Friday, October 28, 2011

Stripes: The Devil's in the Details

photo by Kim Trzyna
Hair & Make up by Dots

I'm a stripes kind of gal.  I'm drawn to clothing with stripes. When done correctly, I think they are timeless and chic.  If you were to peek into my closet, you would see an awful lot of striped clothing hanging around.  I have shorts, pants, skirts, dresses, cardigans, jackets, sweaters, blouses, pajamas, shoes... the list, believe it or not, goes on.  I love them.  Horizontal or vertical, but mostly horizontal.  Skinny stripes and thick stripes, in all colors, but mostly, of course, in navy and black.  As I'm writing this, I am wearing a blue pinstriped shirt, and my socks have black and white stripes (it was crazy sock day at school). 

My obsession with stripes (I tend to talk a lot about my obsessions on here) got me thinking about their history.  Why, I wondered one day (probably while wearing stripes, of course), do you always see pirates depicted in striped material?  And why did prisoners back in the day wear thick black and white stripes?  And burglars, in old timey references, wear black and white striped shirts to go with the black masks that shield their nefarious identities.  This burglar question got me wondering when said burglars wised up and started wearing all black, and whether any burglars ever really did wear black and white, and did they refuse to burglarize on nights when their striped shirts were in the wash?  As in-- Oh, sorry, Joe, I can't rob old man Jenkin's place with you tonight; my striped shirt is at the laundry.
Anyway, to answer all these questions (and more, according to reader's reviews), I need to buy Michael Pastoureau's book, The Devil's Cloth.  Pastoureau is a French specialist in medieval history.  While he was researching various medieval documents, he kept noticing that it was usually only the negative figures or characters who were depicted wearing stripes.  This led him to research the history of striped fabric, starting with a "medieval scandal" in France and moving throughout history to the 20th century.  I don't know about you, but I find this kind of stuff fascinating.  That's part of the reason I love having a smart phone so much, because I have instant access to online research whenever a weird little question pops into my head.  So this book is on my list, and stripes are on my mind.  And in my closet.

by Michel Pastoureau

Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn

from the book Parisian Chic- if you don't have this guide yet,
please do yourself a favor and go get it!

image via

Love. from polyvore

perfection (via pinterest)

image via taste-ful.com

Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson-her striped shirt
and tousled hair are fantastic in this video


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