Stripes, Up A Notch From Ordinary

Wardrobe ensemble based on navy striped sweater. Details and more striped tops at une femme d'un certain age.

Even though I’m skittish about wearing most patterns (aside from scarves), I’ve come to think of striped tops as wardrobe essentials. Here’s why:

  • A striped sweater or tee helps even the simplest outfit look more finished.
  • Stripes break up solid blocks of color and provide visual interest.
  • They “play well with others” when mixing patterns. Stripes + florals? ✅ Stripes + animal print? ✅ Stripes + abstract? ✅

Above: Scarf | Sweater | Earrings
Watch | Scarf
Backpack | Pants | Tote
Sneakers | Loafers

While a classic marinière stripe never loses its appeal, lately I’ve been drawn to stripes that go a little beyond the usual.

If you don’t want to stray too far from the classic, think about adding color.

J.Crew navy stripe cashmere sweater. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

The stripes on this navy cashmere sweater are bright, but not overpowering. After seeing in person, I’d recommend for Winters. (Yes there are some warmer colors there, but the overall look reads as cool/bright.) Sizes XX-Small to 3X.

J.Crew boatneck striped tee light blue. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Here’s a boatneck tee in a softer colorway. I think both the light blue and pink colors would be a good choice for you Summers. Sizes XX-Small to 3X.

Madewell striped sweatshirt. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Casual, not bland. I haven’t yet seen this sweater in person, but am betting this color scheme would work for many Autumns. The blue stripes soften that rust color. Sizes XX-Small to XX-Large. It’s also offered in a dark Navy & Ivory combo.

Some like the idea of a striped top, but are concerned about the horizontal emphasis. One way to minimize that effect is to look for patterns or details that break up the horizontal lines.

Chinti & Parker wool cashmere stripe sweater in dusty rose. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I’ve had my eye on this sweater for some months. Even at 40% off, it’s spendy, but I’ve been impressed with the quality of the other sweaters I’ve tried from Chinti & Parker.

Banana Republic striped pocket tee. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Here, an offset stripe pocket breaks up the horizontal lines on this tee.

Banana Republic black and white striped tee. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Stripes of varying widths and densities will also help pull the eye up and down rather than across. This tee is also offered in black with white stripes, sizes XXS-XXL (18).

Banana Republic spacedye striped sweater blue. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Low-contrast stripes and alternating stitches, as well as a scooped neckline give this style a softer appearance. Also offered in Pink and Tan, sizes XXS-XXL (Regular and Petite).

Madewell cropped tiger stripe sweater. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

And the tiger stripes on this sweater are a subtler take on animal print.

Weekend Sales Update

Ann Taylor50% off winter favorites, code COLD50

Anthropologieextra 40% off sale items

Banana Republic – up to 40% off select styles. (If you haven’t shopped BR in a while, they’re worth another look. I’ve found some good things there recently, including this fuzzy jacket…)

Black.co20% off winter accessories.

Everlane – lots of new styles in Choose What You Pay

J.Crew25% off select full-price items, code SHOPNOW

Lands’ End30% off your order & free shipping, code SNOWMAN

Nordstrom – not a sale, per se, but they’re dipping a toe into the resale market

Talbot’s25% off regular price purchase (including new arrivals), code STYLE25

Of a Different Stripe…

Stay in touch.

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17 Comments

  1. darby callahan
    February 1, 2020 / 5:48 am

    I was just looking at that J crew sweater online and liking it very much.

  2. Desi
    February 1, 2020 / 6:04 am

    I love stripes – very French too- but aren’t they just for very slim women? I always feel that they accentuate a less than ideal figure in an unflattering way.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      February 1, 2020 / 6:35 am

      Hi Desi, not at all! I’m not particularly slim and wear them (see HERE). And here’s a post on how to find the most flattering stripes: https://bit.ly/2Ue3jr0

    • Mary A
      February 1, 2020 / 10:16 am

      What is a less than ideal figure? Let’s all get out of that old-fashioned way of thinking that slim = perfect. I’m sure you would look great in stripes!

  3. Lori C
    February 1, 2020 / 6:45 am

    I’m loving your posts! Especially when you mention the color season. Although I know I’m a spring i struggle with knowing what blues to wear. You’re helping to educate me. I also appreciate that we share a color season as being skittish about most prints. You are becoming more and more my #1 go-to source for outfit inspiration…especially quality choices and not Amazon or Walmart. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into your posts.

  4. Lily
    February 1, 2020 / 8:00 am

    I want to like stripes, I really do. Every time I try something striped on it just feels too loud for me. I’ll pass.

  5. Janelle
    February 1, 2020 / 9:08 am

    Thanks for shopping for us, Susan. I’m ordering at least two!!

  6. Anon
    February 1, 2020 / 9:15 am

    I own three striped tops similar to the Banana Republic one. Let me tell you, they are very slimming! Sure they are horizontal stripes, but this little trick with bands of varying width is tromp l’oeil at its finest. It works with an ivory background and black stripes, just as well as with a black background and cobalt stripes. These have become my favorite winter sweaters over the past year, always on rewear. Mine have wider stripes at the chest, and narrow stripes at the waist for an hourglass effect.

  7. darby callahan
    February 1, 2020 / 9:38 am

    I treated myself and bought the J Crew sweater. I am a Winter and I had been wanting to add some navy to my wardrobe, and the colorful stripes will liven things up. I can see it with jeans now and white jeans as Spring comes along.

  8. Garden Goddess
    February 1, 2020 / 10:39 am

    I looked up info about that rainbow striped cardigan. It’s a good price, but it’s made out of 100% acrylic. Acrylic pills and pulls out of shape horribly and almost immediately so I am surprised that you would recommend this one. It’s also “imported”, but it does not say from where it’s imported. That makes me think something bad, like from China using forced labor (perhaps children or the Uighur, or child Uighur?). Anyway, I just want to say that I think you are great and so is your blog, but I think this one may be a blooper.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      February 1, 2020 / 10:48 am

      Thanks, I try to offer options for those who can’t wear wool, but haven’t seen that piece in person.

    • Wendy
      February 1, 2020 / 3:52 pm

      I immediately clicked on that one because of the colors. I’ve been searching for cardigan in spring colors, preferable not a solid color, and haven’t had any luck. This one though, is one size. One size?!

  9. Rondi
    February 1, 2020 / 11:02 am

    Love the stripes. I need more stripes in my wardrobe. I appreciate that you featured a sweater for each season’s palette. Stripes make it even harder for me to determine if a piece is in my palette.

  10. Laura
    February 1, 2020 / 12:24 pm

    Really a wonderful post! So many options for different colors, styles, budgets and fabrics. No other blogger takes the time to present so many choices. Thank you.

  11. Allie
    February 2, 2020 / 12:54 am

    I’ve yet to meet a stripe I didn’t like!

    And while I’m here, can I just say – I simply love your blog … your honesty and willingness to put yourself out there. Keep on doing what you’re doing, ‘cos you’re doing great!

  12. February 2, 2020 / 3:04 pm

    Hi,
    I’m a fan from Australia. I saw in your trip to Paris you worked with a personal shopper and found the experience valuable. AS I am going soon to Paris I wondered if you may provide me with your personal shoppers name , just hoping it might work out for me too!
    Thanks so much. Sent from a very smokey, burnt and sad local.
    Kind regards
    Marnie Murphy

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      February 2, 2020 / 3:52 pm

      Hi Marnie,

      I’m so sorry about the horrible fires in your country! I hope they are under control now and everyone can begin to recover.

      The personal shopper I worked with was Paris Shopping Tour. https://www.parisshoppingtour.com/ They have several types of tour packages, and can also customize an experience depending on your preferences. I recommend them highly!

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