While we were on vacation in Maine, I bought a cute striped tee shirt at the Ralph Lauren outlet in Freeport.  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.  See my Ann Taylor top on the left and my Ralph Lauren top on the right.

After the jump, I speculate on the differences.  I also share photos of another striped top I found at Banana Republic.  I didn’t buy it, but I’d be curious to hear your feedback on it.

  1. 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!
  2. However, I think the larger stripes make me look larger all around.  Agreed?
  3. 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.
  4. The 3/4 length sleeves camouflage the bust a little more than the cap sleeves, but again, not a giant difference.
  5. 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.  Basically, I believe the following is true from this experiment:

  1. Thinner stripes trump thicker stripes.
  2. Longer sleeves are better than shorter sleeves.
  3. Form-fitting is better than baggy.

Only #3 is true ALL the time.

Now for the Banana Republic top I tried.  Scroll further for an accessorizing disaster!

Not bad, right? I like that the bottom is cut on a curve rather than straight across.
Aaaah! What went wrong with this one??? (I think I know . . . .)

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.  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.