This summer I am interning for a company that produces clothing for little girls. Their defining style is one of multiple patterns in bright contrasting colors, all sewn together into one garment. This look is adorable on kids (though admittedly not much isn’t), but it’s typically a look that college students try to avoid.

For older clientele, mixing patterns can become a little messy. College is a time when students are trying their hardest to become adults and step into the professional world. This can lead to some difficult style transitions. One must start to let go of some fun aspects of teenage wardrobes and start to embrace the young adult professional style — meaning a lot of exciting prints may be tossed. The big question is, how can we still play with patterns we grew up loving while still keeping a professional wardrobe?

In my opinion, you’re never too old for stripes. Floral prints can become outdated and childish, aztec prints are fun but only for casual wear and most polka-dots are just a no. Stripes, however, are basic and mature, accentuating the womanly figure and adding a little flair to professional wear. Horizontal or vertical, pinstripe or wide, it’s hard to go wrong. But there are some important things to remember:

1. You CAN have too many stripes. An entire ensemble of striped glory can result in a headache for any poor soul who passes you in the street. Keep the stripes to one item and the rest should be solid or a subtle print.

2. Thickness matters — a lot of people believe the direction of the stripes can alter the way you are perceived. For example, people believe there is a difference between horizontal stripes and vertical stripes and how wide you look. However, it is the thickness of the stripes that really matters. The thinner the stripes the thinner the area looks and the thicker the stripes the more broad. Pay attention to where your stripes lie.

3. Certain colors can induce dizziness. Color relation is extremely important when it comes to stripes. Complementary colors can confuse the eyes, especially with thin stripes. Try finding stripes in the same color family or a neutral color to balance things out.

This Fashionista did an excellent job choosing a striped top with neutral colors and thin lines, allowing the shoulder and chest area to look dainty and draw attention. She layered the shirt over a solid yellow dress with simple detailing at the bottom to balance out the look and add color. She chose not to accessorize which would have only overwhelmed the bold look.

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