At some point in life, every man has to wear a suit. Be it at your best friend’s wedding or an important business meeting, the concern is not so much as to the when but to the what. A lot can be said about the basic navy blue or gray suit and how they are a great choice of formal-wear for various occasions. But if you have already got a selection of plain suits in your wardrobe or are looking for something more stylish, perhaps you should consider a pinstripe suit.
It is easy to recognize a pinstripe suit. The pattern illustrates precisely what the name conveys: vertical, thin stripes, usually equidistant, differ this kind of suit from the traditional solid-colored versions. After its first appearances in Europe, many men began to steer away from striped suit models, accusing it of looking like a “banker’s uniform” and seeking either simpler options or those with more interesting cuts, such as the slim suit. Hence, the very idea of a man pinstripe suit was put aside from the fashion world for a while. But it was never fully forgotten.
We have witnessed a lot of resurging trends over this past couple of years and the pinstripe suit is one of them. The essence of the style has remained; what has changed is that this time brands are experimenting with more subtle and informal stripes, so as to allow men to wear pinstripe suits not only at formal occasions such as weddings and parties but also at the workplace.
And since pinstripe suits are back in the game, we have organized a post to discuss everything you need to know about how to pinstripe your look.
What Does a Pinstripe Suit Match With?
If the pinstripe suit is a classic that has been imbibing more modern and laid-back traits, the question is what to match it with in order to create the ideal look for each particular occasion. The rule-of-thumb is to keep the composition as clean and balanced as possible – be it at a work meeting or in a more sophisticated affair, like a wedding.
Although each one of us will choose an outfit according to our personal preference, there are several basic combinations for pinstripe suits that can assist you to foreground the elegance and charm this kind of attire is so capable of rendering, regardless of how old you are. Once you have considered the compositions below, think of what works best with your own features.
- Plain Button-up Shirt: No secrets here. When choosing a plain shirt to go with your striped suit it is important that the tones match, no matter what color they are.
- Striped or Plaid Shirt: In this case, it is worth picking a more modern version of pinstripe suits – those with subtler, chalk-like stripes – so as not to fight the shirt’s pattern. Also, make sure to go for plain ties with this kind of look, otherwise it can turn into a visual mess.
- Tie: As a detail item, the tie has to counterbalance the main elements of the composition – not overwhelm them. Hence, if you want to wear a plain tie, feel free to contrast it with a pinstripe suit and a shirt on the same color as the latter. Should you wish to bring out one of your fancy, patterned ties, opt for a plain shirt and a suit with stripes that are not so defined.
- Pants: When talking about a man pinstripe suit we mean that the entire outfit – pants and vest alike – should follow the pinstriped pattern. Don’t even think of wearing jeans, twill or other different fabrics with your striped suit.
- Shoes: “What about the shoes?” you must be wondering. There isn’t a particular type or color of shoes that belong together with pinstripe style suits. In this case, any black dress shoe is a good, safe option.
When to Wear a Pinstripe Suit
When it comes to formal events that require a specific dress code, there are no downsides or oppositions to wearing a pinstripe suit. Therefore, you can have it as a go-to option for weddings, graduation parties, and meetings as well as in work environments of professions that ask for a bit more elegance and formality when dressing up, like executives and businessmen.
If you are off to a daytime event, opt for a suit with warmer and lighter colors – anything from a light green or even red, all the way through white and gray until beige. At night, on the other hand, your best bet is to stick to darker tones such as that of a black or navy pinstripe suit. A strong brown or other hues of blue work well too.
Since many men choose to wear pinstripe-style suits for weddings, it is worth making sure that you don’t pick an outfit that is too similar to the grooms’. So, if he does decide to wear a pinstripe model, you may be better off going for a basic plain suit on a different color. That is particularly the case if you are the best man!
Final Tips on Striped Suits
By now you must have realized how easy it is to incorporate a black pinstripe suit as a formal alternative to your wardrobe. Beyond the fact that they are trending, such kind of dress automatically brings forth charming, elegant and harmonized features in any look. At any rate, we will leave you with these final tips on how to wear pinstripe suits:
- The vertical stripes of this kind of suit stretch the silhouette, which can be an advantage to those who want to look taller and leaner, but is not very recommended if you are more than 1.90 m tall. In this case, a plaid pattern will leave your look more proportional and well-balanced.
- The pinstripe suit works best with dark background colors (navy blue, black, gray and brown) and light stripes, preferably with little contrast. Those dark background suits and white stripes refer directly to the stereotype of gangsters and film Mafiosi which, I presume, is not what most men are going for. In addition, these highly contrasting patterns tend to create a slightly exaggerated look, so better opt for something discreet and let your own features speak for themselves.
- The pinstripe suit can ultimately be divided into two style categories: the pinstripe and the chalk stripe. The first boasts a thin and well-defined stripe, whereas the second actually looks like it has been scratched by chalk. Although the chalk stripe style can often feel more discreet and organic, there is no right or wrong as to which one to choose. Again, it is a matter of personal taste.