Are Stripes a Neutral?

Rhetorical question


For as long as you are interested in fashion and the magazines or various other media entities that orbit around it, someone will always try to convince you that something — polka dots or suede or fringe or plaid, I don’t know, little printed whales — is the new neutral. Let it be known from now on that the misinformed evangelists of fashion trend folklore are just that — misinformed. There are, have been and as far as my eye is inclined to travel, always will be only three neutrals.

The first is a solid leopard print — one that both whispers and cries and when set on a good-quality fabric, does its crying and whispering with the kind of poise one is to expect of a First Lady.

The second is denim. Obviously. This will never go out of style for as long as we are Americans who enjoy vegan hot dogs and artisanal mustard.

And finally, the third, which delimits a fairly wide scope, is stripes. These could be horizontal or vertical or fragmented or whatever. They might be French in one instance but conclusively Ukrainian in another. If they were Norwegian last year, they’re Old English this year but the purpose of this post is not at all interested in the provenance of the multifarious forms of stripe — we’re here to manufacture the melting pot that embroils them.

Currently, I’m dressing from the job I want — which is to say, paid unemployment that allows me to stay in bed through the peak hours of a weekday afternoon, guilt-free like a Health Warrior chia bar.

I’m wearing a pair of light blue silk striped “pool pants,” as Amelia likes to call them (I’d recommend de facto pajama pants if you’re looking for a deal), which I really do believe to be a neutral given their color (similar to that of denim) and silhouette. (Legs? What legs?) Up top: a multicolored striped shirt that could have been a decadent bed sheet in a past life that definitely inspired a scene and subsequent hook in the movie Uptown Girls. It’s tied at the stomach so that you can see the skater-style mini dress worn under it and the blazer is kind of just like an umbrella on a rainy morning, you know? It keeps shit in check, dry and more or less happy.

End scene.

I’m just kidding. What are your neutrals? Act them out in short videos (or haikus) in the comments below. PLEEEEEEEASE?

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  • Lola

    I’d like to add that silver jewellery is a total neutral. I try to wear as much of it as possible every day. Only when i choose jewellery on TOP of the silver do i feel like i’m making a ‘decision’. I also feel it gives a good base to the wearing of denim/grey….or let’s be honest anything. Quick Q to finish: is the clinking of the copious amounts of silver jewellery endearing or annoying? I think the former, my library compats think the latter

    • Leandra Medine

      i find it endearing but thats just me, likely

    • Jin

      Endearing. There is a woman in my office who drapes herself in mostly silver jewelry (is she you?) and it always makes me smile to hear her jingling down the hallway.

    • I would say endearing, but the phrase “library compats” actually made me chuckle – they might not dig it. 🙂

  • snakeskin is my leopard print and it’s a neutral.

    • i’ve been dying for some snakeskin ankle boots of the variety that russell brand would wear. he’s pretty much my shoe icon.

      • mango has a pair you might like

      • Lua Jane

        I had an amazing vintage pair made with actual real snake skin. They were exactly the kind Russel would wear, but threw them away after they got badly damaged from too much wear. Now that I think of it, maybe they were still repairable :/


          • Lua Jane

            I live in Southeastern Europe, so not sure if that’s feisible. I do admit trashing them was a very stupid move.

          • Chelsey

            Oh the regret! That’s the worst

      • Bridget Thompson

        Free People x Jeffrey Campbell also has a fabulous pair

  • Beautiful, Leandra. I would say that Ruffles are one of my “neutrals.”

  • Kelsey Moody

    a late morning attempt at a 5-7-5:

    Cool pool pants for spring?
    Slumber party down below,
    PJ pants for all!

  • black, black, and black – that’s
    a weird word when you see it

    one too many times.

  • This is one of my most favorite outfits you have ever put together! Love it!

  • I really really love this outfit! Need me a pair of those silk pants. Don’t the bottoms get dirty from sweeping the NYC streets though?

  • Everytime I click on the slideshow on top I internally shout “WERK IT” & desperately wish someone could hear me.

  • Tiana

    Neutrals are always a favourite here!

  • Ale

    Hi!!! my neutral is the most printed jacket i have, i just wear it with anything, (stripes, plane, dots, dress, w/e) maybe i look insane, but i feel like some kind of power when i wear it <3 🙂

  • gail.

    Sounds weird, but I think bright, saturated colors are my neutral. I feel happier & more myself with color on. I’m often trying to add one more color to an outfit with accessories. I used to worry about doing “too much” & being off-putting, but as I eye my neon blazer for tomorrow’s outfit, I think I’ve gotten over it.

  • Lua Jane

    Like you announced before it’s the closest approximation to pajamas still wearable in public. Those pants resemble my favorite clothing item which is light blue silk pajama pants which I dutifully combine with equally light blue fluffy bath robe for an at home look I love the most. I might just resort to wearing those outside the confines of my home, because, as you said: “I’m dressing from the job I want — which is to say, paid unemployment that allows me to stay in bed through the peak hours of a weekday afternoon, guilt-free like a Health Warrior chia bar.”- that is after all my life goal.

  • Florence

    Getting those Pijama pants out for a walk then!

  • Nooi

    Where is that amazing blazer from?

    • Leandra Medine

      It is by Atea Oceanie!

      • Nooi

        Thank you, I’m in lovelovelove!

  • As Bill Blass said, “When in doubt, wear red.”

  • diane

    I am a sucker for piping. In fact, i have a dream that I will someday have a clothing line called “Piping Haute” that uses this detail on each item of clothing.

    • Chelsey

      That’s so freaking cute! Do it

  • Stephanie Parker

    looking stunning dress is just awesome but you should also try out some fashion jewellery as well

  • Stephanie Parker

    looking awesome the dress is just fabulous i just loved it but you also try some fashion jewellery with it as well

  • Annette

    Crisp white shirt, looks new
    over leggings, black of course
    Elaine Stritch neutral

  • mercy like leopard

    i love leopard
    blazer wanita

  • xanthi.xatz

    maybe all sorts of leather and suede and black.. just black

  • Selina Moses

    I class all prints as neutral as long as they are in neutral colours

  • Chelsey

    Everything from this brand is my neutral. THE COMFIEST basics!

  • Sofia Maame

    Fur and leather!!! It doesn’t get any better!