Melba’s toast: The skinny on stripes

We all love stripes on our clothes, horizontal, vertical, diagonal or even 45 degree stripes. The classic look of stripes is a well sought after fashion staple and can be found in almost everyone’s wardrobe.
 
Stripes are fun and stylish, but if worn in the wrong way, especially the horizontal kind, they can make you look disproportionate.  If worn correctly, you can be the envy of your friends and even look slimmer.
 
This week we pay homage to delectable stripes and show you how to make your stripes flatter your figure.
 
As stated earlier, horizontal stripes are the biggest culprits when it comes to sporting a potentially unflattering look as they can make the area covered by your striped attire look stumpy and wider.
 
We are not saying ditch them completely, just that you should be a bit more body conscious when you pick out an outfit with horizontal stripes.
 
For instance, avoid wearing clothes that put horizontal stripes across the larger parts of your body such as you bum, hips and thighs.
 
Remember that the wider the stripe, the wider and shorter the area will appear, and that the higher the contrast in colour, the more dramatic the widening effect.
 
When it comes to wearing striped pants, avoid horizontal stripes if you have wide hips and big thighs. Clothes with such stripes can only be worn tastefully by those with less bountiful flesh on their bones.
 
The same rule applies when it comes to tight dresses and cardigans or tops. Women with large chest areas and broad shoulders should avoid wearing tops with horizontal stripes as this gives off the illusion of an even larger chest or bigger breasts.
 
To divert attention from the area with horizontal stripes, pair your pants or skirt with a top or jacket that has vertical design elements while horizontal striped tops on ladies with broad shoulders can work if you wear them with a one coloured jacket, cardigan, or a necklace. A horizontal striped cardigan works well with a white body hugging t-shirt or vest.
 
When it comes to dresses, you can never go wrong by wearing a fit and flare, (tight at the top and loose at the bottom) type of horizontal striped dress. You should, however, avoid wearing tight dresses with horizontal stripes where the lighter part of the stripe sits on the wider or bigger part of your bum, unless you have a smaller bum and want to highlight it or make it look bigger.
 
Horizontal stripes are not entirely bad; they can be figure-friendly if they are thinner stripes and more discretely modest in colour, and the same goes for vertical stripes. Vertical stripes can have a slimming effect as they make the wearer look taller and slimmer, but sometimes this is not true.
 
Wide vertical stripes worn by women with wide hips and thick thighs can give off the illusion of an even bigger frame.
 
I remember seeing my Grade 3 teacher who had a pear shaped body wearing wide vertical striped pants to work and she seemed to look bigger than she was. The big stripes seemed to widen her hips and made her rear look larger than it was, and sometimes gave off the illusion that it was forever getting bigger. If you must wear striped pants consider pants with thin, professional pinstripes.  Pinstripes are perfect for the office and are not too loud and can accent any working person’s wardrobe.
 
Another rule is that you must avoid stripes with colours that are opposite one another on the colour wheel such as yellow and purple and red and green, but rather opt for contrasting colours or you will look like a clown.
 
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