Style + Beauty

How to Look Good in Stripes
We're seeing them on runways and red carpets, and they're peppered across the racks at our favorite department stores — we're talking stripes, and come springtime, they're going to be everywhere. "This season, graphic designs like checks, plaids, houndstooth, polka dots and most importantly, stripes, are a huge trend," says New York City designer and stylist Bobette Cohn. Cohn, who notes that stripes "never really [go] out of fashion," further explains how the look has permeated the runways, with notable striped fashions debuting from such designers as Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta and Marc Jacobs. READ: Dress Like a Model Without ‘Sheer’ Terror It's only a matter of time, then, before we'll need to embrace this trend in a current, confident way. "These days, it doesn't take long for runway looks to trickle down into our day-to-day wardrobes," confirms Helen Sac, who serves as the senior editor of Prints and Graphics at the fashion-forecasting firm Stylesight. Sac also observes that stripes are "a perfect union of two contrasting shades," (along with chevrons or the aforementioned houndstooth patterns), making them a fun way to spice up your closet for spring. That being said, there's a wrong way and a right way to incorporate stripes into your style. For starters, and probably most obviously, stripes don't flatter every figure. "The danger with wearing stripes is when they're horizontal, and can give the illusion of adding a few pounds onto your shape," points out Cohn. That doesn't mean, however, that stripes are off limits for fuller-figured fashionistas. "The best way to avoid this is to wear diagonal or vertical stripes, unless you are very thin," she suggests. Cohn also advises people to steer clear of horizontal-striped tops in stretchy fabrics. However, some experts disagree, claiming that horizontal stripes shouldn't be shunned altogether. "If you’re going for a chunkier, wider horizontal stripe, make sure that you’re exposing some skin," says style and beauty guru Gretta Monahan. She suggests horizontal stripes be worn in "v-neck, off-the-shoulder or tank styles, so you can see where the stripe ends and the body begins." READ: Update Your Wardrobe With Pantone's Spring 2013 Color Report Too much at once, though, can be unflattering. "Stay clear of top-to-toe looks that incorporate different stripes," Sac says. "A heavily patterned upper half is best accentuated with a plain bottom half, and vice-versa." Monahan suggests a similar approach: "Always anchor a stripe piece around a solid or neutral piece," she says. "Should you want to explore head to toe stripes, definitely stay away from chunky knits and thick cotton fabrics," as those materials can add volume to a springtime look. Colors, on the other hand, are left up to the wearer's discretion. Although black and white are taking control on the runway, "any color would potentially work over white," says Isham Sardouk, the senior vice president and chief creative officer at Stylesight. "If it's juniors, brights and clashing color combos are very well accepted — same as active. But if it's menswear, the choices [should] become more conservative, just combining dark neutrals or muted shades." So now that color is covered, all that's left are a few suggestions for specific spring pieces. "Nothing says warm weather like a striped maxi, in either dress or skirt form," insists Monahan. "A body-con maxi in a bright hue would be my personal favorite." And for guys, "striped cuff links and swim trunks would be my first choice," she says. Bobette Cohn also shares her vision for a great spring look, which is achieved "simply by adding a striped shirt under a blazer" — a pairing she says works equally well for both men and women. She asserts that bold striped socks could also work to add flair to an ensemble, especially for those who worry about going overboard. PICS: Polka Dots: The Hot Trend and How to Wear It Those of us looking to make an even bolder statement might want to consider Cohn's go-to piece: "My favorite item is a striped jacket … that can be worn with its matching skirt for a suit look, or separately with any shirt, shorts or pants," she says. "Very versatile and chic." But no matter how you wear your stripes, make sure to wear the correct stripes for your body type. After all, you will be wearing them soon enough. Make no mistake — this spring is totally ripe for stripes. Scroll down to see how some of this season's top designers showcased stripes in their collections.
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(Reuters)

Tops

Models wear striped creations from Michael Kors during New York Fashion Week.
(Reuters)

Jacket and Shorts

A model wears a striped jacket and shorts during the Michael Kors spring/summer collection show at New York Fashion Week.
(Reuters)

Top and Skirt

As part of Michael Kors' spring/summer collection, a model walks the runway in a striped top and matching skirt at New York Fashion Week.
(Reuters)

Dress

A creation from the Oscar De La Renta spring/summer collection is seen on a model during New York Fashion Week.
(Reuters)

Blouse

A creation from the Marc Jacobs spring/summer 2013 collection is modeled at New York Fashion Week.
(Reuters)

Purse

A model carried a Marc Jacobs bag during New York Fashion Week.
(Reuters)

Nylons

A model sports striped nylons from the Anna Sui collection during New York Fashion Week.
(Reuters)

T-Shirt

A model presents a creation from Jonathan Saunders' spring/summer collection at London Fashion Week.
(Reuters)

Swimwear

Swimwear from Dolce & Gabbana is on display at Milan Fashion Week.
(Reuters)

Dress

A woman models a dress from the Dolce & Gabbana spring/summer collection at Milan Fashion Week.
(Reuters)

How to Look Good in Stripes

We're seeing them on runways and red carpets, and they're peppered across the racks at our favorite department stores — we're talking stripes, and come springtime, they're going to be everywhere. "This season, graphic designs like checks, plaids, houndstooth, polka dots and most importantly, stripes, are a huge trend," says New York City designer and stylist Bobette Cohn. Cohn, who notes that stripes "never really [go] out of fashion," further explains how the look has permeated the runways, with notable striped fashions debuting from such designers as Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta and Marc Jacobs. READ: Dress Like a Model Without ‘Sheer’ Terror It's only a matter of time, then, before we'll need to embrace this trend in a current, confident way. "These days, it doesn't take long for runway looks to trickle down into our day-to-day wardrobes," confirms Helen Sac, who serves as the senior editor of Prints and Graphics at the fashion-forecasting firm Stylesight. Sac also observes that stripes are "a perfect union of two contrasting shades," (along with chevrons or the aforementioned houndstooth patterns), making them a fun way to spice up your closet for spring. That being said, there's a wrong way and a right way to incorporate stripes into your style. For starters, and probably most obviously, stripes don't flatter every figure. "The danger with wearing stripes is when they're horizontal, and can give the illusion of adding a few pounds onto your shape," points out Cohn. That doesn't mean, however, that stripes are off limits for fuller-figured fashionistas. "The best way to avoid this is to wear diagonal or vertical stripes, unless you are very thin," she suggests. Cohn also advises people to steer clear of horizontal-striped tops in stretchy fabrics. However, some experts disagree, claiming that horizontal stripes shouldn't be shunned altogether. "If you’re going for a chunkier, wider horizontal stripe, make sure that you’re exposing some skin," says style and beauty guru Gretta Monahan. She suggests horizontal stripes be worn in "v-neck, off-the-shoulder or tank styles, so you can see where the stripe ends and the body begins." READ: Update Your Wardrobe With Pantone's Spring 2013 Color Report Too much at once, though, can be unflattering. "Stay clear of top-to-toe looks that incorporate different stripes," Sac says. "A heavily patterned upper half is best accentuated with a plain bottom half, and vice-versa." Monahan suggests a similar approach: "Always anchor a stripe piece around a solid or neutral piece," she says. "Should you want to explore head to toe stripes, definitely stay away from chunky knits and thick cotton fabrics," as those materials can add volume to a springtime look. Colors, on the other hand, are left up to the wearer's discretion. Although black and white are taking control on the runway, "any color would potentially work over white," says Isham Sardouk, the senior vice president and chief creative officer at Stylesight. "If it's juniors, brights and clashing color combos are very well accepted — same as active. But if it's menswear, the choices [should] become more conservative, just combining dark neutrals or muted shades." So now that color is covered, all that's left are a few suggestions for specific spring pieces. "Nothing says warm weather like a striped maxi, in either dress or skirt form," insists Monahan. "A body-con maxi in a bright hue would be my personal favorite." And for guys, "striped cuff links and swim trunks would be my first choice," she says. Bobette Cohn also shares her vision for a great spring look, which is achieved "simply by adding a striped shirt under a blazer" — a pairing she says works equally well for both men and women. She asserts that bold striped socks could also work to add flair to an ensemble, especially for those who worry about going overboard. PICS: Polka Dots: The Hot Trend and How to Wear It Those of us looking to make an even bolder statement might want to consider Cohn's go-to piece: "My favorite item is a striped jacket … that can be worn with its matching skirt for a suit look, or separately with any shirt, shorts or pants," she says. "Very versatile and chic." But no matter how you wear your stripes, make sure to wear the correct stripes for your body type. After all, you will be wearing them soon enough. Make no mistake — this spring is totally ripe for stripes. Scroll down to see how some of this season's top designers showcased stripes in their collections.

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