Story by Emma Goganovski
Consider the stripe and its many incarnations. The width and proportion, its direction and depth; the stripe is instinctive and dynamic with supreme powers of adaption. Stripes are to colour what gray is to neutral, a benchmark upon which all outfits can be created – and this is true now more than ever.
And this is not to say that stripes are ‘back’; they are of course “classic” (and have been since Mademoiselle Chanel paid homage to the French sailors by which she was so inspired over a hundred years ago.) But there is certainly something to be said of the old adage that a horizontal stripe makes one look, well…wide. I would argue that never a more false fashion word has been spoken and if you’ve been privy to the blogosphere or a street style photo in last year then I suspect you will be quick to join me.
This is particularly good news if, like me, you spent the majority of your teens and early 20’s filling your wardrobe with a polyester rainbow and then the majority of your recent life trying to extract it. As one mercifully replaces these items with varying shades of black and white, would it be possible that the introduction of stripes is the perfect bridge between monotone and multicolor?
If some of our favourite local labels are anything to go by then this very prospect is certainly becoming a reality. Zimmerman, Cameo, the newly launched The Fifth and of course Bassike have all made solid arguments for the stripe this past season with a mix of modern lines gracing boutique hangers in varying shades of black, red and blue.
The French brand Saint James has been spinning la Marinière shirts since 1889, attracting a loyal clientele across Europe with its classic formula of Breton stripes and high quality cotton. We’re now seeing those little black labels on the arms of the fashion set in the US and here in Oz too.
But a striped shirt need not only be worn to appeal to your nautical side or to channel your inner Taylor Swift. For stripes have become a staple and rightly so, they should be purchased in the same way a black, white or gray t-shirt is justified because ladies, they DO go with everything! Or consider the stripe not only as a top; some of the best versions this year have come in the forms of slouchy sweats, shorts and tank dresses, elevating the stripe into an edgy realm we haven’t seen before and can’t get enough of.
Each stripe has its own personality depending on colour and breadth; compacted black pinstripes on a white boxy t-shirt tell a completely different story to the Where’s Wally red and white ratio of a preppy sweater. Of course, it’s what you wear them with that really matters, denim is absolutely a stripe’s best friend but beyond that think khaki surplus jackets or skinny cargos, delicate floral skirts, or leather in all forms and as with all outfits – accessories will truly lead your way.
So consider the stripe in all its glory. If it turns out that suddenly you’ve got a wardrobe full of them, don’t look back because you’ll be seeing a return on your investment for decades to come.
How do you wear the humble / not-so-humble stripe? Tell us in the comments below, and earn BWA Dollars for doing so!