Friday, March 18, 2011

In Defense of Horizontal Stripes

I love stripes. Particularly horizontal stripes. A good striped long-sleeved tee or cardigan or sweater... I swoon. The potential for exciting colour combinations aside, I just think they're beautiful. (Yes, boring old stripes = beautiful. I'm far more interested in lines and patterns than I am in florals.)

The funny thing is, despite what people say about horizontal stripes, I've always felt good in them. Even back when I was younger and heavier and less confident. And now, whenever I put on my favourite striped shirt, I feel incredibly sexy. Why is that? This goes against all the "rules," doesn't it?

Well, imagine my surprise when I discovered this while reading through my Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing (1979):

Stripes running vertically can make a figure look wider than similar stripes horizontally arranged, though the opposite is often assumed

Some Googling has verified that there are studies to support this:

Vertical stripes 'less slimming'; Wearing horizontal stripes can actually make a person appear thinner, a university research project has found.(Source: BBC)

Now, here's the thing... ultimately, I don't really care. I'm past the point of obsessing about being slim, you don't need to be slim to be drop dead gorgeous, and I think everyone should just wear clothes that make them feel good. But it's still somewhat fun to find research that validates something that you've always felt to be true.


  1. It's amazing how this philosophy has inverted in the popular consciousness! I agree that horizontal stripes are v. flattering (and we are both curvy, the body type that's supposed to eschew them). Long stripes - esp. thick ones - look strange to me.

  2. Totally. I also think that most people do know this subconsciously, even if they don't realize it... especially considering how infrequently you see vertical stripes in RTW as compared to horizontal!

  3. Interesting article. I wore horizontal stripes in thinner days, but have been reluctant to try the newest fad for them. Do I dare?'ve given me some food for thought.