There’s A New Stripe In Town: Are Stripes Flattering?

The striped shirt has been a beloved institution in fashion since March 1858, when an Act of France made it the uniform of the French navy. It became known as the Breton shirt, named after the sailors from Brittany who wore it and increased its popularity throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century.

In the early 1900s, Coco Chanel took a trip to the French Riviera. There she saw the workers in the marina wearing their knit navy and white striped shirts and the inspiration for a new nautical collection was born. Paired with her wide-leg pants and high-waisted belt, Coco Chanel was a vision of casual, seaside sportswear.

And guess what? It’s back for us to wear this Spring/Summer. Stripes this season come either horizontal or vertical. The key thing is that they are BOLD, often with thicker lines contrasting with a third skinnier stripe. Think posh schoolboys in preppy blazers.

Wear vertical stripes to elongate your body; they get bonus points from me in this regard since, at a mere 5ft 4in, I need all the help I can get to look taller. They are slimming too.

As the Spring season fashion hits the shops we will see stripes on everything from shirts to knee-length pleats in candy stripes and bright hues.

Even though we may want to follow fashion and embrace the stripe, we need to know our body shape before deciding how to wear it. See my tips below before you invest.

Busty and curvy

Horizontal lines contribute to the feeling of width as the eye is drawn across the fabric – so not ideal. Why not wear a cardigan or jacket with the striped top so you see a pop of the stripe rather than the whole expanse? Team with plain bottoms.




With your great figure, you can go horizontal or vertical. Tight horizontal lines and thin stripes across the hips and bust will create shape and give the illusion of movement, accentuating what few curves you may have.

Alternate black and white blocks, for instance, will exaggerate where areas start and finish, giving the impression of someone more voluptuous.



Hurrah, you can draw attention to your top half! If you are also smaller in the bust, wear horizontal stripes on your top half to draw the eye away from the challenging area of your bottom half. Choosing plain skirts and trousers will also deflect attention.

Stripes will also broaden shoulders to balance out your hips.




The size of stripe you wear should ideally work with your scale (this is decided by your shoe size). You would be known as a petite scale if you have a shoe size of 4 (37) or under.

You need to achieve harmony with your scale when you are wearing a stripe, so don’t go too large or you will look overwhelmed and all we will see arestripes (and not you looking gorgeous).

So if you are not sure how to tackle the mesmerising array of prints this year, take a graphic approach. Stripes are one of the easiest ways to dip your toe into the trend – think Coco Chanel, think St Tropez and the French Riviera!

Best wishes

Anita x

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