We’ve all heard it before: horizontal stripes make you look wider. But is that really true? Horizontal stripes have been a staple in designer collections, including those traditionally seen as preppy and beachy, so why would designers continue to use them if they are universally unflattering?  There are complementary ways to pull off horizontal stripes, and my personal top three are below!

1) Pick a Wide or Narrow Stripe

Either very wide or very narrow stripes are safe bets when first playing with horizontal stripes.

On one hand, wide stripes look more like color blocking, rather than a true stripe.

On the other hand, narrow stripes appear as if they are a solid color.  Take a navy and white narrow striped dress – from afar, it will look much more like a solid gray!

2) Geometric Stripes

A subtle stripe can be a narrow stripe, or, if you want a more exciting look, it can be a geometric pattern with hints of stripes.

Take this Glam dress for example.  At first glance, it looks like a trendy geometric pattern.  But upon further examination, it really is a pattern of stripes, each row with intricate, eye-appealing details.

The v-necks on both of these dresses draw the eye down, making the wearer look long and lean.

3) Pick a Shape that Complements You

Finally, when you are going out of your comfort zone with a striped dress, pick a shape that is ultra-complementary.

A-line skirts look good on most body types.  It is not clingy and is super structured – can you say forgiving?!

If you are nervous about it, try a look that will always be flattering:  A vertical or diagonal stripe.  These never-fail options look great on every figure!  Alternatively, you could add layers below or on top of your stripes – a solid colored vest, a white button-up – to tone down the outfit.  Experiment to find which style is best for you!