Want to look slim? Go for horizontal stripes

It is a study which has finally dispelled the myth about the 'Big Bum' theory - yes, wearing horizontal, rather than vertical stripes, can actually make a woman look slimmer.

Researchers in Britain have carried out the study and found that contrary to popular fashion advice, stripes which run across the body are actually more slimming than supposedly flattering vertical stripes.

Lead researcher Peter Thompson said, "Horizontal stripes don't make you look fat. The one wearing the vertical stripes looks wider than the one wearing horizontal stripes. Horizontal stripes, if anything, make you look thinner.

"We carried out a number of experiments both with squares and oblongs and pictures of women wearing horizontal and vertical stripes (before coming to the conclusion)."

In fact, in their study, the researchers at University of York asked a group of people to compare more than 200 pairs of images of women in a variety of stripy combinations – the horizontal stripes were judged more slimming.

It revealed that when the two women were of the same size, the one wearing the horizontal-striped dress appeared to people to be the thinner of the two by six per cent, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The study was based on the Helmholtz square illusion, created by 19th century scientist Hermann von Helmholtz, who drew two identically sized squares and put vertical stripes on one and horizontal stripes on the other.

That experiment showed the square with the horizontal stripes appeared taller and thinner than the other square, prompting Helmholtz to recommend that ladies should actually wear horizontal stripes to make them look taller.

However, Thompson said that it was not clear why the visual illusion existed although it could be that horizontal stripes made an image more 3D and introducing depth could reduce width.

But he claimed that the popular concept of black being slimming was correct. "Wearing black is a good thing. We know that a black circle on a white background looks smaller than a white circle on a black background."

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