Business Style – The Pinstripe Suit
The pinstripe suit has long been a classic choice for the high-powered businessmen and unquestionably an icon of the city, but has now become a staple of fashionable formal wear for any man intent on dressing to impress in the office.
In ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ Leonardo DiCaprio rejuvenated power dressing as banker Jordan Belfort wearing an iconic pinstripe suit. Although it is making a comeback as a fashionable look the office is still the natural habitat of the pinstripe suit, and the perfect place to make good use of it.
Pinstripe suits come in a variety of designs and styles from the classic bankers’ favourite, the chalk stripe to more subtle narrow contrast stripes and even tonal designs which are often ideal to flatter wide or larger body shapes.
How to Wear a Pinstripe Suit
Balance your pinstripes – When wearing a pinstripe suit it’s essential to coordinate every part of your outfit to create balance. A good rule to keep in mind is that only two out of the three main parts of your outfit should be of the same pattern. So if your suit and your tie are pinstripe, your shirt should be plain.
When wearing multiple pinstripes it’s also best to vary their width to break up the different parts of your look.
Choose the right shirt – A good tip is to match your men's shirt colour to your pinstripe, rather than wearing a contrasting colour. This helps to bring you look together more, and creates a sharp, well-thought out style– always a good impression to make in the office.
As a pinstripe pattern is quite a bold statement in itself, it’s generally best to avoid wearing colourful shirts or it can quickly end up looking garish.
Accessorise – If you really want to go for the full executive look, you can complement your pinstripe suit with cufflinks, a watch, and a pocket square. A double cuff shirt can add an air of formality, and a statement pocket square can add a touch of colour and individuality.
Choose the shoes – As with any suit, there are unwritten rules about what type of suit shoes you wear. It basically comes down to the colour – so dark suits look best with black smart shoes, while blue or light grey suits often work best worn with brown suit shoes. Modern convention suggests that blue suits are now most commonly worn with brown shoes.
A pinstripe suit isn’t exclusively worn by businessmen, you can add a casual twist to this look with a few simple additions. In the BBC’s Doctor Who, the tenth Doctor David Tennant wore a blue pinstripe suit with converse and a brown trench coat to create a very individual look. Whilst wearing Converse or trainers instead of shoes with your pinstripe suit might be suitable for a more fashion-forward occasion we wouldn’t recommend it for the office unless your objective is to raise eyebrows!