As we all know there are several do’s and don’ts when it comes to wearing prints, especially stripes. I LOVE stripes, they seem to add a fun factor to any outfit. I rrrreally need to cut out buying the men’s shirt inspired blue and white stripe…I seriously have too much of that in my closet. I am also a sucker for the classic Breton stripe.
We all assume that horizontal stripes are not always the most flattering. But according to the Helmholtz Illusion a square composed of horizontal stripes appears taller and more narrow than an identical square filled with horizontal stripes. Feel free to Google this concept because there is so much more to this but there is a time and a place for everything!
Vertical lines on clothes can create a longer illusion but(!) curves or bumps interrupting these lines will create the opposite effect. Diagonal lines will also create a slimmer illusion, whether this in the pattern or clothing detail such as a zipper.
The lines all create a silhouette. A wide shoulder line creates an optical illusion of a smaller waist because it offsets your hips. A Breton stripe shirt with a boat neck will create the same effect as long as it is fitted. I pray the shoulder pads will not make a comeback! I actually owned them back in the day with Velcro strips so I could wear them under every shirt. Laugh if you will but paired with an elastic waist belt it appeared as if I had the tiniest waist. Remember those 10 inch wide elastic belts? They could not have been good for some of your internal organs!
In general; the human eye takes longer to travel across patterned fabrics, this makes the body appear larger. I don’t favor busy pattern on a top. I prefer to keep the accent in a skirt or pant. Why you may ask? And even if you don’t I am going to tell you anyway! First and foremost; a patterned skirt or pant makes more of a statement than a patterned blouse. Example; my floral pants come across as bolder, more exiting than my floral blouse. Secondly; a print can dull your face unless you want to take away the attention from your face…but I would never recommend that.
Logically a contrast stripe along the side panel of a pant will give you the optical illusion of longer and leaner legs. A dress with a lighter color block side panel will have the same effect as well. That’s why all the weather girls wear them. Those camera’s tack on pounds!
Just remember in all case it boils down to that optical flow. Aforementioned in one of my faves: Styling Secrets