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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