Tim Gunn's Rules of Style

The Project Runway mentor and fashion guru answers all your style conundrums.


June 1, 2012 12:00 PM
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United Artists/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection

All Striped Up

"I'm top-heavy, so I tend to avoid stripes since they make my chest seem even bigger. But I adore mariner-striped shirts. Any suggestions for how a girl like me can wear one in a way that's slimming?"

Mariner (aka Breton) striped shirts have their origin in mid-19th-century France and became a fashion classic many years later when Jean Seberg and Jeanne Moreau popularized them in French New Wave cinema. Being top-heavy, you should pick shirts that provide an optical illusion that will break up the "box" your top can so easily become. Choose styles that have a deep V-neckline and, ideally, a three-quarter sleeve. The deep V will break up the square and lead one's eye up to your face. A three-quarter sleeve — or longer — will mitigate the boxiness. Mariner-striped shirts are usually knits, so select a size that skims, not hugs, your body.