• Joan Kosmachuk

How To Choose Stripes That Flatter You.

You love stripes, you hate stripes. Perhaps you love them on others but don't feel so confident wearing them yourself? Well, let's look at how you can choose the most flattering stripe for you.

There are a few key things you should understand about stripes so you'll know how you should wear them:

1. Vertical stripes will make you appear taller. A vertical stripe is great for any area of the body you want to visually elongate or slim. For those of you on the petite side, creating the illusion of length in a pant or dress can be especially appealing.

2. Horizontal Stripes will make you appear wider (hence the reason so many of us avoid stripes). But sometimes widening is a good thing. For instance, the placement of a horizontal stripe can be helpful in making a small bust look larger. Or if you want to balance a smaller upper body with a wider hip, you may choose a horizontal stripe on top. Keep in mind that the wider the stripe, the shorter and wider the area will appear.

3. Diagonal Stripes can be used to make you look taller and slimmer and a few well-placed diagonal stripes can enhance or create the illusion of curves.

4. Stripes Come in Different Levels of Contrast. Stripes can be High contrast , Medium Contrast, or Low Contrast. A higher contrast stripe will have a more dramatic widening effect than a lower contrast stripe.

Choosing a contrast level in a stripe that matches your inherent contrast is the ideal. (Not sure of your contrast? This is one of the many ah-ha moments you'll gain when you discover your Seasonal Color & Body Signature).

5. Stripes come in Different Widths. You'll find everything from a super wide stripe to a stripe so narrow it almost reads as a solid. And of course there are combinations of wide/narrow stripes like in a Missoni or Fibonacci pattern.

Keep in mind that the wider the stripe, the shorter and wider the area will appear.

6. Layering Solids over Horizontal Stripes can create a Vertical Line. This will reduce the widening effect of the stripe by balancing it out with a strong vertical line.

Okay, now that you understand the way in which stripes can trick the eye into perceiving things to be longer or wider, it's time to figure out how stripes can enhance your unique Body Signature. Let's start with considering how stripes work with your body shape.

Triangle (aka Pear) Shapes may favor a horizontal stripe on the top to balance out a wider hip. Whereas an Inverted Triangle or an Oval Body shape will want to avoid horizontal stripes on top. A narrow Rectangle Body will avoid a high contrast vertical stripe and will favor diagonal stripes that add curves. Hourglass Shapes can wear stripes top or bottom as long as the waist is still emphasized.

But, your Body's Shape is just part of your Body Signature. Matching your stripe to your Body's Scale and other particulars (like a small or large bust) will be helpful in identifying the width of Stripe that will be flattering on you as well.

And remember, when choosing stripes it's key that the garment itself be a flattering silhouette for your Body Signature.

No discussion of stripes would be complete without understanding how they fit in to your Seasonal Line-of-Design.

Springs will be drawn to stripes like moths to a flame but still need to consider what works best for their Body Signature and Contrast level. Many Autumns will do well with a menswear stripe whereas a Summer will need a more feminine curved line which might dictate a softer stripe in both fabric and contrast. And the Winter woman will need a high contrast stripe to match her inherent high contrast coloring.

Of course you can always ease into stripes by choosing them as an accessory. A striped scarf, purse or shoe can add a fun flair to your outfit.

So, what about you? Do you wear Stripes? How do you use them to enhance your Body Signature and work for your Seasonal Line-of-Design?



Joan Kosmachuk

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