Thursday, July 29, 2010

To Stripe or Not To Stripe?

Do you guys have any thoughts on pinstripes?  I ask because today was the third time this week that I've seen a case of pinstripes-gone-horribly-wrong.

To classify as "horribly wrong" in my book, the stripe/wearer must commit at least one of the following offenses:

1) too dark a fabric with too light a pinstripe (think white stripe on black suit);
2) too tight a fit (particularly the bottom half - pants or skirt);
3) too cheap a fabric;
and/or 4) an actual stripe that's too thick.

The fit being too tight I think is the main reason pinstripes look bad on a lot of people.  If you have a curvy bottom half, you shouldn't wear pants that are 1 or 2 sizes too small; but if you do, don't make them striped pants!  When the stripe isn't vertical because it's squeeeezed around your butt, you don't look good.

And, is it just me, or when you see a black suit with a thick white pinstripe (or even a medium width one), do you not think of jail?  Or a referee?  Or if you see a man in said suit (particularly if it has a big double breast with gold decorative buttons), do you not think of the mob?  Because I do!

Isn't there some kind of etiquette rule about pinstriped suits?  Like, a pinstriped suit is the dressiest suit you can own?  Or have I totally made that up?  If that is in fact true, I have to say I see a real lack of them in my suit-everyday workplace.

I personally don't own one.  I wouldn't be opposed, I've just never encountered one that I wanted to buy.  I've seen pinstripes done really well - especially the ones that are visually interesting (think a tan suit with light peach stripe, or a navy suit with dark magenta stripe - beautiful!).  I like the ones, too, where the stripe is actually sewn in with one strand of colored thread (vs. just having the stripe as part of the fabric).  And I've seen men do pinstripes pretty well - especially ones where there's barely a difference in color (so maybe a grey suit with a greyish-white or greyish black line).

But don't you guys agree that there are a lot of pinstripes done really, really poorly out there?  Especially ones made with cheap fabric - it just looks tackier than the same material used to make a plain black pant.  Am I just super plain conservative, or are pinstripes tough to get right?

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