It’s easy to stick to the tried and true. A plain, solid colored suit is practically a no-brainer. You can almost never go wrong with it. As long as it fits impeccably, you’re all set. But where’s the fun in that? Whether you wear a suit every day for work and formal occasions or just once in a while for special events, why not try something with a little more character? A pinstripe suit is a stylish way to stand out from the crowd without looking like you tried too hard.
The Pinstriped Pattern is back
Pinstripes are a type of fabric pattern with very thin lines that run vertically along a garment. The pattern’s sartorial history dates back to 19th century London, where banks used pinstripe trousers to identify their employees. Pinstripes then crossed the pond to the US and became a fabric pattern worn for trousers as well as suits and vests. Since then, pinstripe suits have had quite the life – donned by famous figures including Winston Churchill and infamous mobsters alike. They reemerged as the uniform of choice for the high flying Wall Street bankers of the 80’s, as well as on the big screen’s Wolf of Wall Street.
Wolf of Wall Street - Pinstriped Suit
Try out something new with a Pinstriped Suit
Throughout the years, the pinstripe has been reinterpreted in countless ways and used for many garments aside from suits. Regardless of the precise style, color and fabric, it never fails to evoke a sense of refinement, clout and swagger. It’s definitely a style that you’ll want to incorporate into your own wardrobe. For those more conservatively inclined, pinstripes are a great way to step out of your comfort zone. It’s subtler than other pattern options yet not lacking in sartorial impact.
While pinstripes are evenly spaced, the space between stripes can vary. Closely spaced pinstripes appear more understated than those set wider apart. The choice really just depends on your preference. In terms of colors, pinstripes are usually set against a dark colored fabric of black, navy or dark charcoal grey with a lighter shade, that’s usually white, for the thin stripes themselves. These colors are perfect to use for your work attire – professional looking with just a touch of personal style. If you want to keep the look classic, wear your pinstripe suit with a basic colored tie in matching black, navy or grey.
Chris Pine wearing a pinstriped Suit
Wear your Pinstriped Suit in Business and Casual Style
Your workwear pinstripe suit can be worn just as well outside the office for evening affairs and special occasions. If you’d like to make the outfit a little more special and add some flair, wear a tie and a matching pocket square in an eye-catching color like a forest green, burgundy, or plum. Better yet, try a discreet polka dot print or even horizontal stripes for your tie and pocket square to give a stylish contrast to the pinstripe pattern. Another easy way to elevate your look is by wearing a double-breasted pinstripe suit instead of the usual single breasted style. Now for a more nonchalant vibe, wear your pinstripe suit sans tie and with the top buttons of your shirt undone. This look even works when you have a pinstripe vest on, looking polished with just the right amount of carefree attitude.
If you want to conjure the maximum swagger that comes with donning a pinstripe suit, go for the full look in a three-piece suit, vest and trousers ensemble. Wear a necktie in a matching color tone and consider adding a tie clip for a sharp, polished look. Now don’t go overboard and add too many accessories. Forget wearing a fedora, suspenders, a pocket watch chain or other similar accessories. You want to look smart and slick, not costume-like as if you’re walking straight out of a gangster movie.
Tom Ford in his pinstriped Suit
How to wear a dark Pinstriped Suit
While the dark tones of black, navy and charcoal grey are arguably the perfect backdrop for light pinstripes, fabric colors for your suits are not limited to them. Try a light grey pinstripe suit with a similarly light-colored tie for a less severe day time outfit. You also don’t have to feel restricted to wearing pinstripes from head to toe. Wear a pinstripe suit with a solid colored shirt and plain trousers for a more relaxed look.
David Beckham wearing a dark pintstriped Suit
How to style your Pinstriped Suit differently
If you’re a risk taker and feeling completely fashion forward, take inspiration from the likes of Harry Styles and actor Dan Stevens who’ve both worn dark suits with bright colored and even multi-colored pinstripes. With a bold choice for your suit and trousers, you’ll want to leave the tie behind and wear a plain solid colored button down shirt.
Harry Styles combining a Pinstriped Suit with a black Shirt
Pinstripes aren’t restricted to the professional setting and special occasions. You can also wear pinstripes for more casual moments. Try light colored pinstripe trousers with a shirt or jumper, worn with loafers or even sneakers for a laid back take on the classic style.
It’s hard to go wrong with pinstripes. Its long history has firmly established its tailored and urbane image that only adds to its modern-day appeal, making it perfect for today’s multi-faceted gentlemen.