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How to wear stripes

Pick the right stripes for your body type

I like clothes with stripes but am worried that horizontal ones will make me look fatter than I am. How do I choose the right striped clothing?

Stripes are a hot trend for Spring 2016. Designers such as Dior, Giorgio Armani, Missoni and Stella McCartney had graphic lines in different colours and thicknesses on everything from clothes to shoes in their Spring/Summer 2016 collections.

However, not all stripes are created equal. What might look good on one person can look disastrous on another. The trick is knowing what colour, thickness and orientations will suit your body shape.

The general rule of thumb is that vertical stripes create the illusion of height, while horizontal and thick stripes create the illusion of width. Thin stripes have a slimming effect.


-- PHOTOS: NEW LOOK, TOPSHOP, ROCKSTAR SINGAPORE, YACHT 21, CLOSET LONDON

Ms Ysabel Tao, a personal shopper at Robinsons, shares tips on how to pull off stripes for different body sizes and shapes:

• Pear-shaped

If you are pear-shaped with wide hips and narrow shoulders, wear thick stripes on your upper half to make your shoulders appear broader and vertical stripes on the bottom half to make your hips look slimmer.

• Apple-shaped

Those with an apple-shaped figure have more weight in the midsection. They can go for stripes with a solid-coloured border at the sides to look slimmer. Diagonal stripes are also flattering and take the focus away from the midsection.

• Boyish figure with fewer curves

Those with a slender or boyish figure should go for thick horizontal stripes in areas where they want to have curves. Thick stripes around the waist and bust help create the illusion of an hourglass figure.

• Petite frame

Petite women should go for vertical stripes as they give the wearer an illusion of height. Women who are slender and small-boned can also play around with horizontal and vertical stripes.

• Hourglass figure

Those with an hourglass figure have a slender waist and their curves allow them to experiment with different types of stripes. Women who wish to downplay their curves should opt for vertical stripes.

Here are some styles to try out:

1. Bodycon racerback striped dress, $39 from Rockstar Singapore

Those with a boyish figure can fake the illusion of curves with this body-hugging dress.

2. Blue-and-white diagonal striped dress with asymmetrical hem, $49.90 from New Look

For those with an apple-shaped figure, the diagonal stripes help to hide problem areas around the midsection.

3. Black striped culottes, $69.90 from Yacht 21

The vertical stripes and the dark colour of these culottes have a slimming effect.

4. Red-and-black midi shirt dress, $149 from Topshop Petite

This ribbed dress gives the illusion of vertical lines. Slender women can pull off horizontal stripes with ease.

5. Blue dress with white stripes, $89.90 from ClosetLondon.com

Thin stripes are great for those who wish to look slimmer. The gathered waist detail also helps to create or emphasise an hourglass figure.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 21, 2016, with the headline 'Stripe hype'. Print Edition | Subscribe