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How to Wear Stripes

How to wear stripes

If you’ve been following my blog for ANY amount of time–you know my devotion to one classic pattern in particular.

There is no other print near and dear to my heart as the stripe. The stripe is to me what plaid is to Kelly. (Should I do a#30DaysofStripes challenge!? ?)

Stripes are so classic and instantly make any outfit more interesting–they are the perfect go-to for print mixing and go with just about everything. There isn’t a “genre” of style out there that stripes don’t perfectly integrate with! Today’s post is ALL about stripes, what to wear with them, and how to style stripes of any kind for different occasions. Even if you know how to style your stripes like a pro, I think you’ll love today’s post for some additional stripy outfit inspiration!

How to wear stripes:

Types of stripes:

Let’s nerd out a little, why not?

The most classic type of stripe is the horizontal stripe–I think the most versatile striped garments are white with black stripes–they’re just the easiest to mix and match with everything else! Stripes can come in all different shapes and sizes and they all serve different purposes, for example:

Breton stripes: The quintessential classic stripe is about 1/4th inch thick and alternates darker and lighter colors. If you’re going to own one striped item, something with Breton stripes is a great thing to own–breton stripes never go out of style and they’re easy to wear year-round! I would definitely recommend investing in a couple breton striped tees like this one and this one –these are my favorite!

Color-blocked stripes: Where stripes will be thicker, bolder, and a mix of different complimenting colors (like this sweater and this sweater)–I love how color blocked stripes make a big statement. Since these are bold, you’ll want to pair them with something solid and neutral or if you do go with a print–a more subtle, micro-print is best. (When mixing prints, you always want to vary the scale!)

Mini or micro stripes: The smaller and skinnier the stripe, the more versatile it’s going to be, simply because the print isn’t as loud. You can easily get away with pairing mini stripes with a bold print, like an animal print or polka dots.

Vertical stripes: I prefer vertical stripes for things like button down tops and pants. They tend to be more slimming, whereas an ill-placed horizontal stripe (i.e. across the hips or bust in conjunction with the wrong neckline) can have a widening effect.

Striped tops:

Like I mentioned above, you can NEVER go wrong with a striped top! Striped tees are actually my #1 go-to especially for travel because they make any outfit look instantly more interesting, and stripes disguise dirt much better than a regular solid color (well, aside from, you know–black ?)

Striped pants:

Right now during winter, I can’t say I’m much into striped pants for everyday life. You know me–I steer toward the classic staples, and most pairs of striped pants are a bit louder or on the trendy side. (I can’t really say I’m on the Beetlejuice pants trend!) BUT if you work in an office that requires you to dress more on the business casual or professional side, pinstripe pants are a really cute option! J.Crew just came out with a pinstripe version of their easy pant and I think they will be a game-changer for my 9-5 business casual girls! I also like these wide leg pinstripe trousers!

For vacation: I do think a cute white pant with blue pinstripes like this version from Madewell is adorable for vacation or warmer climates! I also love this jumpsuit version!

Striped dresses:

It’s no secret that I love a good striped dress–from casual shifts to wrap dresses and maxi dresses, I think any dress looks cuter with stripes! Here are some of my current favorites:

Classic outfits with stripes:

Stripes for the office: 

Classic outfits with stripes

Get the look: 

Striped tees are often seen as a strictly casual wardrobe staple, but they don’t have to be! A shirt like this one is a nicer material (it’s a bit thicker and it’s cut looser, so it’s not as casual as a regular t-shirt!) so it can be easily dressed up with some ponte pants (or some comfy cropped trousers like these!) classic pumps, and a trench coat (I am OBSESSED with mine–it has a detachable hood and liner) for the office! P.S. this tote is the best office bag! It’s so pretty and polished and fits so much stuff!

How to wear stripes for a date:

Classic outfits with stripes

Get the look: 

I absolutely love a good mini skirt + OTK boot combo (my Lowlands are on sale here! Plus budget-friendly pair here–my friends rave about this pair!)–in this outfit, the stripes add a lot of interest because everything else is a solid color–it needs a little spicing up! Black and white stripes with brown hues like camel are such a rich color combo and look great on any skin tone!

Stripes for the weekend:

Stripes for the weekend

Get this look: 

This is a look that’s perfect for just about any casual occasion where you want to be comfortable but polished at the same time! Style your stripes with ponte leggings, knee-high boots, and a neck scarf! I love patterned neck scarves with stripes especially because they add just the right amount of complimentary contrast!

Stripes with a dress: 

Stripes with a dress

Get the look: 

This is one of my FAVORITE hacks ever–if you have a sleeveless shift dress or shirt dress (mine is old but this one is similar in black!), you don’t have to put it away for the winter! Layer a form-fitting striped turtleneck underneath and make it into an adorable jumper! This has just the right amount of throwback to grade school and the seventies all at the same time ?

Stripes layered under a white button down: 

Stripes layered under a white button down

Get the look: 

Using a striped tee as a base layer to add extra interest and pattern is a great way to snazz up a crisp button down. This is a great work outfit if you work in a more casual environment (I would’ve worn this to a client meeting at my ad agency!) or you could easily swap for work pants (I love this pair, this pair, and a wide legged cropped pair would totally work with this outfit!) if you work in a business casual environment!

Stripes for a night out:

Stripes for a night out

Get the look: 

Same base outfit, just a different outer layer and belt–how different does this look!? I love that a more edgy black leather jacket can add the perfect amount of contrast to a classic/preppy striped tee, while the pointed toe pumps add just the right amount of dressy polish to make it great for a night out.

How to wear stripes with other prints:

There are two main rules to consider when mixing prints:

1. Mix two prints with one “anchor color”–for example, both prints might contain the color black as a way to tie them together in a complimentary way.

2. Vary the scale of the prints–one smaller, busy print with a larger, bolder print always works very nicely!

Stripes with camo:

How to wear stripes with other printsShop camo + stripes: 

This is definitely an old “street style younger Jess” look ?however, it’s a great example of how well stripes pair with camo! Remember my Juxtaposition Rule? It’s totally true here–camo is masculine and a little bit edgy, stripes are classic/preppy, and the two mix together perfectly. The scale rule comes into play here with the stripes being a small dainty print and the camo a bolder, larger print. As you can see, here I paired camo with vertical stripes, but it looks just as cute with horizontal stripes as well!

Stripes on stripes:

How to wear stripes on stripes

Here’s a combo you don’t always think of, but it TOTALLY works and is such a fun outfit combination. Stripes on stripes–why not! Why does it work here? Because (you guessed it!) the scale is varied–the scarf has giant bold stripes while the top has busier, smaller stripes. (I wish they still sold this scarf with pockets! It’s super old! This chunky striped camel and black scarf is super cute though!)

Stripes with plaids: 

[one-half-first]Stripes with plaids[/one-half-first][one-half]

Stripes with plaids


Get these looks: 

Both print mixing rules come into play here, as you can see–both prints have black as their anchor color, while the plaids serve as the louder, bolder print, and the stripes serve as the smaller, daintier print! I think stripes and plaid are a match made in heaven–as long as you follow one or both of my print mixing rules–you’ll never get it wrong!

What’s your favorite way to wear stripes?