Stripes: A Staple of Fashion Throughout the Ages

July 26, 2017

Stripes: A Staple of Fashion Throughout the Ages


The stripe pattern. Iconic, bold, and adaptive to many different styles over many centuries. They are so common in today’s fashion world that few of us ever stop to ask simple questions such as these:

“Where did stripes originate from?”

“What is the meaning of these lines?”

“What legacy have stripes on the face of fashion?”.

In “The Devil’s Cloth” by historian Michel Pastoureau, the original use of stripe came with a negative connotation closely associated in Medieval times with the outcasts of society.  


However, a new era of stripes originated as Queen Victoria dressed her son in a striped suit on a yacht towards the end of the eighteenth century.


Since then, this pattern became tied with the ocean and nautical fashion.


Perhaps one of the most prominent reasons stripes are trendy today is because, at the beginning of the twentieth century, Coco Chanel derived her inspiration from traveling in the French Riviera. After Coco Chanel had popularized the stripe, movie stars began to wear the pattern which then became a staple in everyday fashion.

In Thailand, traditional clothing for both men and women have involved stripes for centuries. Different provinces and ethnic groups within the country have various types of textile patterns involving these simple yet classic lines. The stripe pattern became immortalized into Thai fashion when Queen Sirikit studied dress patterns from the Sukhothai to the Rattanakosin era and then used her research to create a traditional style for women’s clothing that has been in place since the 1960’s.

She popularized a blend of Western and Thai fashion that played a pivotal role in birthing modern Thai fashion. In the Queen Sirikit Textile Museum, some garments involve beautiful striped patterns are showcased and worn by the queen herself.



Evening dress, 1985, Erik Mortensen for House of Balmain, Paris, Design for Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, Embroidered SUPPORT Silk ikat (mat mii)

photo credit:


At ARADA, the stripe pattern comes from intricate stitch work by the Lisu tribe in Northern Thailand. Diagonally cut fabrics are sewn into thin strands in contrasting colors to create geometric shapes and stripes.



Traditionally, Lisu women decorate their costumes with these beautiful stripes. Today, the Lisu fabrics are popular as part of accessories and home decorations.


Over the course of merely a few centuries, stripes have come a long way from having a negative connotation to being worn with pride by trendsetters. It is safe to say that stripes will remain in popular culture indefinitely throughout the globe in various areas of fashion.


Contributed by Virginia Elaine 


About the author:

My name is Virginia Elaine. Some of my passions are ethical fashion and empowering women to reach their fullest potential.





IG: virginnia.elaine

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