What is a Pinstripe Suit?

Let’s begin with the basics. A lot of us have probably already seen one, but just are not aware that it has a specific name to itself. A pinstripe suit is basically a men’s suit which has a pinstripe pattern. The style of the suit does not matter. This item of clothing derives its name from its pattern and has nothing to do with what style your suit is.  

A pinstripe pattern is when the stripes on a plain background are very thin, some suggest that they can be as thin as 1/30th of an inch (that’s less than 1mm!) However today, any men’s suit with thin stripes as a pattern over them are called men’s pinstripe suits. 

A little history lesson about pinstripe suit for men

The origin of Pinstripe Suits is traced to nineteenth-century England. It is believed that the first time this pattern gained traction was when banks in London made pinstripe pants the uniform for their employees. Each bank had its different colour combination and width of the stripes. But keep in mind, at this time, it’s just pinstripe pants and not the pinstripe suit for men. 

The next stage in the origin story of the men’s pinstripe suits was in the twentieth-century USA. It was when baseball clubs in the country looked up the peculiar pattern and made complete uniforms for their players in this pattern. Here, for the first time, the pinstripe pattern was used for more than just the pants. Later, these were even adopted by American basketball players’ uniforms.

The third and final stage in this small history lesson about men’s pinstripe suits is also placed in the USA. This is when the financial professionals of the country adopted the pattern into full suits, and hence you had the men’s pinstripe suit take birth in the USA. Other than them, gangsters there also seemed to take a liking to the style and the pinstripe suit even began to be associated with womaniser men. 

Pinstripe suits today

As just stated, the pinstripe suit was a style made for men, and it was mostly them who sported these. However, today with more gender fluidity and the general tendency of today’s fashion to be gender-neutral, traditionally pinstripe suits for men now are available for women too.

Even though the suit has only recently been made for women too, the pinstripe print was adopted in women’s clothing long before that. And was even brought into casual clothing.

And as for men, the image of a banker or womaniser has been detached from the pinstripe suit. With fashion changing overtime, and fashion designers and big high street brands adopting the pinstripe pattern in different clothing items and some even in suits specifically, the pinstripe suit for men has gained new traction and a greater acceptance. With more people wearing it, the erstwhile image has been taken away. 

When, where and how to wear a pinstripe suit?

Quite eye-catching and different from what you would usually see in a formal setting, a pinstripe suit will make you stand out from the crowd. It’s perfect for a day when you are super prepared and confident about a presentation you have to give at your office and would like your boss to remember you!

You can even put on a pinstripe suit on any celebratory event. As just mentioned, it makes you stand out from the regular plain and unpatterned suit. 

The only thing you will need to work on is what style your suit will be, and what colour and width your pinstripes will be? Our guide for men’s suits can help you with what to look for in a suit and what styles you can choose from. And as for what colour the pinstripes should be, we’ll answer that question here.

For formal purposes, we would recommend the classic pinstripe suit for men which is a dark base colour, with grey or any pastel colour pinstripes on them. Thin stripes work the best for formal purposes. They make your suit different from everyone else, but at the same time, do not look gaudy or inappropriate for an office worker. This classic colour combination and thin pinstripes on your suit will make you look sleek and professional.

For celebratory events, we recommend that you can either stick to more classic fits or can even go all out with the colour scheme and pinstripe widths. At such events where you are more likely to want to stand out and don’t have to conform to a dress code and style like at your office or professional sphere, choose whatever you like.

We suggest finding something that reflects your personal taste and shouts out your personality to the world. No one should tell you what you should or shouldn’t wear. 

But at the same time, take suggestions from a friend or family member you trust has a good fashion sense, or even a professional at your suit shop to see what looks good on you. We all are biased towards ourselves and think that we can carry any design and colour. Taking an external opinion always helps to allow you to choose without that narcissistic bias; something that you like and what the other people might also agree on looks good.

Should you get a pinstripe suit?

Sure, why not? The pattern is quite refreshing compared to the old and conventional plain suit. It makes you stand out, though the degree of you standing out depends on how wide your pinstripes are and what is the colour combination on your suit. You can choose from a variety of options available in the market and buy the ones that suit the occasions and events you are planning to wear them at. 

Also, with high street shops and big suiting brands selling this pattern, the pinstripe suit has only gained new fans and a wider acceptance. Here are some big brands which make very good pinstripe suits. Have a look at them and style yourself differently for the next occasion.