The Rise and Fall of Pinstripe Suits
Pinstripes are a sign of sophistication for any suit wearer; a design that allows a man to be distinguished without crossing over to the risky side of patterned suit fashion. Because pinstriping dates back nearly a century, it is both a safe choice and a fashionable one when it comes to men’s fashion.
How Did The Pinstripe Suit Evolve?
The first pinstripe suits allegedly appeared in Britain, either as an evolution of a bank uniform (bank employees wore suits with slightly different pinstripes to show which bank they worked for) or as a crossover from the stripes that were in fashion in the boating world. Once this pattern of suit hit the United States, it became extremely popular. Famous American sports teams also wore the pinstripe on their uniforms to distinguish what team they played for – pictures from the heyday of baseball show the Yankees and the Cubs with them.
Hollywood, World Leaders, Gangsters, and More!
Pinstripe suits were everywhere during the early part of the 20th century, from gangsters such as Al Capone to world leaders like Winston Churchill. Men were no longer confined to a solid colored suit. Hollywood picked up on the trend, and fanned the flames. Clark Gable’s pinstripe suit in Gone With The Wind turned a lot of heads, and men noticed.
The early and mid-20th century became a hot bed of pinstripe suits. Jazz musicians, because capturing an audience is part of their job, naturally leaned toward this flamboyant fashion. They may look tame now, with the leaps that men’s fashion has made, but a few decades ago these stripes were considered quite showy – making them a perfect choice for mobsters, actors, musicians and anyone who wanted to make a bold statement. The zoot suit was all the rage, and yes, it had pinstripes aplenty.
Pinstripes Made Common
If a Hollywood actor could wear pinstripes and get the girl, it was only a matter of time before regular working class suit wearers decided they needed to wear a flashy pinstripe as well. Pinstripes were everywhere – at the bank, at work, at the table next to you during your lunch break. The suit pattern became pretty commonplace, falling in perfectly with the rest of the approved range of work attire. Pinstripes had dropped down to the level of a safe choice, and even one that was not preferable to a plain old suit. They came to signify an unimaginative, beginning dresser.
Luckily, fashion is a circle and now snappy dressers can find pinstripe suits in cuts that look modern yet still harken back to a time when the suits were loud statements of I’m-going-to-make-the-world-my-oyster extravagance in fashion. Pinstripes now are ready to be re-envisioned, in thick and thin, in a modern zoot suit style, and with some more modern color choices – if you’re ready to wear it.
We all know confidence is your best accessory, and the new breed of pinstripe wearers exude confidence. They have come to realize that the design speaks volumes about the adventurous nature of the wearer, and is a pattern worthy of second chance – just find the right cut and size, and you, too, can channel your inner Clark Gable.