Horizontal stripes are such a wardrobe staple (and a perennial best-seller) that I'm surprised designers didn't push vertical stripes on us sooner. Granted, stripes and geometric patterns of all kinds were all over the spring runways, but since no one likes to look like a prisoner in wide horizontal stripes, let's focus on the flattering properties of the vertical variety.
I find Marc Jacobs fascinating as a designer, in that he manages to totally reinvent the look of his label every season. The common thread is that's there's usually a strong vintage undercurrent, and for spring, he went very mod and minimal, with stripes and checkerboard patterns. While many of the pieces had somewhat of a boxy fit, I think they work better with vertical lines, as in this sequined tunic and trouser skirt.
For a more subtle approach, this Lanvin striped blazer has much wider stripes, so the effect is almost more of a super-slimming colorblocked one, rather than an obviously striped one.
But if it's obvious you want, there's always this Balmain striped shirt. This is a pretty versatile piece—Balmain probably wants you to wear it with skinny leather pants (and you can), but I'd roll up the sleeves, unbutton a few buttons, and wear it with jeans.
At the end of Fashion Week last September, Juicy Couture invited everyone to a party out in the courtyard at Lincoln Center, with pink champagne and a video directed by Zoe Cassavetes. These striped jeans made an appearance in the video, and I'm glad to see them looking even better than I remember.
Striped skinny jeans can be tricky, however, especially if your legs are of the more muscular variety. These Club Monaco pants are a bit more forgiving, with their looser fit and narrower stripes.
While there's something kind of mod and androgynous about vertical stripes, this Bailey 44 dress manages to be quite feminine, and with the waist-nipping crisscross effect at the waist, the cut is pretty much universally flattering. Win-win!
But back to pants for a moment, these BlankNYC striped skinny jeans are one of my favorite items in the bunch. Yes, the stripes are almost closer to a pinstripe than a true vertical stripe, but they have the genius addition of a thick black inset at the inseam—just the part where I'd worry about the stripes pulling.
Forever 21, always a great source for fleeting trends, has a ton of striped merch, like this striped shirt, styled almost exactly as how I'd wear the Balmain above. It's also a hundredth of the price, so it has that going for it.
Another of my favorite items in this trend is this unexpectedly sexy ASOS striped pencil skirt. It's more fitted than the Marc Jacobs skirt above, and while you wouldn't think that wider stripes would be more flattering, I think these are. I also like the midcalf length, which nicely balances the curve-hugging fit.