Monday 20th November 2017
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What is it about a striped shirt, anyway?

brigitte stripes

I wouldn’t say the question keeps me up at night, but I have been giving it perhaps an undue amount of thought. Why do I own so many striped shirts, and why is my thirst for more (see below) so seemingly unquenchable? Wherein lies their vast—and apparently universal—appeal? I turned to my friend Jessica Morgan—stripe lover, astute style observer, and one half of the genius duo behind Go Fug Yourself—for answers.  “I think the striped shirt works in EVERY aesthetic, really, because it’s highly adaptable while not being boring, thanks to the stripe, and there are so many variations on it,” she says. “Basically,  everyone can find a striped shirt that feels like it’s going to be an appealing addition to her wardrobe—after all, how many shirts can read both French gamine AND New England prepster? They are classic AND fresh, a pattern that is somehow also a neutral. Truly, the perfect casual shirt.”  And to that, I can add little, except to say that the striped shirt can also skew rock and roll if you so choose, and that Jessica’s point about it being a pattern that’s also a neutral is brilliant, and probably goes quite a long way towards explaining why we all reach for them so very much of the time.

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Yes, this little number goes for just over $100 and no, I am not above considering it regardless, because it is pitch-perfect in every way: the slight fade of the red, the white ring at the collar, the perfectly worn-in look. Some striped tees skew more femme, but this one is glorious 100% tomboy.


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The combination of pink and red on such a boyish shape is both playful and chic, and I think this choice could absolutely be dressed up as it is here with a fancy lady skirt.

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Big fat stripes, wicked low price.

other stories stripes

The red collar here is absolutely all that’s needed to make this a standout.

multi stripe

Stripe-on-stripe contrast is so fun and 70s—like something a cast member of Zoom would wear (an odd style reference, perhaps, for a woman in her 50s, but there you have it).



Posted on August 15th, 2016 18 Comments

18 Responses

  1. c.w. says:

    I already own four stripped t-shirts (2 short sleeve, 2 long sleeve), but that contrast collar one….I’m in stripped trouble!

    And I love that explanation of stripes being a pattern neutral. Totally agree, but would never have been so clever to have come up with that bit of brilliant reasoning.

  2. Jenny says:

    I have 6 striped t-shirts, all roughly the same cut, all useful in their own way (well, one is rarely in rotation, but I like seeing it in the closet). I will happily, readily buy more. And, as a wee elementary schooler, I was desperate to join the cast of Zoom, and am happy to think that’s the origin of my love of stripes.

  3. Dana D says:

    I totally want the first one.

    (funny, my 22-year-old otherwise fashionable daughter eschews stripes of any kind…is this an example of why we are girls of a certain age?)

  4. y.k. says:

    come on & zoom zoom zooma zoom…

  5. Viajera says:

    Just out of curiosity, Kim… how many do you have? Ballpark is fine, of course. Non-answering is also fine. I’m just wondering how much of a problem it could/might be. So I know whether to help enable or not.
    ; )

    I don’t have any but I wouldn’t mind a nice long sleeve, navy and white one like Brigitte’s, except I don’t look good in (most) boatnecks (bra straps), and I’d prefer a reversal on the dark/light fields. Or at least even size. Which I guess isn’t traditional but oh well. And also, without dropped shoulders or 3/4 sleeves. IIRC, you posted a photo of one I quite liked a while back. If I can dig it up, I’ll put the link up here again. Stripes are amazingly versatile. Come to think of it maybe a short sleeve might be good too.

  6. Raina says:

    There is no fashion quandary a Breton stripe cannot solve.

  7. LeahZ says:

    ZOOM! That show was awesome in the 70s. I was just talking about 70s striped shirts and my kids did not get why those were different than today’s striped shirts. Just google ZOOM and you (and even they) can see the difference.

  8. Hannah says:

    I love the idea of striped jersey knit tshirts but alas can never find the right stripe in the right fabric to make one.

  9. Hick from Styx says:

    I used to own almost exclusively striped shirts and T-shirts. Now I own none, and don’t understand how it came to be. Stripes have lasting appeal.

  10. Mamavalveeta03 says:

    One can never own enough stripes! (My daughters think I’ve lost my ever lovin’ mind! 😉 )

  11. Maggie says:

    I have ten, seven of which are blue and white. My favorite is a super soft, thin orange and navy crew neck from Madewell. I am extremely tempted to add that top one to my collection.

    • KimberSam says:

      Is it wrong that I am happy that I am less of a stripe shirt addict than you? I have 5–2 of which I wear weekly.

  12. Suz says:

    Ah, the stripey shirt….my nemesis. Definitely something I love on other people. Always chic though – that part is true.

    The contrastyness of the last one and the color are very very tempting.

  13. Miss G says:

    My LAWD, do I love that blue and white number with the red collar! And that last shirt also comes in navy and white with contrasting green striped sleeves. Love it!