Cruise Clothing: Nautical Stripes & Sailor Style (Updated)
by Tina Boomerina (Christina Gregoire)
You can never go wrong on a cruise if you are wearing cute nautical stripes or other sailor-inspired clothing. And, almost all women over 40, 50, or 60 look great in these tailored, preppy styles.
Sailor Style for Women
Most nautical clothing is preppy and easy to wear.
However, I need to clarify one point, because not all nautical sailor outfits are designed for preps. Some women (mostly younger women) wear tight, retro-inspired nautical clothing in a Sailor Jerry, pinup girl sort of way... along the lines of, "Hello, Sailor!" ... if you know what I mean.
These rockabilly-ish outfits are usually a bit more punk and tattoo-inspired than what you might want for a cruise. However, if your spirit of adventure encourages you to incorporate some small aspect of this sexy look, I’m not going to stop you.
The red dress (at right) is similar to the type of "sailor" style I'm talking about. Hey, don't get me wrong. This dress is adorable (on someone younger or skinnier than I am). However, most of the time, dresses meant for the tatooed crowd will leave your bazooms spilling out all over, and you might have all the horndogs in your first "port of call" asking you, "How much?"
I just wanted you to know that some sailor styles are a bit different (and tighter) than the usual nautical clothing you're looking for, but if you are younger and can get away with this look, it would be adorable for a cruise.
(This photo shows the kinds of stripes you can wear if you're a little bit older.)
Nautical Sailor Stripes
Can you wear striped tops and dresses even if you aren’t skinny? Well, I think it depends on where the stripes are and how tight the clothing is and how wide the stripes are and a lot of other things. However, if you play with the different styles, you will certainly find some cute outfits that are flattering to your Baby Boomer body.
Personally, I think stripes are cute. However, I have tried on lots of different striped tops and dresses, so I know what kinds of stripes usually look good on me. And, if I can find the right sailor stripes, you can too. I mean, I’m very boho. I’m the least preppy gal you will ever meet, except maybe for Cyndi Lauper. (Well, I never dressed like Ms. Lauper… that name just popped out… I’m actually a bit more like Janis Joplin or Stevie Nicks.) However, it’s difficult to imagine Janis Joplin on a cruise ship. Somehow, the soft hippie look just doesn't look very shipshape at sea. So, I’ve adapted my style for my time at sea.
But, back to stripes. Research has shown that horizontal stripes do not make you look fatter. One recent study says that stripes actually make you look taller. It turns out that the most flattering style has narrow black stripes on a white background, ala Breton style. See Resources for more info.
Stripes Are Flattering When Done Right
Striped fashions are all about balance.
For example, I have very broad shoulders, so I must be careful not to accentuate this area, as it is the widest part of my body, and if I'm not careful, I will look short and squat. Most women do not have this problem, but if you are very busty or top heavy, try my approach. I have found that stripes look best on me if I wear a stripey top under a jacket or cardigan. This draws people's attention to the middle of my body (where the stripes are) and gives me a slimmer look. Anyone can do this.
If you are bottom heavy, you will probably look good in outfits that accentuate your top half and your shoulders. So, you'll want to wear striped tops... It’s all about balance. But, that’s just a cliché. You have to take each outfit on a case-by-case basis. You have to forget your preconceived ideas and learn to SEE yourself in the three-way mirror. Then, you will know the right style when you see it.
Striped Clothing Needs to Fit Properly
As with all clothing, your striped tops and dresses need to fit properly. If your top doesn't hang right, or if you’re always trying to pull something down or up or out or in, the striping will always look off.
This is true with all articles of clothing. And, in general, you should err on the side of wearing something that’s a little too large rather than a little too tight… if only for the sake of being able to breathe… but, also, because the garment will look better on your body.
Now, I’m not saying that you should wear a pup tent or some baggy mess that looks sloppy on you, but I would rather see you in a garment with a little extra room than something that hugs every curve. Besides, we don’t want to see your undies… your husband might, but we don’t. (article continues)
Where Do the Stripes Hit You?
As with all the other stuff you buy online, you can’t know if any top or dress (or whatever) will be flattering unless you put it on your body.
It doesn’t matter what a dress looks like on the model, on your neighbor, on your sister, or on your mother. The only thing that’s important is how the dress looks on your boobies, on your tummy, on your tush, on your shoulders, on your thighs, etc.
We all go through this same experience. I know I do. Sometimes, a striped top will draw attention to my chest, which is okay with me. And, other times, a similar-looking top will just make me look "broad" and top heavy, which I hate.
The difference has something to do with the type of fabric, the exact placement of the stripes, the thickness of the stripes, and the contrast between the colors.
But, if I can’t tell you why two similar tops look so different on me, I certainly can't tell you which stripes are best for you. However, I can give you some hints, so keep reading.
Different Types of Stripes
I want to show you some different striped dresses and give you my best guess about each of them. And, because I'm an artist, I'm very good at seeing what is in front of me. I don't think I need a scientist to explain what I see.
Forget what you’ve been told about stripes and just see what you see.
1. Dress number one would look good on someone who is top-heavy (like me) because the wide, evenly spaced stripes add balance to the bottom half of the body.
2. Dress number two would look great on a bottom-heavy woman because the consistent, almost-loud stripes demand that you look at the top half and ignore the rest of the dress; bringing your focus to the lines that curve around the breasts.
3. Dress number three would be great on a small-chested woman because the Breton stripes on the skirt can’t compete with the dark bodice, so your eyes are drawn upwards.
4. Dress number four has uneven striping and your eye is continually moving up and down the dress, unable to focus on any single area of the body.
I think I could wear dress one and dress three. The others might make my large shoulders look too square. I think pear-shaped women would look good in two, three, and maybe four. Hourglass shapes would probably look good in one or two. And, I think dress number four would look best on women with thick, but less curvy, straight-up-and-down bodies... but it depends on where the different stripes would hit you.
If you can't stand stripes but you really want to look shipshape for your cruise (or your luncheon or your vacation at the shore), you can always wear solid-colored clothing and add one or two nautical-inspired accessories like striped shoes, a striped bag, or a striped scarf.
As you can see, there are tons of different kinds of stripes and different ways to wear stripes. So, if you want to wear sailor striped outfits on a cruise, you can. If you are having a hard time finding stripes that work with your body, and you want a nautical look, there is another alternative to adding stripes with your accessories.
You can wear a top, a jacket, or a dress with edging (or piping), just like the jacket in the main photo. Piping is like a stripe, but it’s a smaller, easier to wear, nautical detail... and of course... a striped hat is always fun when you're on a cruise.
Update From a Boomerina: Jet Metier sent a photo with a note:
Tina, I read your post on nautical dressing yesterday and was so influenced that I put together an outfit this morning that was true to your mariner's theme: stripes, green and white in a top that varied in directions and breath, sailor pants buttoned in parallel, old school Adidas tennis shoes banded in black and white, aquatic socks and bracelet and circle earrings veined in phosphorescent colors. (The closest I am coming to water today is a trip to the carwash later.)
My husband came into the my study and hugged me, " I like how you look with all these vertical details. Now this is a look that is picture-worthy."
Tina, you are responsible for spontaneous affection from my husband. And to me that is the best effect of a fashion tutorial.
(Jet, thank you so much for sending a photo. See Jet's hipster article here.)
More Articles for Baby Boomer Women:
Photo Credits: Prshots.com and Boomerina Jet.
- Main Photo: Fifty Plus 2013.
- Nautical Style Dresses & Sailor Outfit: Eucalyptus 2013.
- Cruise Wear for Women Over 50: M&CoUK 2015, Wallis 2015.
- Narrow Stripes Won't Make Women Look Fat: Land's End 2015, LaRedouteUK 2014, MarksAndSpencerUK 2015.
- Various Colors & Placement of Stripes: MandCoUK 2015, Land's End 2015, Long Tall Sally 2015.
- Stripes That Go Different Directions Can Also be Good: Betty Barclay 2015, Phase Eight 2015, Simply Be 2015.
- Stripes Under Jacket: F & F 2013.
- Striped Dresses: Apricot, Marks and Spencer, Crew Clothing (2) 2013.
- Nautical Striped Accessories: Wallis 2015, DebenhamsUK 2015, Radley 2015, Accessorize 2015.
- Jet Metier Wearing Sassy Nautical Stripes: Jet Metier.
Coleman, Claire and Kay, Karen. Yes, Stripes Do Make You Look Fat dailymail.co.uk
What do you think of this article? Do you ever wear stripes? Leave a comment at the bottom of the page.