Shopping all over: stripes

kaitlin spring stripes composite

Stripes for spring.

By Kaitlin Resler

Stripes get a bad rap. Makeover shows tend to harp on their unflattering aspects, citing them as the culprits that widen the figure, but a lot of that has less to do with pattern and more to do with fit.

When I think about iconic, classic clothing items, the striped shirt ranks high on the list.
The most classic version might be Coco Chanel's Saint James striped shirts, borrowed from fishermen

Just in time for spring, stripes are popping up in affordable versions all over stores. The trend toward the stripe seems to be mostly for women right now. They're definitely a spring staple to toss on with those hopeful floral pieces, and there's no shortage of them at stores in our area (in a range of prices for those of us saving our pennies).

I went on the hunt for stripes in the Capital Region, recently. Here's what I found.

H&M is overflowing with stripes. Shirts, sweaters (including a delicious ruffled cardigan for $24.95--it's like the circus in a sweater, but in a good way!), and dresses in varying stripe-widths and prices. Upon entering I grabbed the first few I saw without going over the fitting room tag limit (six, although no one checked, so I wonder if they even care about this anymore).

HM cardigan.jpg

HM colors close up.jpg

Most of the options at H&M are in the classic black and white or blue and white, but the nifty pink striped option was a nice change.
HM Boatnecks in colors.jpg

It's kind of an awkward cut, but it's also $5. I found a bunch more in other colors towards the back of the store, in a classic boat-neck cut for $14.95, which is lovely, although they're a bit on the sheer side.
HM stripes 2.jpg
(Left-to-right: Cap sleeved tee $12.95; Handkerchief tee $5.95; Tank dress $12.95; T-shirt dress $17.95).

Speaking of the boat-neck, one can dress as a proper adorable deck-hand with this option in the window of J. Crew.

J Crew Stripes.jpg

Definitely pricier than the H&M version, at $36.50, but it is cut a bit longer in the waist and is of a slightly sturdier cotton.

In the same price range, the Land's End section of Sears in Colonie Center has a black and white striped shirt--this one is mostly black, with thinner white stripes--and is of a really thick almost canvas material.

It runs about the same as the J. Crew version, and also comes in a petite option--so if ¾ length sleeves are traditionally too long for you, the petite fit might work perfectly!

Macy's tended to have less in the way of the classic striped shirt.

Macys RL .jpg

The Ralph Lauren section had a few in various colors that have shiny gold buttons along the sleeves, and the Free People section (aka, the place where I wander through and wistfully poke at the garments but hardly ever buy) has some interesting cut sweaters.
Macys Free People Sweater.jpg

If horizontal stripes seem like a bad idea, I.N.C. has a sheer vertical striped blouse in gray and white that will get you through summer. Added bonus: it was marked down to $29.50 on sale.

Macys INC Sheer .jpg

Alternative to the shirt--a jersey striped dress, in a photo-negative of the traditional striped pattern, in Ann Taylor.

Anne Taylor dress.jpg

It's a bit steep for rayon and spandex (priced at $98), but the cut is reasonably flattering and the window display with all those stripes and lines had me looking.

How to wear stripes:
Sturdier fabrics in slimmer fits would be most flattering, and if you're worried about them in general, try striped shirts that are mostly darker (like the Land's End version). Stripes add an interesting graphic dimension to an outfit, so even under a blazer or mixed with floral prints is a great way to mix it up.


Oh la la! I'm glad someone else has gotten on the stripe bandwagon! I love my cashmere black and white stripe boat neck from J. Crew that I got a few years ago. Goes PERFECT with denim trouser capris and red flats.

Forever 21 has red and white striped fly away cardigans. The fly away is a great way to incorporate stripes because it is a flowing fit that drapes well - the stripes make it better! (I paired mine with a royal blue t-shirt, skinnies and tons of pearls.)

What's up with the "$" sign after the numeric (like 36.50$)? Just curious. I have seen it occasionally, but not frequently, and usually on Craigslist or some non-moderated blog. *Editors: Just a copy editing oversight. Thanks for pointing it out! All fixed.

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