While we were on vacation in Maine, I bought a cute striped tee shirt at the Ralph Lauren outlet in Freeport.Â Later in the week I caught glimpses of myself in the mirror and thought, “Yikes! Frumpy!”
Since my Ann Taylor tee (and the striped dresses I’ve seen others wear here and here, for example) have never struck me that way, I took these photos to compare.Â See my Ann Taylor top on the left and my Ralph Lauren top on the right.
After the jump, I speculate on the differences.Â I also share photos of another striped top I found at Banana Republic.Â I didn’t buy it, but I’d be curious to hear your feedback on it.
- I’m not sure there’s a big difference between the two. Either they’re both frumpy or they’re both great. I can’t make up my mind!
- However, I think the larger stripes make me look larger all around.Â Agreed?
- Both necklines are supposed to look good on us. I prefer the scoop neck on the left, but I don’t see a big difference.
- The 3/4 length sleeves camouflage the bust a little more than the cap sleeves, but again, not a giant difference.
- It’s not obvious from the photo, but the shirt on the left is less baggy and more form-fitting than the shirt on the right.
So I’m trying to come up with some principles about horizontal stripes on the busty figure.Â Basically, I believe the following is true from this experiment:
- Thinner stripes trump thicker stripes.
- Longer sleeves are better than shorter sleeves.
- Form-fitting is better than baggy.
Only #3 is true ALL the time.
Now for the Banana Republic top I tried.Â Scroll further for an accessorizing disaster!
Finally, if you click through to the Banana Republic site via the first picture, you may also come across the Blake wrap blouse that, if the wrap-dress zealots are to be believed, should work amazingly on us.Â It didn’t work amazingly on me, for all the reasons we’ve discussed before, but some of the busty reviewers on the site said it was perfect for them.
I don’t find the size of the stripes to make as much of a difference as the fit and sleeve-length. The Banana Republic shirt is actually very flattering! I completely agree with rule #3… Form-fitting shirts always look better. But for me, thats one of the hardest rules to obey on a daily basis! I’m forever opting for something less fitted and more “comfortable” that won’t have me feeling self-conscious about my figure the whole day… and of course, dressing that way has the opposite affect and makes me look and feel worse!
Thanks for your feedback, Anna. I can relate to the self-consciousness factor. I’ve become a lot less self-conscious since writing this blog and creating my shirts, but sometimes even now I will catch a glimpse of myself and be shocked at my bust size. But if I go with the baggy option, everything about me looks big.
Not quite the same, but your point about “comfortable” backfiring applies to my bra choices as well. Sometimes when I’m working at home, I’ll wear a stretched-out bra just to be “comfortable”, and I end up feeling out of sorts all day.
Interesting examples, Darlene. Now I don’t know much but I have noticed that the sleeves make a huge difference- three quarter length is always more flattering than cap sleeves and generally thinner stripes work better than thicker and fitted is always better.
Thanks for confirming, Jbear! I found a Donna Morgan dress at Filene’s Basement on Monday night that I’m kicking myself for not buying. GREAT 3/4 sleeves and an overall vavoom look . . . definitely fitted!
Horizontal stripes tend to widen us, regardless of width. Wider stripes however, widen us more.
Banana Republic top is cute when covered with the solid cardigan, offering up just a hint of print. Doesn’t serve to widen the entire figure.
Boatneck is more flattering than round neck.
Apologies for the weird format of this post, hahaha.
I always go for narrower stripes, but I also really like different coloured stripes of various widths. I really don’t think horizontal stripes widen us if the garment is fitted. However, there is a difference between fitted and skin tight/clingy. Fitted just means the shirt has shape where you have shape. It doesn’t have to be tight. A fitted shirt is just as comfortable as a non-fitted one, and shouldn’t affect your self-consciousness 🙂
As for cap sleeves…I think that’s related to arm size. Sometimes when I’m wearing long sleeves, I feel very wide because when you look at me, the arms blend into the body and you’re seen as a whole unit. I don’t like cap sleeves but I have found that fitted sleeves that end just above my bust are flattering as they hide the flabby underarm bits, but allows the eye to see the difference between my body and my arms 🙂