Tip 1: Horizontal or vertical?
If you’re looking to visually extend the length of your body, vertical stripes are your friend. A failsafe option for most body types, vertical stripes work because the continuous lines down the body trick the eye to believing that you’re taller than you really are. Horizontal stripes on the other hand, accentuate width and are more suited toward slender body types who want to look a tad more shapely.
Pictured: Solid & Striped The Nina striped swimsuit, US$151.44 (S$209.65) from Net-a-Porter
READ MORE: Use These Under $100 Stripe Items To Help You Look Slimmer
Tip 2: Diagonals are fun
Diagonal stripes, though less common, are actually a great way to play up the stripe game. They are suitable for people who are conscious of their midsection as it visually distorts and reduces the prominence of the area.
Pictured: Ganni striped swimsuit, US$125.46 (S$173.69) from Net-a-Porter
READ MORE: Here Are 12 Body-Positive Swimsuits You Can Consider For Your Next Holiday
Tip 3: Size does matter
Another factor to consider is the width of the striped lines. Thicker stripes can make you look wider, while thinner stripes can make you look slimmer. Also, if you’re picking out a form-fitting outfit (say, a bodycon dress), it might be more flattering to opt for one with thinner stripes. Thicker strips tend to have a bolder and more dramatic effect — but of course if that’s what you’re going for, we’re not judging.
Pictured: Sonia Rykiel striped ribbed-knit wool-blend sweater, US$154.73 (S$214.21) from Net-a-Porter
READ MORE: 11 Striped Shirts Under $100 That You Can Wear To Impress Your Boss
Tip 4: Consider where it goes
Now that you know what stripe orientation and size to pick, it’s time to consider its placement. This neutral La Ligne sweater sports a singular vertical stripe across the chest and arms — which makes the area look wider. This design is good for people with a triangular or pear shape body type as it balances with their wider hips. Conversely, this design is not suited for people who are conscious of their broad shoulders.
Pictured: La Ligne striped cashmere sweater, US$286.41 (S$396.51) from Net-a-Porter
Tip 5: Think about the colour
Next, factor in the colour of the stripes. As a rule of thumb, dark colours recede and bright colours look bigger and nearer to you. This Oscar de la Renta dress cleverly uses the slimming effect of black for the sections that hug the body above the waist (hence hiding your flaws, if any), while the use of brighter brown panels makes the skirt look extra billowy.
Pictured: Oscar de la Renta paneled stretch-knit turtleneck midi dress, US$3,316.99 (S$4,592.04) from Net-a-Porter
READ MORE: Keep Your Cool All Day With These Figure-Flattering Sleeveless Dresses
Tip 6: Amalgamate placement and colour
Now combine the previous two principles and put them to use. If you have an inverted triangle body type, this Saint Laurent sweater is a great example of how to play up to your strengths. The block of black at the shoulders and chest will help make them look slimmer while the (brighter) white stripes that follow help creation an illusion of a wider chest and hips. Perfect — as it reduces the focus on the broad shoulder region.
Pictured: Saint Laurent striped cashmere sweater, US$1,392 (S$1,927.08) from Net-a-Porter
Tip 7: Start small
If you’re just dipping your toes into the wonderful world of stripes and are not sure if you want go all out, well, don’t. Instead, start small and opt for a pair of stripe-trimmed pants, such as these ones from Gucci. The vertical stripes along the side seams create a lengthening effect and adds stature.
Pictured: Gucci striped jersey track pants, US$1,157.36 (S$1,602.25) from Net-a-Porter