Stripes of All Stripes: Apparel and Jewelry on Parallel Tracks

Early glimmerings of this fashion trend late in 2010 focused primarily on a nautical theme—classic navy and white stripes mixed with a touch of red, but by the time of the Screen Actors Guild awards in late January 2011, when 14-year-old actress Hailee Steinfeld had a bright Prada striped dress customized into a full-length version for her red carpet appearance, the floodgates opened, and stripes of all stripes have become one of the biggest trends of the season.

The February 2011 issue of Harper’s Bazaar showed striped looks from Marc by Marc Jacobs, Prada and Fendi. The Prada dress pictured is the original version of the dress modified for Hailee Steinfeld. Notice the stacked bracelets in the ensembles from Fendi and Marc by Marc Jacobs.  

The December 2010 issue of Harper’s Bazaar pictured a variety of striped patterns from Prada, Jil Sander, Jason Wu, and Celine.

Among the items included in this montage of striped items in the March 2011 issue of More magazine are a ribbon-tie necklace from Old Navy, and a set of graphic black and white bangles from R.J. Graziano. As More notes, stripes are available in wide, graduated, or pinstripe-thin versions and in colorful varieties or classic black and white. Some striped patterns alternate two colors; others incorporate multiple hues.

Accessorizing stripes requires bold choices in jewelry, and a multitude of themes have emerged:

1. Accessorize with neutrals.

The most effortless way to accessorize stripes is to accessorize with jewelry in the background color of the stripes. Typically this will be white or black. For example, a black and white striped dress by Petit Bateau is shown with a white necklace from Circa Sixty Three and white bangle bracelet from AV Max in this photograph from the April 1, 2011, issue of Family Circle. The white sandals are from Kenneth Cole New York.

2. Accessorize with solid-color brights.

The March 2011 issue of Glamour comments: “If You’re Into Stripes. . . These are pieces you’ll throw on when you want a sure thing. (Mix with black, white or solid brights. Done!)” The bracelets in hues of black, grey and bright pink are from Emporio Armani. Any one color can be repeated to accessorize a striped ensemble.

3. Accessorize with solid-color brights worn to create the effect of stripes.

You can effectively create a striped effect by wearing multiple bangle bracelets together. For example, in this styling of a Jason Wu sweater of black and tan stripes of varying widths seen in the February 2011 issue of Town & Country, a stack of six black, white, and bright single-color bangles from Prada along with a bright belt from Tommy Hilfiger, a color block bag from Louis Vuitton and a ribbon in the model’s hair complete the look.

The March 2011 issue of Marie Claire accessorizes a striped dress from Prada with multi-color bangles—two red ones from Prada and a green one from Megan Odabash—along with large, elaborate hoop earrings from Les Nereides. The straw bag is from Serpui Marie.

4. Accessorize with more stripes.

With the trend this season being very much one of mixing up colors and patterns, it may be of no surprise that stripes are often styled with accessories having their own stripes.

Here’s a current ad for Marc Jacobs, showing a striped dress accompanied by a collection of bracelets, some of which themselves have a striped design.

The March 2011 issue of InStyle looked at sporty apparel with racing stripes in primary colors with weightless ease. For these fitness-inspired looks, InStyle recommends: “Use white as your base color, and don’t weigh yourself down with accessories—aviators or a bright watch are all you need to score.” The featured wristwatches, including one with a striped nylon strap, are from Timex for J. Crew.

The December 2010 issue of Elle featured striped woven bracelets from Missoni and bright resin cuffs from Cara Croninger along with black Plexiglas earrings from Prada to accessorize a white top from Prada, print shorts and “picnic bag” from Versace and print sandals from Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquiere. This look works so well because there is a substantial amount of neutral white as a background for all the witty prints. However, the Missoni bracelets could also be worn with striped garments for a sophisticated stripes-on-stripes effect.

5. Accessorize with bold multi-color jewelry.

A fifth approach is to offset the effect of stripes with big, bold earrings or necklaces that themselves do not incorporate a striped theme. For example, this current ad from Prada Eyewear appears in the March 2011 issue of Elle. The sweater is tan and white; the earrings bold links of orange suspended from black disks.

The March 2011 issue of Elle magazine profiles the style of interior designer Meg Sharpe, showing her wearing a striped blazer from 3.1 Phillip Lim over a top from Guess accessorized with a colorful necklace from M.C.L. by Matthew Campbell Laurenza.

6. Accessorize with metals.

A sixth approach is to adorn a look with refined touches of gold or silver jewelry, as seen in this ad for Tommy Hilfiger that appears in the March 2011 issue of Vogue.  The model wears a shirt of brightly colored vertical stripes under what appears to be a seersucker jacket of narrow grey stripes on white. She wears a dot-dash motif choker necklace, a small-face ladies’ wristwatch and a signet ring, three jewelry trends about which I’ve recently written.

Among the accessorizes chosen to adorn mixes of decorative motifs and “playful rugby stripes” in the March 2011 issue of Marie Claire are a golden metal pendant necklace from Anton Heunis and sunglasses from Sonia Rykiel Accessories.

The March 2011 issue of Glamour features an ensemble of striped sweater and culottes plus a sassy hat from Sonia Rykiel worn with a gold bangle bracelet from House of Lavande and a pink and golden bracelet from Fendi. The same Fendi bracelet was pictured in green in a feature entitled “Update Your Look with Neon and Stripes” in the January 2011 issue of Harper’s Bazaar. The Glamour ensemble includes a bag from Louis Vuitton, belt from Ada, and shoes from Mymu.

Stripes take on an elegant vibe in a blouse and slacks combination of narrow black and white stripes featured in an ad from Oscar de la Renta pictured in the March 2011 issue of Vogue. The look is accented with a golden charm bracelet and earrings of multiple dangling golden disks.

Moschino presents a blazer of wide red and white stripes accented with armloads of gold bangle bracelets and huge golden fleur-de-lis drop earrings in an ad in the March 2011 issue of Vogue.

7. Mix it up!

You will note that not a single striped look was accessorized with delicate jewelry. Bracelets worn in multiples are your best bet. A bold metal necklace can be an interesting choice, but delicate pendants should be left at home. Similarly, with earrings, go bold. The bolder the stripes, the bolder the jewelry needs to be.

But of course, for every rule there is an exception. Here’s another look from the March 2011 issue of Glamour featuring a midriff-baring top and skirt from Versace worn with white shell necklaces, beaded and cord bracelets from Scosha and other bracelets identified as the model’s own. The jewelry is a mix of neutrals (the white necklaces, which pick up the background of the stripes), and brights in the form of very slender multi-hued bracelets, some of which have a striped effect. An intriguing detail is that the bracelets are of approximately the same width as the narrow stripes of the apparel. This look demonstrates how a mix of approaches to styling stripes with jewelry can work beautifully together to create a cohesive and compelling look.