It is a much known fashion faux pas to wear horizontal stripes if you are carrying any excess weight. From an early age, it is instilled in us that wearing vertical stripes will draw the eye down and make you look taller and thinner, and sporting horizontal stripes will do the opposite, making you look wider than you are. This theory has finally been confirmed as fact by BBC Amateur Scientist of the Year, 53 year old Val Watham.
The research into the effects of wearing stripes involved filming 15 models walking a catwalk in stripes designed and produced by students of the University of the Creative Arts. The show was presented to over 500 visitors to the Edinburgh Science Festival, who then rated how tall and wide each model looked in their individual striped outfits.
Watham’s research beat over 1,000 other entrants in the science competition, landing her the top prize. Her findings negate the work of her mentor, Dr. Peter Thomson of the University of York. He had previously claimed that horizontal stripes actually gave the appearance of a smaller frame due to a visual effect known as the Helmholtz Illusion. The judges described Watham’s study as “a lovely idea which was well executed”.
Included in Watham’s study was the effect of wearing black. Not surprisingly, models that appeared completely dressed in black were thought to have the thinnest appearance over any other model wearing vertical or horizontal stripes. In that case, it would appear that in order to look as slim as possible, it is best to avoid stripes altogether. Time to pull out that faithful old LBD again so.