When I say the word stripes, what comes to mind? Maybe words like BEWARE or STAY AWAY? Somehow, we’ve created this myth that stripes can make you look larger than you really are. You hear people say things like, “horizontal stripes will make you look wider,” and “vertical stripes will make you look taller,” but what if I told you it was all a myth? Years of hearing whether you can or can’t wear strips depending on your size may leave you weary of the truth, but I can assure you, with the right style in mind stripes could be your next go-to.


A man by the name of Hermann von Hemholtz created an illusion long ago that explains how horizontal lines can actually look narrower than vertical ones. He created two squares of lines, one horizontal and one vertical. When you look at both, it’s harder for your eyes to take in the contrast of going back and forth from black to white spaces in a vertical arrangement. Horizontal arrangements have no broken lines, leaving less confusion for the brain and a more continuous shape. When you look at the horizontal stripes, they look more filled out than vertical stripes, giving the illusion that it is longer from bottom up. They decided to apply this to fashion and try placing both directions or stripes on the same woman. It was true that the horizontal lines seemed to give a skinnier illusion that the vertical ones!


Now you’re probably wondering, “how will I ever magically be able to master the style of horizontal stripes?” Just don’t over do it. The key here is to keep the eyes moving by incorporating other patterns and colors to draw the eye across the entire outfit. Using different colors and patterns can be the perfect accent to your new love of stripes and give you a chance to incorporate other trends at well. Focus on styles that you already know flatter your own body. Not a tank top girl? Maybe stick to a spring time sweater or cropped jeans you know you’ll love. Trying new trends doesn’t always mean forcing styles that don’t fit correctly. The good news is, stripes can be as conservative or bold as you want, depending on your style!


Thankfully, there are plenty of fun ways to wear stripes this season. Everyone is loving the nautical theme. Using blue and white stripes gives a fresh and clean look to any vacation outfit. Contrast the top or bottom with solids and bold accessories. Bringing some bright colors like yellow or pink can give you the pop you need. Using neutral stripes can give you the opportunity to incorporate other patterns like florals or opposite facing stripes. A floral can keep the stripes from being the center of attention while giving you a classic flare. Be sure to keep the patterns from clashing by only going bold with one. When using stripes on top and bottom, be sure to switch up colors and keep them from being the same width. This way, you won’t look like you’re drowning in your patterns!


Stripes can be tricky, especially when it comes to flattering your figure, but you can confident that if done right, stripes can be the perfect addition to your wardrobe. Just remember, busting this old myth doesn’t give you permission to wear stripes that don’t fit properly. Think ahead about patterns and colors and only go bold is you feel comfortable. Now you can flaunt those stripes and kick those old myths to the curb!