripe.

VERTICAL STRIPE SLIMMING MYTH

Forget the usual advice of “vertical stripes are slimming and horizontal stripes make you look bigger”. This is true to some extent but it depends on the shape of your body. If you have a straight body-shape (rectangle or inverted triangle) with little definition between waist and hips then vertical stripes will hang well and will look great. But for curvy bodies like the full hourglass shape (think Kelly Brook) vertical stripes will look anything but slimming as they’ll do a detour around the curves! Horizontal or diagonal stripes will be much more flattering and will show off the curves.

IT’S ALL ABOUT PROPORTIONS

If you’re a different size on your top and bottom half, stripes can be really useful to balance your proportions. So, if you’re pear-shaped use horizontal stripes in your tops to balance your hips. If you’re inverted triangle (wide shoulders, narrow hips), stripes in your skirts, especially with pleats, will even you out and give you the illusion of hips if this is what you want to achieve.

SCARED OR CONFIDENT?

Some people find stripes a little “boring” or plain for their personality and want a prettier look. If this is you then why not combine with florals? 

If you’re scared of getting it wrong with stripes in your clothing and prefer a plainer look why not just add a stripe in a scarf or in your shoes? This will work for everyone and can just add a nod to the trend.

GOLDEN RULE – BEWARE OF THE RUBBER RING EFFECT

And the golden rule – never ever use a single stripe around the widest part of your body! I once saw an apple-shaped lady on holiday; her swimming costume was plain brown with a pink stripe around the widest part of her tummy! It looked like a rubber ring!

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