Much like polka dots and plaids, classic stripes are a thing of beauty. And while we'll always have a closet full of black-and-white or blue-and-white iterations, right now we've got brighter stripes on our minds, specifically the cheerful bubblegum styles shown on some of our favorite spring runways. From a cheeky red-and-blue skirt at Fendi to a sporty-chic shirt at Celine, this is definitely a bold trend, but it's also quite accommodating too. In fact, we think you can easily adapt it for just about any wardrobe, taste, and body type, which is why we're spotlighting it in this month's Runway to Real Way.
Before trying these cheerful statement pieces, it's important to make sure you're educated on the topic (you must earn your stripes, if you will). As such, we shall start as we always do: with the runways. The Prada S/S 11 show offered up a more formal version of bubblegum stripes with an orange, pink, and black Horizontal Striped Dress with Spaghetti Straps and Ruffle ($1860) styled with blue and white Woven Heels ($895). By pairing the flamboyant cocktail dress with contrasting shoes, the resulting look is playful, punchy, and perfect for warm-weather cocktail parties. While the Prada interpretation has a sexy samba quality to it, the bubblegum stripes at Marc by Marc Jacobs are decidedly softer and have a more relaxed vibe. The silk Simone Dress ($628, which will be available at Saks soon) is a perfect purchase for a number of reasons, like its fun, full, and forgiving mid-calf length skirt and wide '70s-style stripes.
Of course, the bubblegum-stripe trend is not limited to dresses alone. We also saw it turn up on sportier separates, like the blue and red Ayers Striped Skirt ($4940, 212.759.4646) at Fendi, which designer Karl Lagerfeld showed with a simple silk Printed Top ($570, 212.759.4646) and zippy yellow shoes. At Celine, Phoebe Philo also opted for streamlined stripes with a slightly vintage look. One of her runway ensembles offered a White, Blue, and Green Horizontal Striped Shirt ($2000) with a slouchy pair of trousers, specifically the White Pants with Blue and Green Striped Detail ($2500), for entirely different take on '70s sportswear.
If you're inspired to try this effervescent look in real life, we suggest taking a tip from Fearne Cotton and pairing your bubblegum stripes with solid separates. The British beauty was snapped in a simply marvelous take on the trend when she styled a vintage dress with a tailored black jacket (also vintage), low brown boots from ASOS, and a bright red Matt & Nat bag. Her dress has an unfussy silhouette-definitely a good thing when dealing with multicolor stripes-plus, by styling it with simple, dark essentials, Cotton makes it look a bit more modern and accessible.
When trying out bubblegum stripes at home, also remember that you don't need to replicate the runway look exactly; sometimes just one or two bold colors are enough. For example, you could always invest in Jason Wu's Pikai Stripe Knit Pullover ($585), which has a very streamlined silhouette and comes in either hot pink and red stripes (our favorite) or navy and royal blue. Or you could pick up A.L.C.'s Striped Stretch-Jersey Skirt ($295), another good choice in a bright blue and navy palette. If you're interested in a very casual option, don't fret, we have two of those for you too! First check out American Apparel's Unisex Pigment Striped Short Sleeve Crew Neck ($28) in a very cheery Fuchsia Purple Stripe or Topshop's 70s Deck Chair Stripe Tank ($34), which comes in a lovely melange of colors. Of course, if you'd prefer something a little dressier, we found some frocks for you too. Shoshanna's Midnight Tie Dye Stripe Tulip Dress ($230) is a cute strapless option, or check out Milly for more styles, specifically the Starboard Stripe Knit Sweater Dress ($245) or the Gondolier Stripe Polo Dress ($295). Finally, get on the pre-order list now for a version of the Marc by Marc Jacobs runway frock, like the Striped CDC Dress ($592), as it's sure to sell out quickly!
Photo of Fearne Cotton, courtesy of Getty; Marc by Marc Jacobs runway photo, courtesy of First View; Prada runway photo, courtesy of Prada USA; Fendi runway photo, courtesy of Fendi N.A.; Celine runway photo, courtesy of Karla Otto