Do you stripe? Here are the DO's and DON'T's...

Well, another season is upon us and it's time for the new fashion purchases.  Are you ready for all the new trends? Are you familiar with some of the basic guidelines for choosing what brings out your best?  

The contouring of light and dark colors is probably the most basic and the easiest to determine (see our discussion here) , but do you know your stripes? Which ones are friends and which ones are foes?

Take a look at this diagram:

do you stripe Fb ad

As you look at the dresses, can you pick the one that is longest? the slimmest? How about the short and wide one?  ANSWER: They are all exactly the same dimensions.  The only difference is the direction of the lines. And it's not just the fabric design, but seams and stitching have the same effect.

HORIZONTAL RULE:  Horizontal lines make things look wider and shorter overall.

So, placement is everything. Horizontal stripes work best when they are either above or below your mid-section, not repeated from top to bottom.  And remember, they make things appear wider. You don't want to accent a problem area. Take a look at these:

horizontal - no
horizontal - yes

And vertical stripes and lines aren't always the easy winners, either.  Compare these outlines:

vertical stripe comparison

If there are several vertical stripes in the pattern, they create the same effect as horizontal lines.

VERTICAL RULE:  Vertical lines make things look taller and slimmer.

The best use of vertical lines and stripes is to use them down the center of a garment or in solid color blocks. This can also be achieved with long vests that contrast with the underlying garment. These are good examples:

vertical stripe yes and no

The smallest details can make the largest impacts in fashion. Now it's your turn -- and you're ready to stripe!