how to wear nautical stripes ultimate guide

how to wear nautical stripes

how to wear nautical stripesSummer is my favorite time of the year. I love dressing in a style that’s light, classic, easy — and incorporates nautical stripes. The iconic nautical stripe top or dress is perfect for traveling. You can dress it up or down, depending on what you layer it with.

Dreams of sitting at a cafe in the French Riviera or Portofino and enjoying a sparkly drink are my inspiration for the look. Growing up, I loved seeing the images of Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot vacationing at some chic, European coastal town. The photos of them at the markets in their nautical stripes running errands and looking fabulous influenced my style.

Some of my favorite nautical-stripe wearers include:

how to wear nautical stripes

So how do you add the nautical stripe look into your wardrobe? Start with a key piece. My favorite way to rock the girl-in-the-Riviera nautical stripes look is with a top paired with white skinny jeans, tailored shorts or slouchy pants.

Ultra-fashionable Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere wears her nautical look stripe on stripe.

cupcakes and cashmere

To update the classic style, try a nautical stripe crop top. You don’t need to bare your midriff — you can wear the crop top with a long, flowy, highwaisted skirt like this:

cropped nautical top look

Here are some other ideas on how to wear nautical stripes as separates:

my favorite nautical stripe tops

I’m a big fan of the sweater-style nautical stripe top in a light fabric like crepe, cotton or cashmere blend. It can be layered or worn alone from Spring to Fall.

Nautical stripes come in a variety of colors, styles and price points. Here are my picks for the best nautical-striped tops:

can a fuller figured woman wear nautical stripes?

Definitely! If you are a curvy woman, forget the myth about avoiding stripes. Instead, pattern-block your body. That means wearing the stripe on only one section and a solid on the other, like a nautical stripe top with solid jeans.

For a sleeker, thinning look, coordinate your solid or bottom top to match and flow off the final stripe color.

If you love a bold, nautical dress, you can wear the look in a flattering way by adding a belt to cinch your waist and enhance your sexy curves.

Here are some ways a fuller-figured woman can wear nautical stripes beautifully:

the nautical striped dress

I love to wear dresses. As you may know, I like lazy beauty. Dresses help me save time, I can wear them many ways and don’t have to think too hard about making them work. I got this nautical stretch dress at Zara for $25! Sometimes I wear it with a denim jacket and wedges, or a red, belted cardigan and pumps to look professional.


Here are some more of my favorite nautical stripe dresses (and pencil skirt). Dress them up with heels, a blazer and some dressier jewelry or wear them on errands with an easy sandal or sneakers and a sun hat.

nautical stripe accessories

Sometimes the only statement you need is the perfect bag. If you want to add a little bit of nautical chic to your look without wearing stripes, add one of these bags to your spring/summer wardrobe:


  1. Getaway of Life bag by ModCloth, $41.99
  2. Paul’s Boutique Molly raffia bag at, $63
  3. Kate Spade Splash Out Francis shoulder bag, $138
  4. Marni rafia pouch, $381
  5. Becksondergaard O-Abelone Halfstripe Bowling Bag at John Lewis, $57
  6. Fiorelli Mia Riviera Bag, $66
  7. Shiraleah Berenice embellished striped clutch at Nordstroms, $58

Remember that nautical stripes are versatile. Whether you layer them with a cardigan, denim shirt or blazer, the nautical stripe elevates your look.

Add color accents to infuse more personality into your look. Navy is like black. It goes with everything! Some great colors to add to nautical stripes include bright yellow, emerald, green and hot pink.

Now that you know how to wear nautical stripes stylishly, which piece are you going to add to your wardrobe?


  1. Emmie V.

    Hi Cynthia,
    I never thought of adding a nautical stripe. I see them every year, but thought they’d be too kitschy. But the look in every single picture is attractive. While I don’t have the figure to pull off your stretchy little dress you model, I will give stripes a try. I especially love the crop top with the white pleated skirt. It would look great with flats, too. Thanks for writing this.

  2. Danya Caro

    I want all the purses! Ibut if I had to pick one, the Shirleah clutch with jeans or a little red dress would be my nautical look for summer.

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