Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hold the Phones

The Lollypop Guild

Vertical stripes make you look fat? What? Horizontal stripes are actually slimming?

Horizonatal stripes are more slimming?

Horizontal stripes are slimming?!

In case you didn't get that, scientists claim that horizontal stripes are slimming! I'm having trouble accepting this. I feel like they just told me Santa Claus isn't real, and next thing you know, they'll be talking about the easter bunny. And then maybe gravity. Yes, even I have bought into this, which may be a myth, and I feel so betrayed.

The fourth article I linked has a drawing illustrating this concept. The woman in horizontal stripes does indeed look slimmer. However, the stripes on both women are not the same. The horizontal stipes are black and grey, and the dress is shaded, giving her more dimension than the flat black-a white vertically striped dress. All of that points to bias in the article, the picture portion anyways. Perhaps the fashion bizz is finding new ways to lead/start trends? I hope the test the scientist's used were more scientific than that.

If it's true that horizontal stripes are slimming while vertical stripes are widening, I wonder why the fashion world would chant the oppossite. Despite it's reputation as being silly, vain, and full of foppery, I suspect if you're reading this blog that you recognize that though there are parts of it that are silly, vain, and full of foppery that it also has an intellectual side. Fashion is an art and a science, so it seems odd to me that so many people would find horizontal stripes to be widening and vertical ones to be slimming.

Does it have to do with the tailoring of the garment? Once again referring to the drawings in the fourth article linked, if that vertically striped dress were more tailored, that stripe would likely not cut across her hips on the ends there. They would contour more, which I suspect would be more slimming. That same article also includes pictures of women in dresses with horizontal stripes. All of those dresses are tight dresses that countour to the body. The one example of vertical is not fitted and thus obviously not slimming. In the same vein, where I've tried on horizontal stripes and find them widening is in t-shirt knits. I find fitted t-shirt knits make me look larger anyways, and even if I could find a horizontal striped one, I doubt that it would be particularly slimming. Non-fitted tees make me look wider, also regardless of pattern, and that's where my other widening horizontal's tend to fit; not fitted. Finally, ending this thread of thought is that the vertical stripes I find to be slimming are actually countoured to my body, so they're not exactly perfectly vertical, as in the illustration.

I also wonder is it can have something to do with size and placement. Where you choose to divide your body can visually alter your proportions, for example, making you look short or taller. Also, looking at advice given out by the Budget Fashionista for sporting the widening horizontals, she discusses size, improving the contour by adding more lines thus placement, and body shape. Referring yet again to that article with the pictures, all of the women where slim to begin with. Stripes might just be a difficult pattern.

Since I can't find the actual test, I suppose I'll just have to muse for now.

Alright, let's do a semi-experiment by looking at stripes on me.

Clown Around

Competing with black, the fail safe slimmer according to the articles. Fitted and highlighting the smallest part of me in between the widest. It cashes on on contrast, and not just its stripey nature.

zoology bow

Same shirt again, diffrent position.


Fitted horizontal tee-shirt, at the same place.


Horizontal, non-fitted

Wall Angel

Vertical, non-fitted

Bella Inanitas Stella

Wide horizontal and a little big.

For the World's Future Nyah!

Both types of stripes, fitted and non.

Lemon Lime prissy

Vertical, but contoured a bit.

seashore the ring

Both, though vertical non-fitted.

That 70s Look

Both. Knit, too big horizontal.

Harry Potter 2

Too big sweater cut like the previous one with with vertical stripes.


Fitted vertical.


Today's outfit also features vertical stripes. The bodice is very fitted, making the stripes contour well. I'm also actually smiling, which is the new black. It makes everything look better, at least according to the radio guy in the Annie.

After looking at all those pictures, and with my aforementioned reasoning, I'm convinced that the slimming or widening effects of stripes have to do with the fit and tailoring of the garment. Vertical stripes are more likely to be tailored or otherwise form lines that help out the silhouette. Contrast might also have something to do with it.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it,

Ivy Frozen

P.S. If I have time, maybe I'll do something a little more scientific. But first, I should finish my sewing.


Anonymous said...

I think it depends on the person who's wearing the stripes. My friend is tall and gained some weight after getting her son but she looks really nice in horizontal stripes... but she looks like Obelix from "Asterix and Obelix" when she's wearing vertical stripes.

I think you look great wearing both.

Paisley Girl said...

I don't know if I can believe that after so many years of hearing the other way round. Even my mom was in disbelief, but I guess it could be true. I don't know. Maybe it does depend on the person as nadine said. Still a little scared to try it. LOL! I think people of a larger side should avoid the stripes either way. I think both ways would make them look larger. But I could be wrong.

Becky said...

I love that you're a fashion scientist! Honestly, I think the slimming effect is marginal whatever the stripe direction. It's worth saying though that you have some of the best style on the blogosphere I'm just impressed that you own so many stripes that point so many ways!