In the past, pinstripes were commonly thought to be too informal to wear on a suit for a typical 9-5 kind of job. Seems a little bit strange, doesn’t it? That a pattern of very thin stripes could seemingly make a suit seem less formal? Behold the power of the pinstripe. Today, designers have begun including pinstripes on a wide range of their apparel, and the pinstripe has become accepted in a wide range of both social and professional situations.
Why wear a pinstripe? Simply put, it makes you stand out. In a sea of plain black, gray and navy suits, a pinstripe is a subtle touch that can adds to your overall look without being distracting. Most pinstripes are not even visible from a distance, so you overall still have the polished and professional look of a solid suit. It simply has more interest and panache when viewed from up close.
Because of its subtlety, a pinstripe is now thought to be appropriate for pretty much any occasion where you would wear a suit. And contrary to popular belief, your tie and shirt do not need to just be solid if you are wearing a pinstripe suit. In fact, the stripe pattern of the suit pairs very nicely with other patterns. For a social event such as a wedding, try a gray pinstripe suit, a navy foulard tie, and a white shirt with a light blue wide set stripe. These colors are subtle and appropriate, but the overall appearance is one with a lot of interest. If you want to be even more fashion forward, trade the foulard tie for one with a bold diagonal stripe, and add a pocket square in a bright color. This would be a good look for a formal party, dinner at a nice restaurant, or an art show. Or, bump your look up another notch by wearing a three-piece pinstripe suit and a shirt in a bold pattern, such as gingham, with a black skinny tie. I guarantee you that no one else at the event will be dressed like you, and your outfit will draw many compliments. To avoid the look of “competing” patterns, pair the colors of your shirt with the colors of your tie. For example, if your shirt has a maroon base, your tie should have a maroon base as well. The same goes for blue, green, or any other color. The patterns can differ, but the color base ties them together and allows you to have a unified look.
It’s okay to wear a pinstripe suit to an interview or to a business meeting, too. Just pair it with something a little more subtle. For example, a two-piece navy pinstripe suit, white shirt and blue tie is a nice combination to wear to an add a little bit of contrast with a brown tie. A black suit can also appear a bit less domineering with a subtle pinstripe, making it appropriate in a business setting. A simple gray tie and white shirt is a very sophisticated look, or you can lighten to look of the suit by wearing it with a light blue shirt and a darker blue tie.
If someone notices the pinstripes on your suit, he or she is also likely to notice other small details. Make sure to wear a great pair of cufflinks and stylish shoes to perfect your look.