There’s nothing that screams summer more than French sailor stripes worn by the water. Classic black and white stripes have been around for ages, as one of the most beloved patterns in fashion history. Ever since Coco Chanel sported the timeless pattern on a boatneck shirt, it has become a popular summer choice for fashion-forward women all around the world, not just for young men catching fish on a boat. Nautical stripes are one of the most minimalist of patterns, and look great combined with classic pieces like blazers and high-waisted trousers. But try to think outside of the box this season and take the pattern to a whole new level of form and function.
Look to Karen Walker’s Spring 2010 collection for inspiration. It offered a delightful showcase of the classic pattern’s more exuberant and experimental side. Pair your stripes with outrageous prints, like oversized polka dots or seventies kaleidoscope patterns that seem to jump off the cloth. Show a peek of striped shorts underneath a whimsical dress for a youthful look. Pair your stripes with a full ruffled skirt, or wear them in multiple directions on an intricately draped dress. Take an unexpected piece, like a little cape, and throw it over a simple striped top – it makes for a doubly stimulating visual effect. For those of you who still like to wear your stripes in a more classic way, pair them with a beige trench jacket and slouchy jeans. But don’t stop there – add a splash of color, like a vibrantly hued scarf tied around your neck, or an electric yellow pair of boat shoes on your feet.
Have fun with your stripes this season. Their simplicity makes the perfect backdrop for piling on quirky patterns and exaggerated, cartoon-like shapes. Anything goes!