Let’s make it clear – this type of wool suit doesn’t generally enjoy that high popularity as, say, a solid one. Why? Several reasons, basically. In my opinion, the first and most important one is … shyness. Just because solid suits are much more widespread, the majority of us feel uncomfortable to stay out of the crowd. Another reason is the diversity of stripe patterns – you can find as the one that can visually make you taller and more slender, as the one that will emphasise your shape flaws. “Why would I risk with stripes if this solid navy blue suit looks perfectly fine?”, or “That striped one was darn good, but… Oh, goody, it feels like I’m not that bold for it yet” – that’s the typical reasoning that we keep repeating in our mind when already standing at the cashier. Sounds familiar? Well, it’s time to break out from that circle!
The truth is, there are actually quite many men who do enjoy wearing a striped suit as it helps them look both chic and self-confident. What’s their secret? Those lucky men simply know some rules on how to select a striped wool, which is certainly not a rocket science at all.
How to select the right stripes for your suit?
The rule number one: mind your body constitution.
- Generally, striped fabrics tend to make your body visually taller than it is, that’s why a narrow or middle-width stripe works best for short and stocky men;
- If you have an excessive weight, go for the wider stripes;
- If you are quite thin, the narrower or thin stripes model could be your best choice.
You might well be unsatisfied with the selection of the stripes on the suits you see in shops, say, in terms of colours or in the way the fabric feels. In such case, the rule of thumb is to buy a striped wool fabric separately and make a bespoke suit. This option can be quite costly, however, those investments in your comfort and style will be certainly paid off very soon.
Where to wear a stripe wool suit
At first, I’d like to remind you a pinstripe suit is not a substitution to your formal solid black, grey or navy suit. So, avoid wearing it on such official events as a wedding or work party and give way to a tux or dark suit instead. Where you can really take most of a striped suit is your office, making official visits and different ways of going out, be it a date, lunch, visiting a theatre, exhibition, etc. However, a stripe suit is not much appropriate for your local bar/pub, where the blokes will definitely find it out-of-place and expect you to wear something more laid back.
What to combine your stripe suit with
It actually depends on where you are going to go. However, keep in mind that regardless of your destination, a universal rule can be applied here: “2 out of 3 ain’t bad”. In other words, it’s ok if two of your garments are patterned, just leave the third one solid: a suit, shirt or tie. This rule doesn’t exclude a theoretical possibility of selecting the proper patterns to all your garments. What is means, however, is that most people can hardly much succeed in the proper match of various patterns, which typically ends up in a rather weird look. Moreover, if you go for checks, try to make it less notable to not distract the eye from the dominating striped pattern.
You should avoid another extremity, however. Sometimes, when afraid of making an odd combination with stripes, men go for such basic and completely old-fashioned ideas, as a striped suit, white shirt and a black tie. In 2018, this selection works perfectly for the 1920’s Italian mafia cosplay, but definitely not for an everyday look.
Here are some style tips for you to take away:
- Elegant look. To create a more sophisticated look, opt for a contrasting collar and turn-down cuffs with cufflinks. All the three elements belong to the high style and combined with a pinstripe suit make a true celebrity fashion look.
- Contemporary look. If you are inspired by an ultramodern style, try using a cut-collar with a wide knot of a tie, which makes quite a bold effect from your suit.
- Exquisite look. To emphasise the high class of your suit, pair it with a tie matching the stripe colour. This colour combination makes an organised and decent look that emphasises your style.
What colour your striped suit should be?
There are basically two types of fabrics – with a contrast and solid pinstripe. For example, the light grey stripes on a dark grey wool make a gradient effect and emphasise the strict restraint of your look.
However, if there are red stripes on a grey fabric, this will imbue your style with more self-confidence and some aggression. Although a contrasting pinstripe sets some limitations on the accessories selection, it will certainly make your look more vivid and remarkable.
A pin stripe or chalk stripe?
A pinstripe is generally the most common one these days. What makes it distinctive, is a very thin single stripe, which width is about 1,4-0.84 mm (1/18-1/30 inch). No wonder it resembles a pinhead. The stripe is made with a single warp yarn, and the distance between the yarns is in a range between 2,54-25,4 mm (1/10-1 inch).
Unlike a pin stripe, chalk stripe is created with several threads making a several times wider stripe compared to that of a pin stripe, and looks like a line made with a tailor’s chalk. Some people also find it similar to a rope and call this pattern a rope stripe.
So, a pin or chalk stripe? It doesn’t really matter, as all you need to make the right choice is just to keep in mind the pieces of advice on selecting a striped fabric I’ve written above, as they are common for all types of striped fabrics.