Are you wondering how to wear stripes this summer? Have you been seeing a lot of horizontal stripes, lately? So have I. So, get ready to “learn” all about the stripe pattern and how to wear stripes. I have a few ideas that might cheer you up. But first…

Short History Lesson

  • Medieval times: stripes were used ONLY by prisoners, prostitutes, clowns and other condemned. It was the definition of evil.

  • The end of the 18th century: the stripe pattern finally decided to become trendy and started with Queen Victoria, who dressed her little boy, Prince Albert, as a sailor. After that, stripes started being used on canvases and actually worn by swimmers.

  • Mid 19th century: the navy and white shirt, called the Breton shirt, with 21 stripes, has started being popular.

  • The beginning of the 20th century: Coco Chanel was the first to debut the striped shirt in Paris (1917). She got her inspiration from the Parisian fishermen and it was one of the first times that elements from men’s clothing inspired women’s fashion. It was considered a feminist statement.

  • The 20th century: the navy and white shirt was adopted by everybody. Picasso and Andy Warhol made their own statement, leading to quite an inspiration in men’s fashion. Female movie stars such as Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot promoted very well the Breton shirt. Even musicians started embracing this trend (John Lennon, James Dean and Kurt Cobain). In one word: everybody!

Stripes, Stripes, Stripes…

First of all, it’s important to know what’s the 90/10 ratio (90% light, cream shades and 10% dark shades) and why you shouldn’t ignore it. It’s all about the balance of the outfit and I think it’s important that, if you’re wearing horizontal stripes, you should also have something that provides a vertical dimension. It’s good to cover both dimensions. This keeps the balance intact.

Forget the idea that horizontal stripes make you look “wider” or “bigger”. It’s a fear that you have to get out of your head and over it. It’s fun and cool to wear stripes. So, for those of you who still have that fear, keep in mind the 90/10 ratio and everything will be ok.

how to wear stripes

TALL Button Front Stripe Top

It’s best you wear your striped shirt mixed with a pair of long or short jeans or some monochromatic skirts. This is for the most classic approach there is. 

Nura Khan, sittings editor at Vogue, says that “This season, the familiar stripe has pushed forward into a brand new territory”. Therefore, we are invited to mix and match horizontal, vertical and any other types of stripes, in order to give a true energy to our looks.

Fashion designers highly indicate us to go on a multidirectional way, having fun and forgetting the rules and the fact that this print is a classic one. Also, this season is not just about black/navy and white stripes: a multitude of colorful stripes has popped on the runway, a true source of inspiration.

Stripes have seriously dominated the floor!

how to wear stripes

Eraser Stripe Knitted Top

 As you can see here,  stripes have taken a more stylish approach this year. For example, the cropped top and high-waist pencil skirt, both printed in stripes, but a type of stripes going in the animal print direction, look absolutely interesting and make a beautiful visual effect.

 how to wear stripes

PETITE Graphic Stripe Print Kimono

This kimono sends out a real energy due to the vertical and diagonal stripes, but also the flower prints and graphic prints. This is the type of mix and match that the designers are talking about and would be glad if some of us took advantage of it.


how to wear stripes

Stripe Dress by Goldie

A great way to mix vertical and horizontal stripes is like in the image above: a beautiful black and white striped dress. I don’t think there is anything else you could need for this look.

Photos source: Topshop

How Not To Get Bored With Stripes

As we all know, every trend tends to get boring sometimes. Even stripes. In order for that not to happen, I gathered a few ideas that might actually put some fun in stripes. Here they are, some nontraditional marine patterns with fine lines and exciting cuts:

how to wear stripes


3 Source: Showpo

The stripe pattern is a classic one. In this case, you really need some alternatives to make this trend more interesting and cool to wear. All you have to do is drop (for now) the classic Breton stripes and go in an edgy direction by wearing some:

  • fun looking tops, shirts and blouses like those I just pointed out for you. They go best with any neutral color, as long as the 90/10 ratio is followed.

  • a skirt with stripes in several directions which is also fun to wear with a denim shirt. It looks great.

  • a maxi sweater dress with suede ankle boots

Don’t forget the hat! It’s an extra trendy accessory.

5 Simple & Important Hints On How To Wear Stripes

Giving everything I have read about stripes, I present you with 5 general rules that will surely help you when wearing this beautiful navy inspired trend.

  • Vertical stripes – will always give the impression of being a tall person.

  • Abuse horizontal stripes – they might give a wider effect, but it’s a total optical illusion.

  • Thin stripes are much hotter than thick stripes.

  • Stop mixing stripes carefully! Sure, this was a rule a while back, but not today. Today, you can go in whatever direction you want to.

  • Wear chromatic stripes!


One thing is for sure: one of the hottest trends this summer are stripes, an evergreen pattern that will never go out of style and will always inspire us, even if the stripes are horizontal or vertical, chromatic or monochromatic, in one direction or a multitude of directions.

Still wondering how to wear stripes? Well then, check out the Spring/Summer 2015 runways. Plenty of inspiration there…

Did you like this article? Do you know other cool ways to wear stripes?

Then it’s time to share it with your friends! What do you think about stripes? Would you wear them?answer in a comment bellow, cause I read all the comments.
By | 2019-08-23T19:43:54+02:00 July 23rd, 2015|Style|

About the Author:

Always an optimist. ♥ to travel, the sun, the sound of waves colliding, the smell of old books, unusual bright colors, reading in bed, black & white photography and vintage decorations. Hate mediocrity.