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Stripes: Better On The American Flag Than On Me

Breton Shirt Stripes

I fantasize about wearing stripes.

Not up and down stripes, but horizontal stripes.   The kind the fashion industry has been teasing me with for the past few years.

Unfortunately, my body was not built for stripes.  I am short and wear a 34DD bra, which is framed by rounded shoulders and soft upper arms. There is no way for me to sport stripes without look like a spinning top.

At the heart of my stripe fantasy is one of those Breton St. James boat neck tees like the ones Audrey Hepburn used to wear. 

Audrey5

I almost feel like I would have a different life if I were able to wear stripes.

If I could wear stripes, I would wear a headscarf and big sunglasses.   Around 3 o’clock, I would hop on the bike I don’t have and jaunt to the middle of the village somewhere in the French countryside (where I don’t live).   I would buy flowers, a baguette, cheese and just one piece of excellent chocolate because in this fantasy, I have restraint.

I would be able to steer the bike with one hand and not fall over like I do in real life.  This way, I am able to confidently wave at the townsfolk who fondly know me as “that charming girl on the bike who looks great in stripes”.

I would ring my little bike bell and peddle off to nowhere in particular.

Except then I would stop because I would be overcome by the beauty of the late afternoon light on the water (stay with me, I just moved us to the Seine).  I would breathe in the air of the moment and then whip out my oil painting materials because I’m spontaneous like that and scary talented.

I would do artisty things and then rip a hunk of baguette off using only my teeth because I’m in the zone.  Same with the cheese.    This wouldn’t bother me because in this world I have an exceptionally high metabolism.  I would be like these people.

Then I wake up.

My life may be forever stripe-less, but yours doesn’t have to be.

Before you stripe-out, consider the following:

  1. Your frame.  This is the most important factor.  Full on horizontal stripes look great on someone with a frame that allows clothes to “hang”.   Think of a swimmer’s build with slightly broad shoulders and a longer, narrower torso.  On the other hand, stripes don’t do any favors for someone like me who has a short trunk, narrow shoulders and a large chest.
  2. Your height.  Not a deal breaker, but it helps to be a little taller because you simply have more visual real estate.
  3. Your weight.  You don’t have to be super skinny to wear them at all, but you do need to have the right frame (above).   Also consider where your weight gathers.  If you are more of apple shape versus a pear, then stripes will only make you look more appley.
  4. The cut.   For whatever reason, boat neck tops and stripes go together like peanut butter and jelly.  Unfortunately, this all adds to the widening effect.  Stripes are much easier to pull off in a V-neck.
  5. The placement of the stripes.  If the stripes are only in the mid-section or arms of a top, they are much easier to wear.  If they are in both places, skip it.    And never, ever wear stripes on a blazer.

All you need to do is trust your instincts.  If you’re trying to convince yourself you look good in stripes – or anything else for that matter – for ore than two minutes, then it’s not working.  Your reaction should be a “wow”, not a “well maybe”.

Have a Happy 4th of July and enjoy the stripes whether they’re on you or the flag.

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Hepburn Hilton
    July 5, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    Love this post!! For some reason people think the nautical strip look is for everybody but it really isn’t!

    • Reply
      narcissista1
      July 5, 2012 at 8:32 PM

      So true!

    • Reply
      narcissista1
      July 8, 2012 at 9:07 AM

      Its so true. I have a lot of pent up fashion lust for those Breton shirts though.

  • Reply
    6 Things I Envy About Other Women | NARCISSISTA.ME
    September 19, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    […] the Breton shirt I’ve tried, they just look terrible on me (see arms above).  I wrote about my stripe lust over the summer after yet another failed attempt to wear stripes.  But for you girls who look […]

  • Reply
    6 Things I Envy About Other Women « Muddy Stilettos
    October 13, 2012 at 4:41 AM

    […] the Breton shirt I’ve tried, they just look terrible on me (see arms above).  I wrote about my stripe lust over the summer after yet another failed attempt to wear stripes.  But for you girls who look […]

  • Reply
    6 Things I Envy About Other Women | Muddy Stilettos
    October 15, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    […] the Breton shirt I’ve tried, they just look terrible on me (see arms above).  I wrote about my stripe lust over the summer after yet another failed attempt to wear stripes.  But for you girls who look […]

  • Reply
    camparigirl
    July 6, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    I have always wanted one of those Breton tops and I finally got one – I have broad shoulders, small breast and am skinny so I was pretty confident I could go with the dreaded horizontal stripes. It turns out that yes, I can, but they are very overrated. No matter how hard I try, I can’t convey that Hepburn/Bardot French look on a bicycle with baguette under my arm!

    • Reply
      narcissista1
      July 7, 2013 at 4:35 PM

      You mean the grass on the other side isn’t greener, it’s just astroturf? Still, I am envying you from afar.

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