So when should a man purchase a pinstripe suit?
I generally like the look of a man in a pinstripe suit.
I personally don't own one yet, but I find its properties attractive, but could a man buy one as a second suit?
What occasions and what professions are appropriate for a pinstripe suit?
My quick answer to that is it depends on your profession.
I don't recommend a pinstripe suit to probably a man's fifth suit at the earliest. I know that sounds cool. It's like, “Wow! You've already got to own four suits?” So what are the four in front of it?
I'll talk about that quickly, but I'm also going to explain my logic.
Pinstripe Suit #1: Your Go-To Suits
The great thing with the solid navy, the solid charcoal, the solid medium grey, the solid light grey is that you could wear those almost every day and change out your shirt, change out your tie, change your pocket square, perhaps even sometimes change your shoe style and you're going to find that people are not going to notice.
Those suits don't necessarily draw attention to themselves because they're very simple, they're very classic, and many people aren't going to notice if one day you're wearing a navy, one day you're wearing a charcoal, one day you're wearing a medium grey, so those three.
And why would you want to have black tie?
Technically, it is a suit. And if you're owning that many suits and you're wearing suits every day, then I would say that you're going to have the opportunity to wear a black tie at least once or twice a year, so it should be considered in there.
So already we've got five suits and even if you threw one out the window, that would come in at number five, the pinstripe. And even ahead of that, I may even say a Prince of Wales jacket or I've got some other ones that I would recommend.
Let's just say that you've got those, you've got the four solids, you've got the black tie, and this will be your sixth suit. And then you can go with the pinstripe.
But why do we wait until the sixth?
Because of versatility.
Pinstripe Suit #2: Professions and Pinstripes
Let's say you've got a profession and the professions that usually lean towards pinstripes are going to be in the finance industry. If you work in a larger city, let's say New York or Chicago, then you'll see these more often, but usually it's going to be in the banking, in the finance, people that deal with money – I don't know what the exact association is.
So if you're outside of that field, let's say you're a doctor or you're a plumber and you're looking for your second suit because you're trying to sell to more upscale clients and you're looking to get in the industrial type of contracting, then you don't want to have your pinstripe as your go-to suit because people are going to remember it.
You go to a networking event and it's like, “Hey, there's Mike again, the plumber in the pinstripe suit who I've seen at three different networking events in the last week. Is that the only suit he owns?” No. Go with the solids and once you have those, then look at the pinstripe as a fifth or sixth suit.
Pinstripe Suit #3: What to wear with pinstripes
If you've got the pinstripes, you then want to be careful about stripes in your tie or stripes in your shirt because you don't want to have too many stripes especially with the same distance between the stripes.
Some notable responses from RMRS readers:
“Definitely not limited to the banking sector. Pinstripe suits are a good business choice for anyone, assuming they're on a conservative color like charcoal or navy.
They're slightly less flexible in terms of what shirt/tie you can wear than a sold gray or blue, and it's harder to wear the pieces separately as an odd jacket and trousers. Otherwise they work about the same, although in the most formal and conservative settings they'd be considered slightly less formal than a solid. But for most day-to-day business purposes you should be just as fine in navy or charcoal with pinstripes as you would be without.”
“I'd probably say that buying a pinstripe as a second suit is not a good idea. I'd wait until you at least have plain or very tightly patterned black, grey, and navy suits,” – exactly what I said.
And Mr. Modern Gentleman says:
“The movie that made me want a pinstripe suit, they seem to look great on anyone,” (and he brings up a movie).
I don't know if I'd necessarily agree that you can wear them all the time, but I see how he would like that photo.