Fashion myth busted: stripes do not make you look bigger

Nikki ParkinsonFashion 30 Comments

Oh I do love to tackle a fashion myth. I do.

I do not know who created the so-called rules around fashion that grow into myths but they have an awful lot to answer for.

Fashion myths and rules do not help us.

What fashion myths do is create doubt in our own minds when choosing what clothes to buy – or what clothes to pull out of our wardrobe and put on each day.

That doubt undermines all the effort we put in to feeling confident in our personal style.

That’s why my style philosophy here on Styling You and in my book, Unlock Your Style, is all about forgetting the rules and making your own.

I don’t want you to wear certain clothes and avoid others based on someone else’s rules.

I want you to wear clothes that suit YOUR personality and YOUR lifestyle. I want you to wear clothes that make you feel fabulous.

I want you to wear clothes that fit with your personal style guidelines – not guidelines of an anonymous other.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

When you let go of the rules, then you can have confidence in your own decisions on what to wear.


Surafina Sportif dress

One of the so-called fashion myths that crops up almost as often as I wear them, is the myth around wearing stripes.

I love stripes. This is no state secret if you’re a regular around here. Rarely a week goes by when I haven’t worn a striped garment.

And each time I do, at least one person will pop up and make a comment about not being able to wear stripes because they think they make them look bigger than they are.

I’m here to tell you that stripes do not make you look bigger. Do not let this myth be the reason that stops you from wearing them.

Apparently there is scientific evidence to back me up but I didn’t need to stumble upon that article to know what I know.

What I know comes from way back in my Year Eight art class. We had to create patterns using lines and I quickly discovered that by bringing lines together you could create an illusion of shape.

I’ve long worked that illusion of shape into my wardrobe because I love the classic style that stripes bring to an outfit.

Nautical, French, call it what you will – I’ll take my stripes served up in every colour – from black to navy, to red and the gorgeous charcoal of the striped Surafina dress and tee in the current Styling You Shop.

The stripes in both these pieces work that illusion to the max thanks to the clever cut of the pattern on the curved, asymmetric hem of the dress and the tee.

Check them out on both myself (a size 14-16) and Peta (a size 10).

Surafina Sportif dress

Surafina Sportif dress | ZK Station sandals | ZK Jump platforms 

Surafina Sportif tee

Surafina Sportif tee | ZK Station sandals

So tell me, are you on Team Stripe?


Summer 2015 Styling You Shop

You’ll find more summer style inspiration in the Summer Styling You Shop. Have you checked it out yet? You’ll find 21 pieces and inspiration on how to wear those pieces 28 different ways.

Summer 2015 Styling You Shop | 21 pieces | 28 different party and holiday looks

Comments 30

  1. I?m amazed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog that?s equally
    educative and interesting, and let me tell you,
    you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is an issue that not enough people are speaking intelligently
    about. I am very happy I found this during my search for something concerning

  2. I?m amazed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog that?s equally educative and interesting,
    and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head.
    The issue is an issue that not enough people are speaking intelligently about.
    I am very happy I found this during my search for something concerning this.

  3. Team Stripes all the way! All this time wasted on self-imposed couldn’t and shouldn’t wear items is taking away from the fun of fashion and also the valuable wardrobe real estate that should be filled with ‘I Love It And Simply Had To Have It’ items. Wear what you love, ladies! x

  4. I can’t go past a striped item in any store without at least a second look, but nowadays I know that I probably don’t need another striped half sleeve top, long sleeve top, dress, etc.
    For me the key is the width of the stripes, the fabric drape and the cut of the item. When it’s all perfect for me, it’s a winner!
    It can go wrong- but I only when I ignore what works for me.

  5. Thank you for tackling this one Nikki! I was one of those … ahem, ‘plus size’ ladies (along with being ‘petite’ and ‘curvy’, other fashion euphemisms I don’t like) who always believed stripes were a no-go. But, I would say, they’re so chic, so fashionable, so ‘French’!! I want them! And so I tried. And you know what, I found exactly as you did that it all depended on the shape of the garment, getting the right fit and finding a stripe I liked. I know have 3 striped 3/4 sleeve tees in my wardrobe and am on the look out for a casual striped frock.

    Another one I have recently overcome is that ‘larger’ ladies should not show off their arms. Why then, I wondered aloud, do so many ‘plus size’ brands only feature sleeveless items? So I gave it a try. And you know what? A sleeveless cut is so much more flattering on my not-Ronda-Rousey arms than any cap sleeve will ever be. In fact, I’m sitting in my office today in a new sleeveless rockstar frock from City Chic and I am killing it LOL

    I realised it comes down to a) confidence in my own style, b) finding a garment that fits me well (regardless of price point) and c) realising that pretty much no one gives a damn what I look like as long as I’m clothed! (Except my husband, who’d prefer me undressed, but that’s awesome too 😉 ). I say, if you love it, wear it.

    Now Nikki, what’s your view on ‘age appropriate’ dressing? And things that ‘mature’ ladies should or should not wear?

    1. Mel, I just love your comment. Thanks for sharing. I love that you’ve found the confidence to just give thing a try. It is about how we feel in clothes – no-one else really gives a damn. And yay for husbands who prefer us undressed!!!

      Age appropriate dressing? I say poo-poo to that. Dress for your attitude, not your age. It comes back to confidence again – and what you feel confident in. x

      1. I agree with you wholeheartedly! I recently read an article that listed all the things women over 30 ‘shouldn’t’ wear; as a 41-year old I thought I’d give it a scan. Hoop earrings, red lipstick, shorts (of any length), ‘skinny’ jeans, anything low cut, and sneakers (unless you’re working out). So basically most of my wardrobe. Made me snigger to think that now I can afford, for example, leather Converse that will last a lifetime I’m not supposed to wear them 🙂

        For the record, today it’s casual Friday in my office and I’m wearing a Ramones tee, ponte tube skirt and silver cut-out brogues teamed with a mixed metal oversized watch and silver hoops – I call my style ‘glam punk’ LOL

  6. I love stripes too nikki!
    for me however all depends on the shape of the garment!
    i like to break them up with a long line something be it scarf, pendant, beads, bag, vest, or jacket! … to elongate my torso!!!
    enjoy your day! love m:)X

  7. Wearing stripes right now! My conservative head loves them. Also checked out Katie’s and they had a crazy sale so may have bought a few Xmas gifts for myself!

  8. Firmly on team stripe. In fact I wore my Bohemian Traders Ahoy dress for the first time in a while on the weekend, and when I looked in the mirror I thought I looked more shapely. Still pondering on the Surafina dress 🙂

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