The pinstripe suit is often thought of as the pinnacle of corporate business attire, however in recent years we have seen more and more designers adopting this pattern into many different mediums for both the fashion conscious and big business circles alike.
To celebrate that, I thought it might be fun to look at the history of the pin-stripe and how it came to represent such wide variety of styles.
“There’s a confidence in fashion right now,” says Steven Willis, a design director for the Dormeuil fabrics company. “Though pinstripes have never been out of fashion, now you can see the colors returning to them. There’s more daring in width and color, more interest in fabrics with a luxurious hand.”
Though nobody seems to know the exact origin of the pin stripe suit, there are several theories:
Hugh Holland, the managing director of Kilgour French Stanbury on London’s Savile Row theorizes that pin stripes came about with the history of uniforms. In the 19th Century, striped trousers were worn in the city with a morning coat, and each bank identified themselves with a different type of stripe.
Another theory is that the pinstripe originated in the 1920s as a flashy, fashionable choice, as inspired by the boating suit of the 1890s. In those days formalwear was often very somber, so sporting gear and casual suits were a way for men to have more fun with their fashion.
One only needs to look at old photos of Fred Astaire or Clark Gable in a fine pin stripe suit to fully appreciate the beauty of the pattern. The possibility of wearing the pin stripe in both formal corporate settings and then out for cocktails at a downtown fashion party truly set the bar for what a versatile article of clothing should be.
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I do not tend to wear hats often, as the shape of my head lends itself to full visibility, however I can appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship that goes into the creation of a hat. Hats are a tricky accessory because hat styles go in and out of fashion so often that it is easy to look outdated and silly, when you are trying to make a proper statement. The best way to avoid this is to be as informed as possible about the hat choices you make, so here is a style guide to men’s hats, to help educate us all.
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One of the trickier questions I am often asked about fashion has to do with mixing formal and casual looks. Oftentimes you may have a favorite formal jacket that fits you perfectly, yet are rarely able to find the occasion to wear it.
Pairing this jacket with a pair of jeans may have never occurred to you, however it is the simplest way to tone down the formality of the jacket, as long as you abide by these simple rules.
Solid jeans only. Any holes, whiskers, or outlandish dyes will contradict too sharply with the sharpness of the coat.
Length and fit are crucial. If you are going to pair a formal jacket with jeans, make sure they fit you impeccably in the crotch and seat, and that the break of the pants is perfect, and not too long.
If at all possible, don’t wear visible socks. Forgoing your socks is the easiest way to make this appear easy and effortless, which is what this is about. If you will be wearing monk-straps, or shoes fashioned of a more structured leather, you can wear short foot-socks that are invisible to the casual onlooker or judgmental fashionista.
Fashion, as a general rule, is supposed to be fun. For me, the most interesting part of fashion is finding traditional styles that have been updated with modern implements.
The brogue shoe originated in the bogs of Scotland, and has since become a classic option for men of discerning tastes. At the outset, brogues were made of black or brown leather, and used for every facet of life. In recent times, they have become the go-to shoe for men in both the boardroom, and on the outer fringes of modern fashion. To celebrate that versatility, here are three ways to take a traditional mens shoe such as the brogue, and have fun with it.
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As any gentleman knows, the secret to a well put together ensemble lies within the adornment of details. A man’s accessories help to create a fuller picture of his personal style, so I always pay special attention to the smaller parts of the whole. Three easy items that I cannot live without are a handsome pair of sunglasses, a pocket square, and a cigar case.
Glasses are a worthy investment because they are often the first thing a person sees when you interact during daylight hours. I prefer a pair of moderately priced shades such as these by Polo, because they are just expensive enough that you appreciate the quality, however not so expensive that you will regret it if you leave them in a cab.
A pocket square, as you may well know, is an easy way to take your jacket just one step further. Pocket squares are probably the simplest detail that you can add at the last moment for the most amount of impact.
Monograms are especially elegant when etched into silver accessories. Though I don’t smoke that often, one of my favorite pieces is my monogrammed silver cigar case. I often bring it to my dinners, as you never know when you may be invited for an after-dinner cigar with colleagues.
There is no worse crime in regards to menswear, than a poorly tailored trouser. It doesn’t matter if you are the head of a corporation, or stepping out on the town at a cocktail event, if your trousers aren’t the proper length, your entire ensemble suffers for it. To remedy that, here are several rules to determine the appropriate break for your pants.
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A quality leather shoe is always a good investment. Quality is of course, subjective and thus it is important to know the difference between a nice looking leather shoe, and one made of quality materials. There are several ways to tell, however, which I have listed below.
Coloration: Quality leather shoes are tanned in such a way that they feature a rich warmth in color. Many times this manifests as a gradient of shades, as with the double strap monks above.
Stitching: The stitches in high quality shoes are a sign of craftsmanship, and thus should appear evenly spaced and perfectly sewn. Aside from durability, the stitches in a pair of well-made shoes have aesthetic value, as well as function.
Soles: With a pair of quality shoes, the leather upper is often stitched to the sole, as opposed to glued. Stitching under the sole of a shoe is considered a sign of proper construction.
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