Stripes get a post all their own. This is one area of strategic dressing we all think we understand. But do we? My observations suggest we don’t.
Just as pattern is affected by bold color contrast vs subtle color contrast, so are stripes.
- Skinny Stripes can be either positive or negative, depending on the level of color contrast and the direction they run on the piece of clothing. The ideal for minimizing is to utilize low contrast, thin vertical stripes.
- Wide Stripes will accent whatever wardrobe piece on which they appear. They will also accent whatever direction in which they travel. Even subtle, vertical wide stripes make one seem wider.
- Zig-zag Stripes might seem a fun way to fool the eye. They do fool the eye–right into thinking the fabric is large. The more often the eye must stop or change direction, the more wide the appearance. Horizontal zig-zag stripes are the worst offenders.
- Diagonal Stripes can be your friend, even in a high contrast color combination. This is especially true if the diagonal stops at the center of your body, with a matching diagonal on the opposite side. This creates a center vertical line, with the eye traveling downward.
Now you may see stripes in a whole new light. Hopefully, you’ll have some fun searching for just the right stripes to add pizzazz to your wardrobe.
Color changes everything.
Just as the dominant color of an outfit and the points on your body where color changes are important, so too is the pattern of the colors.
Pattern may be one of the most overlooked elements of strategic dressing. Maybe that’s because most women don’t know how to make pattern work for them. Or maybe women don’t realize the positive potential of pattern–or the potential disaster of pattern.
- Bold Patterns might seem synonymous with large patterns. But when I say “bold” I mean “high contrast”. A mini-print can be bold if the colors are high contrast. These are the prints you want to avoid if your goal is to minimize your size. A bold pattern causes the eye to roam around, searching for a place to land. Larger eye movements in any direction other than up and down create width.
- Subtle Patterns are those with low color contrast. They can be as simple as a sheen on a matte fabric, or one shade deeper or lighter than the background fabric. They can also be varying colors, as long as the intensity of the colors is even. A pastel pink pattern on a soft lavender fabric, or even a pale blue pattern on a blush pink fabric can be considered subtle. The colors are equal intensity and read as similar to the eye. A subtle pattern will allow the eye to rest, thus not moving in a wide pattern.
- Mini-Prints can be either bold or subtle. It is not the mini-print that makes you seem slim. It is the subtle color contrast. Yes, you can wear a mini-print. Just be aware of the colors.
- Large Patterns can also be either bold or subtle. The same rule applies as with mini-prints. Take into consideration the color contrast in the pattern. A barely-there large pattern is a safe choice.
Are you beginning to get the hang of dressing to look your best? All the points interplay with each other. We must take into consideration all aspects from cut to color and all of color’s influences each time we put an outfit together. But when we do–wowee! The effect can be dramatic.
So hang in there. You can do this.