Thoughts on Horizontal Lines

Courtesy Pittsburgh Steelers

I’m seeing lots of horizontal lines in fashion right now. I’m thinking back to a cotton-ramie sweater that I wore to school in the 1980s. Remember those? They had no stretch control so the sleeves and overall length got longer as the day wore on. Then there were the stripes. The sweater was black with yellow stripes at least 3″ wide. I’m short, so I looked like a bumblebee in a hole. Only dancers wore leggings back then, so I probably wore light-colored baggy jeans. Thankfully, I have no pictures for posterity, but I did find a picture of the new Pittsburgh Steelers jersey that’s quite similar. I don’t think anyone would recommend the same look for the average short girl!


Apparently the horizontal lines are BAAAACK. Although the examples are more fitted than my bumblebee 80s sweater, they’re no more flattering. Most of the horizontal looks are shown on models taller than 5’10” and very slender. Horizontal lines makes an area of the average woman’s body look much wider than it is and throws off the balance of her other assets. If a woman has a thick waist but a curvy top, would it be better to play up that aspect?

Are all horizontal lines bad? No: Horizontal lines that are in the same color family “play” like one look. So most of us can wear the stripes of today if they are not too wide and they’re just peeking out from sweater or are part of a scarf.

Where are the other horizontal lines? In belts. Belts are being added to all kinds of looks these days, and they show up clearly in the bright colors photographed on a runway model from far away. They can afford hacking themselves in half. The rest of us should consider replacing the bright colored belts for ones in the same color family. If you think about how fashion photographs are taken — and viewed — they have to show up clearly. A belt can bring attention to the existence of your waist but not the circumference of your waist. Try orange with peach, or pink with brighter pink. If you’re wearing dark colors, choose another dark color. Belts with contrasting trim such as leather are fine and add texture.

Not a waistline for most of us

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