Are there specific words to describe horizontal or vertical stripes (esp. in clothes)?

For example, when I go shopping and I want a shirt with vertical stripes, what should I say?

"I am looking for horizontally striped shirts"?!

Also, I've heard Americans refer to their flags as stars and stripes. Does this mean when "stripes" is used, by default it's considered horizontal?

  • 1
    There are no specific words to describe horizontal or vertical strips. The only descriptive stripe word I can think of is pinstripe dictionary.com/browse/pinstripe?s=t Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 9:17
  • No, stripes is not by default assumed to be horizontal. // The only named stripe-like pattern (besides the pinstripe @Chris mentioned) I can think of is a chevron (the upside-down "v"s stacked on top of each other).
    – RichF
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 12:33

1 Answer 1


There are no specific terms for the orientation of stripes. You just have to ask for the orientation that you want (or wish to avoid): vertical, horizontal or diagonal. Sometimes, there is no choice: I have yet to see men's formal shirts with anything other than vertical stripes.

For an example of current usage, see: The Telegraph: Are stripes flattering?

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