I was asked the other day if there is any pattern that doesn’t go out of style, and without hesitation, I replied, “Black and white stripes!” Classic to infinitum. Another that comes to mind is leopard print, but it can be easy to turn that from a hit to a miss. Nothing has the staying power like those classic stripes in black and white. It transcends eras and meshes well with almost any style, and it adds to an outfit or can stand on its own. Depending on the piece you thrift, you could be transported back in time to anywhere from an 80s punk scene-girl to a 60s French new wave film star to a 20s fashionista exploring menswear! It’s more than a basic that every girl should have in her closet; It’s elemental to fashion!
Think of those moments when black and white stripes made a big statement; In My Fair Lady, Audrey Hepburn- as Eliza Doolittle- stepped out in an instantly iconic black and white ascot dress. Jean Seberg looked picture perfect in her mod stripes in 1960’s Breathless, and Twiggy never failed to rock them in shift dresses. Gwen Stefani has kept black and white stripes on rotation in her wardrobe for decades now. Even Barbie’s classic look is a black and white chevron-striped bathing suit! It doesn’t get more iconic than that.
So how are we wearing stripes right now? With countless black and white striped pieces in thrift stores, it can be hard to miss them, and in one visit, you may be able to score pieces that span from mod to hip-hop, in dresses, tops, pants (can we say Beetlejuice!) or accessories. And rarely do they look cheap; The pattern is so classic, that it instantly adds a good touch to any outfit. Here’s how I styled some of my thrifted stripes:
- 90’s Striped Tent Tank: An oversized cotton tank can be styled so many ways. I went the way of the Pump Up the Jam, urban girl. Throw on a cap, sneaks and a mini skirt (and maybe even gold hoops and lip liner), and you’re good to go!
- 80’s Mod Cap-Sleeved Top: Simple striped tops look great with jeans and flats, but why not have fun with it and tackle the mix-n-match trend! Throw together patterns and prints, black-and-whites and colors, and complete it with some platforms.
- 60’s Classic Striped Dress: These can truly stand on their own. Keep it simple with minimalist heels and little jewelry, and let those stripes shine.
By Whitney S. Williams
Photos by Gabriel Gould