The Bespoke Tailor In London

History Of The Pinstripe Suit

A Brief History of the Pinstripe Suit

The pinstripe suit came into being around the end of the nineteenth century and has been in fashion pretty much ever since. Originally made famous by stylish Brits, the suit would become increasingly popular throughout the globe as men (and later, women too) wanted to project an image of sophistication and class through their choice of suit.


Some Examples Of Our Pin Stripe Collection....

The Bespoke Tailor has a wide and varied collection of Pin Stripe fabrics available from the vest best mills and merchants.

Varying in weights, fibres and colours, we specialise in British Pin Stripe fabric.

Where Did The Pinstripe Come From?

As with most sartorial origin stories, there is a degree of controversy over how the pinstripe suit came into existence. In fact, the only thing that everyone is able to agree on is that the pinstripe was definitely an English invention. Beyond that, two schools of thought emerge, one that suggests the iconic suit began life in the world of banking, the other that prefers the notion that it actually became popular after its use in popular sporting activities of the day.

Black Chalk Stripe SuitThe banking theory has it that the pinstripe was a kind of uniform for English Victorian bankers and that the difference in the thickness and distances between stripes was a way of identifying employees from different banking institutions. The sporting hypothesis sees the pinstripes as evolving out of the striped uniforms worn by men who liked messing about on water. Boating was an extremely popular pursuit in the 19th century, as was banking, so neither theory is unreasonable.

The Rise of the Pinstripe

The popularity of pinstripe suits grew rapidly once it had spread across the Atlantic, taking American culture by storm in ’20s, ’30s and ’40s. The suit became the unofficial uniform of the Prohibition era, beloved of the ultra-stylish and anyone who wanted to stand out from the crowd and make a bold statement. Naturally then it was popular not only with film stars and jazz musicians, but also with gangsters, the most famous of which of course was Al Capone.

After Prohibition the suit became even more mainstream when huge stars such as Clark Gable and Cary Grant continued to popularise it. It is said that the pinstripe suit that Clark Gable’ wore in Gone with the Wind influenced the emergence of the flamboyant, flared-trousers, padded-shouldered zoot suit.

The Modern Pinstripe

These days the pinstripe is everywhere. It is still a part of mainstream sartorial culture and is one of a myriad of style options available to the modern man, or woman. In fact, the pinstripe has definitely crossed the gender divide and has become a basic component of women’s clothing, particularly in business, where it remains especially popular with both genders.

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Navy Bespoke Jacket

Timeless Suit Style

Timeless Suit Style

Buying a suit is a tough decision for a lot of men. It can be especially difficult if you lack experience and don’t really know what you’re looking for. The amount of choice alone can be totally overwhelming. Here I focus on four timeless styles to make that choice a little more manageable.

Bespoke Plaid Suit* The Plaid Suit

Let’s kick off with the plaid suit, which I admit, is something of an acquired taste. You definitely have to possess a certain amount of confidence to pull off a bold check. If you can do it though, you will always be rewarded with more than your fair share of attention. Match a plaid jacket with a single-colour shirt and a less busy tie. If you like the attention, you can wear plaid suits all year round, dark in the winter, bright in the summer. If attention is not something you’re after, let’s move on to something a little less conspicuous…

Bespoke 2 Piece Grey Suit* The Two-Button Charcoal Suit

This classic dark-but-not-too-dark suit is perfect for mixing with an endless array of shirts and ties. Great with both solid and patterned shirts or solid or patterned ties, but do remember not to pair pattern with pattern. Perfect for just about any occasion and if you’re at all nervous about buying a suit, you cannot go wrong with a dashing charcoal number.

Navy Blue Bespoke Suit* The Navy-Blue Suit

Similar to the charcoal suit but probably a tad more versatile, this is the classic suit for every occasion and all year round. Job interviews, weddings, daily work or dates, the navy-blue suit will never let you down. It can also be worn with just about any shirt and tie and you can even get away with wearing the jacket by itself with a pair of jeans. If you’re in any doubt at all, the navy blue will see you well.

There’s something for everybody when it comes to suit design and it’s just a case of working with a good tailor and being steered in the right sartorial direction.

* The Double-Breasted Suit
In terms of fashion, double-breasted suits truly are timeless and are guaranteed to be never “out”. They’re also ideal no matter what age you are, but it has to be said, they’re particularly suited to tall and slender men. David Bowie always looked fantastic in a double-breasted suit, for example. If you can manage to get one made to measure, all the better. And remember to keep it buttoned up at all times.