The Pinstripe Suit

blue pin stripe suit cover photo

The Pinstripe Suit

I can’t go a week on Instagram without posting a picture of a beautiful blue pinstripe suit. I don’t know of a better piece of art. The blue/navy colour is usually a nice bold colour, a colour that exudes confidence. The pin stripe up until recent years was only worn in the financial sectors and was pretty much unheard of outside of work. Usually associated to some cocky broker in wall street with a blue pinstripe suit who beats his chest and makes bird sounds (wolf of wall street) – the suit has come a long way from there.

History Of The PinStripe

Clark gable in a Pinstripe Suit

Clark gable in a Pinstripe Suit

Wall street is not where it all begun for the pinstripe suit. If you’re into old films then you’ll probably know the very dapper chap shown above. Clarke Gable was well-known for rocking some very dapper pinstripe suits in the 1940’s. He definitely didn’t start the trend though, it’s even older, the beautiful design actually originates from uniform in the early 1900’s.

Today bankers are proud of the corruption they create around the world and back in 1910 it was no different. Bankers wanted to show who they worked for but didn’t want to ruin their gentlemanly look. Since 99.99% of men wore long overcoats and a hat everywhere they went, tailors came up with a way to show off which firm the bankers worked for by giving each firm its own design in striped trousers. Some had super thin pinstripes while others had thicker chalk stripes on their trousers, spaced out differently. The pinstripe stayed exclusively in the world of finance until a few years ago.

I remember when I was about nine years old, my dad showed me his black pin stripe suit and said to me, you see this suit son, the stripes on it means the suit is expensive. Oh how times have changed now and thankfully dressing well is a lot cheaper than it used to be.

Pin Stripe & Chalk Stripe

blue pin stripe 10

Some may argue and say, there is a massive difference between pinstripe and chalk-stripe, I agree and disagree. The vast majority of fashion Bloggers and Instagrammers actually don’t correctly know the difference between the two and they often describe them based on the width of the stripe. This is actually wrong, pinstripe and chalk-stripe can both be the same width. The real difference is very minor, with a pinstripe, the stripe is dotted downwards while a chalk-stripe is dragged downwards looking a lot like a rope.

However no one follows that nowadays, and the difference has been simplified. As implied by the name, on a pinstripe suit, the stripes are as thin as a pin and on a chalk-stripe suit, the stripes are thick and wide like chalk.

Work & Occasions

Once you pick yourself up a really good pinstripe suit, it can become a bit of a challenge choosing when to wear it. Thankfully there are a few guidelines and basic principles that you can apply to your suit to tell you exactly when to wear it.

Pinstripe Suit On Leonardo DiCaprio seen on location for "The Wolf of Wall Street"

Suit Colour

The colour of your suit is incredibly important when choosing where to wear it. The darker the suit, the more appropriate it is for work, the lighter the suit the more suitable it is for an occasion or to be worn casually. If you consider the suit to be “blue”, I’d say wear it outside of working hours, when you go out to eat with the Mrs or go to an awards ceremony. You will stand out for all the right reasons and trust me, the compliments will roll in. If you consider the suit “Navy” then rock that bad boy to work with a white pocket square and enjoy looking better than your boss. The worlds your oyster in a quality striped suit.

Stripe Width

The style of the stripes that flow down the fabric is equally as important as the shade of blue. There are two types of stripes; the thick stripes and the thin stripes. It’s very self-explanatory but it’s essential to understand. The thicker the stripe, the more casual the suit becomes and likewise the thinner the stripe the more professional the suit will appear.

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET

Remember

Ultimately it’s down to your style how you wear a pinstripe/chalk-stripe suit, there are so many factors that determine whether it’s a casual outfit or a professional working one. Things like, double-breasted blazers, trainers, accessories, tie/no tie, all these things will play the biggest part. By rule of thumb, wear thick striped suits casually or at events and pinstripe suits to work and other formal meetings.

**Two of the pictures belong to @absolutebespoke on Instagram, please follow him and if you know who any of the other pictures belong to leave a comment below and I’ll add a link to their Instagram as well.

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