Do Stripes Actually Make You Look Wider?

As you can see, I am a HUGE fan of stripes. I wear horizontal stripes all the time - against the advice of many people in the fashion industry who insist they make you look fatter. Sigh. 

Last year someone commented on my Instagram saying "If you wear vertical stripes you'll look much thinner". My reply? "I'm not trying to look thinner I'm trying to look like ME and I LOVE horizontal stripes, so I'm going to wear them." I think she was genuinely trying to be helpful, but her advice was based on the constant narrative we all hear that everything we wear should make us look smaller. Believe it or not, we do not have to look a size smaller than we really are to make a positive impact in this world. Actually we just need to wear clothes that make us feel great. 

Besides which, it's not supported by science. It is in fact vertical stripes that make you look bigger according to the 'Helmholtz illusion' as discussed in this article from 'Psychology Today'. "Helmholtz’s explanation of the illusion was that a filled out area looks longer than an unfilled area of the same size. His thought was that the figure with horizontal stripes looks filled and hence longer from bottom up, whereas the square with vertical lines looks filled and hence longer from left to right. This then generates the illusion that the square with horizontal lines is taller and slimmer than the same-sized square with vertical stripes, which looks short and fat." 

So next time someone tells me I shouldn't wear stripes I'm just going to say "SCIENCE!!!" Thanks Science, where would we be without you x

xxx

Monique