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Pinstripe Suit Guide – The What, Why and How Answered!
October 12, 2020
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Posted on Oct 12, 2020 by farnam elyasof
The pinstripe suit has a special place in the wardrobe of men who understand what it has to offer and what its limitations are. If you too know these things then you can make a statement in a pinstripe suit like no other.
So this is what this guide is going to be all about. It will help you rock a pinstripe suit in the best way you can, and bring out your style statement like you may have never been able to do before.
What exactly is a pinstripe suit?
A pinstripe suit is actually simply a suit with pinstripes – or stripes as you may know them as – running through the fabric of the suit. However, it’s a much different type of suit than what you would generally consider “standard” in most cases.
One of the biggest highlighting features of pinstripe suits is that they instantly stand out. If you’re looking to make an impression, there’s nothing better than a pinstripe suit.
In fact, a pinstripe suit allows you to make a powerful, bold statement, and puts you in a unique class of your own. Similarly, it draws attention much better than most other types of suits, and rarely any other type of suit can rival the kind of sophistication it brings to the table.
But these qualities of a pinstripe suit are the very reason you need to choose it carefully. If you go wrong with it a pinstripe suit can lead to giving you a undesirable look.
A little history
Pinstripe suits haven’t exactly enjoyed a very easy history. In fact, there was a time in history when they were typically donned by prisoners and other people you wouldn’t want to associate yourself with.
As times went on, pinstripe suits emerged in a new look, and this time they became the banker’s standard uniform. Pinstripe suits became a kind of introduction of a banker, and it has actually been pretty much that way even till today.
However, what’s changed is that pinstripe suits are no longer reserved only for the bankers, although they still are highly considered to be a professional category of suit and typically not for casual events.
But even that has been changing recently with some more unconventional, relaxed designs being introduced, that can make you do well at professional events without raising eyebrows at more casual, informal events too.
We understand you wouldn’t want to limit your options just to the standard or classic pinstripes though, so Flex Suits offer a wide range of pinstripe suits with a great mix of both classic and modern options.
Who should buy a pinstripe suit?
While nothing’s set in stone regarding what kind of person must or must not buy a pinstripe suit, something that’s followed as a rule of thumb is that it must not be your first suit.
This is because as we said, nothing quite stands out like a pinstripe suit, and for this reason, it’s also hard to forget. If people see you wearing it two to three times in a row, they would easily notice it. You won’t be able to get away with it like how you could with something like a standard black suit.
However, if you don’t wear suits daily, then a pinstripe suit can be considered as your second suit as well. This is especially true if you tend to be a part of events where making a statement could help, or where you need to don a professional feel and appeal while still retaining your personal identity and uniqueness.
That said, if you tend to wear a suit pretty much daily, then a pinstripe suit should ideally only be an option once you have at least 3 to 4 other suits. This would allow you to have enough “rotation” to not let people notice or remember that you’re wearing the pinstripe too often.
Pinstripes – the different types of stripes
As we have explained above, these days pinstripe suits come in many different types and variations. They all have their own unique appeal.
But if you want to seriously rock a pinstripe suit, you will need to educate yourself a bit about the different types of stripes – the lines that are the most important element of a pinstripe suit – and what they all bring to the table for you.
Suits with really thin stripes are one of the most popular types of pinstripe suits. They are indeed very thin, and they mostly make up the more traditional pinstripe suit styles.
However, as the variety of pinstripe suits grew over time, we started seeing a great range of spacing between the stripes. But the thin stripe suits usually still have a spacing of not more than 1 inch.
These pinstripe suits are the most traditional type of pinstripes, great for formal events, and come with a classis look and feel.
However, you may not find a lot of color options with thin stripe suits as there aren’t really that many that go well with these stripes. The dark grey and dark blue, however, are perfect for thin stripe suits.
Thin stripes in themselves can come in different styles as well. There are the thin stripes where there are a lot of dots similar to the top of a pin, and then there are chalk stripes where it feels as if the stripes have been created using a chalk.
Apart from the style, chalk thin stripes differ from the pin-style thin stripes in the spacing as well. The stripes are thicker, while also being at a wider distance from one another.
While these two are the most popular types of stripes, these days you also see some other modern stripes with pinstripe suits. Of course, they all come with their own unique appeal.
With some of the stripes the stripes aren’t as visible as the traditional stripes, but you can still clearly tell they are pinstripes, much different from traditional solid-colored suits.
But if you’re looking to get started with a pinstripe for the first time without getting very experimentative, then the ones we discussed above are the safest options to choose from.
As far as choosing the right width is concerned, then remember that a lot depends on your body characteristics. If you’re shorter, then you need to go with narrower stripes as they would help make you look taller.
Similarly, if you’re a tall man, a pinstripe suit with wider stripes would be a better option, as it would add to your personality. Narrow stripes on a tall man would make them look stretched out in a bad way, so you must take that into consideration as well.
Choosing the right color
Choosing the right color of your pinstripe suit isn’t really difficult. It basically comes down to your natural skin tone.
If you have a darker skin tone, you would want to go with a lighter suit with black or dark stripes. Similarly, if you have a lighter skin tone, then a dark suit with light stripes would likely turn out to be ideal for your body.
While darker pinstripe suits are more common, the lighter ones with black or dark stripes often come in a more modern look and feel.
Now, when it comes to formal suits – and for business purpose in particular – then you pretty much only have navy, grey and black as your options. The black one has to be well-thought-out though, as not all black pinstripe suits would do well for formal wear.
However, for casual wear, you have many options, especially with the much wider range of pinstripe suit variety being introduced recently. Ranging from the color of the suit to the color of the stripes to the spacing between the stripes, there’s a lot of variety to choose from when buying a pinstripe suit for casual wear.
Personally, we think that a blue pinstripe suit – if you know how to wear it right – can be a great choice for casual wear.
Single Breasted or Double Breasted
Well, this is actually more about your style and personality than anything else. However, if you don’t have a very strong personality or the occasion doesn’t justify a double breasted suit, then you should stick to a single breasted pinstripe suit.
Most traditional styles come in single breasted suits, while some of the modern variations come in a double breasted style. However, the occasion and your personality should be the determining factors here.
In addition, a double breasted suit also makes you look taller, so shorter men may also want to take that into consideration as it might benefit them.
Useful Styling Tips with a Pinstripe Suit
You don’t really need to do a lot of things differently when wearing a pinstripe suit. A lot of the styling tips remain the same as when wearing any suit in general, but there are some differences that you should take care of.
We will cover them below.
Don’t try to get too flashy
Let’s get one thing straight. A pinstripe suit is already too loud and usually gets attention pretty naturally. So you don’t really need to “flash it up”.
Avoid using too many patterns and instead try to keep things simple.
Choose the shirt carefully
Some men end up making the mistake of wearing a striped shirt with a pinstripe suit, which often messes up their look.
While a striped shirt isn’t always a bad option, you should at least make sure the spacing of the stripes of your shirt and your suit is clearly different. This will add help them be in some kind of contrast with each other, and not give you a weird look.
Do not try to wear a shirt that looks nothing like your pinstripe suit. Make sure the color of your shirt and the color of the stripes of your pinstripe suit is same for a safe and sound approach.
In addition, your shirt shouldn’t be too dominating, or it will take away the unique appeal of your pinstripe suit. Again, a shirt with light stripes would do well here.
If you’re not sure, simply choosing a plain dress shirt will likely turn out to be your best bet. Sticking to a simple shirt allows you to unleash your creativity with the tie, and if you know what you’re doing you can make it work out really well.
Don’t go overboard with the accessories
A pinstripe suit is quite attention-seeking in itself, so let all your fancy accessories take a day off when you don it. Plain accessories usually work best with pinstripe suits.
Similarly, the less is the better here. If you try to put on too many accessories or fancy accessories, you risk looking like someone desperate to get attention or even just poorly dressed in general!
Keep the occasion in mind
While we have touched upon this above, we think it needs a bit more discussion. Pinstripe suits aren’t the same they used to be back in the day, reserved only for formal wear and business events.
As the variety and versatility of pinstripe suits grew, so did the range of occasions you can wear them to. However, there are still limitations and there are occasions and events where a pinstripe suit may look totally out of place.
While you can easily wear the right type of pinstripes to business casual events and even evening soirees, you definitely wouldn’t want to wear a standard pinstripe suit to something like a black-tie event.
The colors matter quite a bit as well. As we mentioned above, the grey and navy are classic formal options, but your colored stripes can be taken to casual occasions as well. So keep the occasion in mind and choose accordingly.
The color of your shoes!
A pinstripe suit may not be the easiest to style with, especially when you’re wearing it for the first time. So you do have to consider a lot of things, including the color of your shoes.
While there aren’t too many rules here to follow, just avoid colors like light brown. Anything that’s subtle and not tan should do fine.
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