Well, I kind of adore the horizontal striped top. I blame Coco, she just made them look so chic and French.
I think that there are ways to get away with this look and not emphasize the rack. A good fit and the right kind of stripes makes all the difference. Here are a few from my collection.
The first is an undershirt, it's a good option if you don't want to draw too much attention, wear something like this under a cardy or a nice fitted blazer so the the stripes are only around your neck drawing attention up to the face.
A vintage 1940s knitted top.
This next shirt works on my rack because of the insubstantial almost textured nature of the strip, a scoop neckline, and details on the sleeve.
I also am always looking for striped shirts where the white is less than the color, as it were.
Cool cotton blouse 1956
This shirt works because the fine nature of the stripe, it's almost like a horizontal pinstripe, from far away it just looks grey and up-close it sometimes makes people seasick.
Some of my favorite tops are those that break up the stripe, again this helps to draw attention away from any possible widening effect while still giving that French feel.
And here is a retro take on the concept.
Sometimes I will opt for a tight striped vintage sweater to take advantage of the Sweater Girl look of the 1950s. For example I picked this one up at a thrift store for $4 because I couldn't resist the Grease meet Cry Baby appeal.
Of course Coco's classic look was boat neck, more white than dark and very narrow in strip. It was taken from menswear of the day, as was her aesthetic. This is not my personal favorite cut, partly because boat-necks seem to broaden my already over-broad shoulders.
Although I used to have this kind of sweater, I'm not as big a fan of the bold stripe either. I think it's too 80's for me, or perhaps just too much of a statement.
The fashion these days is also to mix stripes and other patterns, which I must say is difficult for me. I think it works OK if you are a skinny little thing going for tough and punky, but on someone of my preportions strips and plaid would look ~ how do I put this? ~ rather vulgar.
So what would I wear stripes with instead? Well for that French chic I keep talking about, just a nice simple black skirt does the trick, if you ask me. Or if it is a navy stripe, how about blue? Or for a little more edge, red.
1970s Sonia Rykiel ensemble via The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
If you are too scared of the horizontal stripe, the vertical stripe is there waiting for you, just as chic, and generally more flattering. Just do be careful with horizontal knitwear it can stretch in an raher obvious manner around the rack thus drawing attention to it.
Of course you could always accessorize with stripes instead.
And lastly, I leave you with one for Alexia.
1878-1880 via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art