7 Ways to Use Black and White Stripes in Your Wedding & the Evolution of the Humble Stripe

On my meanderings through Google, I’ve seen a surprising amount of stripes lately. So it’s hardly surprising that this week’s mood board has a distinctively stripey flavour.

Black & White Stripes

Mood board complete, I decided to delve deeper into the world of the humble stripe and dig up a little bit of vertical and horizontal history. Research unearthed a fascinating book by Michel Pastoreau called The Devil’s Cloth. It covers our hate/love affair with stripes and striped fabric and is packed full of interesting historical facts. For instance, did you know:

  • In the Medieval Western world stripes denoted a low or even criminal social status and were only worn by the condemned, prisoners, clowns, jugglers and prostitutes.
  • In the 1300’s in France, it was an arrestable offence to use stripes in textiles of any kind.
  • Around this time a French cobbler was sentenced to death for wearing striped clothing.
  • The Carmelites (an order of monks) were loathed for their choice of horizontal striping in their habits, which resulted in Pope Alexander IV condemning their order.
  • Even zebras, lions and striped fish were considered to have been created by the Devil – despite most Medieval Europeans only ever having seen drawing of such creatures.
Albert Edward

Albert Edward


It seems hardly surprising that there was a distinct lack of enthusiasm for stripes for hundreds of years.

It may well have stayed that way for hundreds more had Queen Victoria not dressed her four year old son, Albert Edward, in a rather snazzy sailor suit to board The Royal Yacht in 1846.

Stripes were suddenly ‘in’ and became increasingly popular towards the end of the 18th century.




By the beginning of the 20th century stripes had taken a back-seat in the fashion world until Mademoiselle Coco Chanel took a trip to the French Rivera. Inspired by the marina workers and their knit navy and white striped shirts, a whole new nautical collection was born

Fast forward to the 1950’s and movie stars such as Audrey Hepburn and Maralyn Monroe wore stripes with style.

Who can forget Audrey’s breathtaking outfit in the 1964 film My Fair Lady?

Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady

Or Kate Winslet’s stunning ensemble in Titanic.

Kate Winslet Titanic
Yep, the influence of stripes in fashion, film and home styling is still strong, but how do you incorporate stripes into your wedding? Here are 7 ideas to get you started:

Black and white striped tablecloth
Try using bold tablecloths. Not only do they have a high visual impact, but by using stripes on your table coverings you can keep your centrepieces simple. A few vases of flowers and you’re done!

Chair cushions.
Don’t really want to go down the tablecloth route? How about chair cushions for a more subtle approach?

Bouquet in black and white.
A bouquet wrapped in black and whited striped ribbon could help to incorporate you flowers into your theme – and it’s a really cost-effective way of jazzing up even the simplest of bouquets.

Bridesmaids in black and white stripes
Your bridesmaids could literally rock in black and white striped dresses……..

Flower girls in black and white
…………or how about dressing your flower girls in cute, simple stripes?

Black and white napkin
The addition of a striped napkin on you wedding tables could be just the finishing touch to pull your black and white striped theme together.

Black and white drink stirrers
And how about these bow tie stirrers? Highly cost effective and an easy DIY, they’re a great little finishing touch.

There you have it, a brief history of the humble stripe and 7 ways to use black and white stripes in your wedding. You will now have to excuse me, I have stripes before my eyes! :)

All image credits, etc can be found on Polyvore.

Caricature of Michelle Lyndon-Dykes




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