Stripes have been a menswear staple since the dawn of time, but not all stripes are created equal. Rocking a striped look is about choosing the right kind for your body type, matching your outfit accordingly and finding a balance between bold and conservative.
So, to save you from looking less like a fashion-crime committing burglar and more like a stereotypically stylish Frenchman, we’ve got the inside scoop on how to wear stripes, plus an inspiration gallery if you need a little extra encouragement.
How To Wear A Striped Suit
The easiest way to incorporate stripes into suiting is, of course, the pinstripe suit. The pinstripe suit is a corporate wardrobe staple, but these days it’s also making forays into out-of-the-office affairs. It’s no longer business as usual for the pinstripe suit – it’s now a savvy, sartorial look that can be surprisingly modern and adventurous. Here’s how to wear it:
- Go for a solid coloured shirt if you want something simple and chic. Match the colour of the shirt to the colour of the pinstripe to pull the look together. Top it all off with a mild-patterned tie.
- If you want to stand out, go bold with stripes-on-stripes. Yes, you can mix a striped shirt with a striped suit (but don’t go anywhere near a striped tie if you do), provided that you avoid combining stripes of the same width.
- If stripes is too over the top for your tastes but you’re still feeling a little frisky, try a gingham shirt with a solid tie instead.
How To Wear Stripes With Smart Casual
First you have to figure out what the hell smart casual is in the first place. In a nutshell, what you’re looking at are blazers, button-down shirts, tees, chinos, dark denim and tailored shorts. Smart casual footwear can be most anything from Oxfords to Converse, depending on the occasion, just steer clear of anything that looks like it belongs in the gym. There are several ways you can incorporate stripes into a smart casual look:
- When it comes to knits and t-shirts, go for horizontal stripes. The classic Breton stripe is perfect for a look that straddles the line between formal and relaxed. Keep in mind that you’ll want to dress for your body type. Horizontal stripes are best suited to men with tall, slender frames. Shorter and/or heavier bodies will be accentuated in all the wrong ways by horizontal stripes.
- With shirting, thin vertical stripes are the way to go. The wider the stripe, the less stylish it is. A shirt that mixes stripes of various weights and colours is a sophisticated option. Vertical stripes create the illusion of height and make the body look more streamlined or slimmer.
- More dandified men may want to experiment with striped trousers. It’s doable, provided you have the confidence to pull it off and carefully consider the rest of the outfit.
How To Wear Stripes To The Beach
Stripes were practically made for the beach. The nautical associations make them a perfect choice for a day of relaxing by or on the water. At this point, your look is so casual that you’re free to do most anything you want, but there’s still a couple of rules worth following:
- Blue and white stripes work best. It’s a classic look. You can’t go wrong.
- Choose striped shorts or a striped t-shirt, but not both. Just because you’re stretched out on the sand enjoying the sun and surf (or dressed to look like you could be), doesn’t mean you can discard all sense of decorum.