During the middle ages, clothing with stripes signified bad. Illustrations then of Judas, lepers, heretics, and the devil often revealed them wearing striped clothing. People who dared to wear “the devil’s cloth,” might be harassed or even murdered. Eventually, clothing with stripes came to identify criminals and prostitutes, the lower levels of society. Finally, during more recent centuries, stripes were elevated so that the aristocracy could readily identify domestic servants.
Thus, stripes have had a rough road to respectability. The big break came during the American and French revolutions against the aristocracy. Stripes came to be associated with revolution, freedom, and democracy.
By now, I don’t think it is bad for me and you to like and wear clothing with stripes. Black and white stripes (along with navy and white) have always been one of my favorite patterns. For today, I have a dramatic black and white stripped jacket/wrap that inspired five different styles.
A Wrap with Stripes
My Ronnie Salloway wrap is designed with contrasting patterns of black and white stripes. Important to me, this piece pairs up with much that I have already in my closet, which is one of my checks before I make a purchase (or agree to take on a piece for review).
The wrap is from What To Wear, our boutique in Butler, Missouri. Knowing my style, Debbie (owner) wanted to see what I could do with it and I jumped at the challenge!
I kept thinking that stripes contrasted against polka dots would look great. This idea led to a search on resale sites for a top that would complete the vision in my head. I finally found my “like new” second hand top by INC. (Macy’s in house brand) top on eBay.
Finishing off the look are black skinny jeans, black open toes booties, a black and white Rebecca Minkoff Love bag and my Brighton locket. Before we went into Covid-19 lock down, I wore this for an evening eating with friends. I hope eventually to wear this combination many more times.
A brief aside on jeans: I recommend anything American Eagle. Their fit is excellent, prices are good, and they are members of the Bangladesh Accord which, to me as a consumer, is fair and just arrangement for the garment makers.
Just a Little Straw
Around 2005, wide-legged cropped pants were very much the thing. I’m thankful I didn’t get rid of this pair by The Limited that I picked up at TJ Maxx all those years ago. They’re back! And I love how they completed this spring look along with my white Tee Shirt, which is made of super soft Modal.
I pulled out some more oldies for this style: a Jason Wu Target clutch (2012) and a pair of Moda peep-toe wedges, also purchased in 2012. I think it’s refreshing when a new piece can pull such old items from my closet and breathe new life in them.
One of my favorite colors to mix with black and white has always been turquoise and all other colors of blue. None of my three blue/turquoise accessories matches each other perfectly, but, well, such is life.
The stripes and blues didn’t need competition so I used a white column underneath. Matching whites has its challenges. Cool whites tend to make warm whites look dingy. I knew I wanted to use my old pair of white pants and finally settled on a white thrifted knitted top.
You could really mix any accessory color. I’m thinking green might be fun.
What I’m using for this look: a second hand Stella and Dot Necklace, second hand Tod sandals, and a Coach bag.
Here’s a side view to show the contrast of the stripes.
Silk and White
Again, I am using a black column (this idea shows up a lot on the blog). This time I used two silk pieces: on an old black silk shell and a fairly new pair of Nicolle Miller silk trousers found on sale on her site last fall.
For fun, I pulled out as many white accessories as I thought might go: Adrianne Vittidinni sandals, a vintage Rodo bag, and a white and gold necklace. This is a bit dressier, perhaps something to wear in early summer and on cooler summer nights.
What do you think? Are the white sandals too much?
Stripes on Stripes + Colorful Jeans
I’m finishing with a dressed down look. I picked red jeans but you could sub another color, of course. Also for fun, I wanted to play stripes against stripes. Continuing the casual theme are a pair of black slip-ons (pre-covid I was wearing the soles off these shoes) and my favorite black cross-body bag. (Some like jewelry, I gravitate toward bags).
Wrap with stripes details. I am wearing a size medium. The back measurement is 19” but the front panels are 28”, which makes it wonderfully drapy. The fabric is a 95% Viscose and 5% Spandex stretch knit which makes the fit comfortable and for this type of wrap, I would say true to size.
Now comes the really neat part. As I mentioned before, the wrap is from my friend’s Debbie’s shop, What To Wear, on the square in Butler, Missouri. Like most shops, she is closed down for the duration of this plague upon us.
However, we came up with a plan. There are still three of the wraps on the racks, two larges and one small, just waiting to make their new owners happy.
Debbie has a special for my readers. If you mention you read about this jacket on Meadowtree Style, the price is only $39.00 (quite a discount from the original price) and shipping is free (USA).
What To Wear is very active on Facebook. Just message Debbie there and she will work personally with you to get your jacket off to you. She is one incredible lady and you will love working with her. I hope this will bring some sunshine and good vibes during this challenging time for all of us.
That’s almost it….
I found the social history of stripes to be a so interesting I was tempted to learn more. This led me to The Devil’s Cloth: A History of Stripes by Michel Pastoureau. This slim book is scholarly but readable–even though translated from the French. For me, it was a fascinating study of the social evolution of this simple pattern.
Well, I sincerely hope all of you are weathering this trying time. Michael and I are trying our best to venture out only when necessary. We try to get up with our chickens and use the senior hours at grocery stores. May you and loved ones stay safe.
At the end of my days, I’ve been tired from: creating soups from what we have on hand, knitting a sweater with yarns I just love, relocating over 200 surprise Lilly bulbs, baking breads, watching too much HBO and Acorn TV, doing puzzles on my I-Pad, playing challenges on Covet Fashion (a game), and watching way too many cute dog and cat videos on Facebook.
We did get two weighted hula hoops from Amazon. For me, it was just like getting back on that bike. But, Michael, let’s say, teaching him how to “hula” has been hilarious.
Yesterday, I participated in an on-line watercolor course from the Kansas City Art Institute. For the instructor, it was a new way of presenting; I liked it. Teachers are having to be innovative and creative during this stressful time. Even before I retired (2012), educators were learning more on how to use technology.
Again, may you and loved ones stay safe. What are all of you up to? How are you adjusting to the stress? XOXO