How to wear stripes

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 – well, it never really went away. 


Stripes this season come either horizontal, vertical, diagonal or chevron. Or a mixture of these on one garment. They can be bold — think thicker lines contrasting with a skinnier stripe. Or colourful — lots of different-coloured stripes on a plain background.


Here are my top tips for wearing stripes 


1. Wear vertical stripes to elongate your body, especially if you’re petite and want to give the illusion of looking taller. Chosen carefully, the right type of stripe can be flattering and slimming.


2. Accessorise with stripes: striped shoes, bags, headbands, scarves, etc. look great paired with plain, patterned or other striped garments.


3. Busty and curvy? Horizontal lines can add width, as the eye is drawn across the fabric, so opt for narrow, evenly spaced stripes, ideally in a style with a lower neckline, such as a V.  Your best bet are vertical stripes.


4. Boyish with an angular figure? Try 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. 


5. Triangle? 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, trousers or shorts will also deflect attention from this area.


6. Petite? The width of stripe you wear should ideally work with your scale (which is determined by your height and shoe size). If you are shorter than 5ft 4″ you are classed as petite. You need to achieve harmony with your scale when wearing a stripe, so beware of overly large horizontal lines which will overwhelm you. Bolder, colourful, vertical stripes will make you look taller. 


So, if you are not sure how to tackle the mesmerising array of stripes this year, then please get in touch. I can help you choose the most flattering colours in stripes for your complexion as well as stripes that most flatter your body shape, scale and proportions: click here.


  1. Boden Lennox Relaxed Cardigan, £85
  1. Masai Copenhagen Ibilis Stripe Shirt, £80
  1. Paul Smith Large Swirl Stripe Silk Scarf, £155
  1. Barbour Adeline Linen Stripe Tiered Dress, £129
  1. Anthropologie Bright Stripe Basket, £65 20% off with code EXTRA20
  1. John Lewis Elma Rainbow Stripe Leather Trainers, £75
  1. Anthropologie Uli Ruffled Blouse, £70
  1. Baukjen Jay Side Stripe Trousers, £89, 15% off with code ANITA15
  1. M&S Supersoft Striped Crew Neck Jumper, £15
  1. Toast Stripe Cotton Saddle Sleeve Tee, £89
  1. & Other Stories Stripe Strap Leather Sandals, £65
  1. Tutti & Co Stripe Print Knot Headband, £14


Best wishes

Anita xxx

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