So you bought a Striped Suit, Now what? Can I wear Stripes and Stripes?

The first question someone asks when buying their first (or tenth) striped suit is, “What shirts and ties can I wear with it?”  Over the course of the last decade the so-called rules have loosened into reality not dogma. If it looks good, then it’s good. What this means is that if you look good in what you are wearing, and are comfortable wearing it, then this is your style and the process of your journey in taste (not just fleeting fashion- not that you can’t pull that off as well.)

Of course, you can wear solid shirts to start especially if they accentuate the color of the stripe in the suit. If you have a beaded stripe in most cases you can blend it to variety of colors. Once we add a tie or shirt with a pattern, what is critical is to think in terms of scale. If the suit stripes are an inch wide any patterns should using be contained within the stripes and how his simple patterned tie enhances the look.

 We will work from busier tasteful combinations to more conservative examples.

Domenico Spano wearing his double breasted striped suit with a horizontal striped shirt and crisp polka dot bow tie with Gigi Francis Cuff Links.

Our next example shows Prince Charles.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales gives a speech during a visit to St Mellitus College on February 12, 2010 in London, England. St Mellitus College is The Church of England?s newest theological training college, founded by the Bishops of London and Chelmsford as a resource for London and Essex. The Prince?s visit was an opportunity for him to meet people connected with the College, as well as members of the community who use St Paul?s, including youth workers and school children and members of other organisations associated with the Church of England within the Diocese of London.

Prince Charles with a double breasted striped suit and verticle blue striped suit. Notice how the scale of the stripes in the suit differs from the suit and once again a simple pattern tie simplifies the look.

Finally the most simple look, classic, crisp, and clean.

Ralph Lauren demonstrates the striped suit in its most conservative fashion, with a white shirt and solid tie.

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Tired of the Same Two Buttons

Everywhere you look you can see the same suit with a different label. The only real thing different besides the label is the fabric and of course quality of construction, but you can buy a suit from almost any clothing store in New York and they end up looking the same. You can spend from $360 to $8,000 with Tom Ford and unless you are slim and look like a runway model you will most likely look like a sausage or braciole. This is not very comfortable for the majority of  men, leaving them running home to shed their suit leaving most distasteful feeling that dressing well is not for them. This should not be the case, the suit should suit (fit) the individual.

In the past most clothing manufacturers as diverse as Oxxford, Hickey Freeman, Giorgio Armani, Brioni, Canali etc. knew their customer base and worked with retail merchants and buyers to provide their own classic fits and trimmer models for fashion (and those who could wear them.) For the past decade after business casual virtually destroyed the creative market in clothing the resulting damage has become one of universal sameness. While at a major New York Store last month I saw a floor of 2 button dark suits discounted at 75% off , no visible or invisible customers , and half a dozen of sales people left working their clients on the phone/emailing them to sell them what, the same suit they have one, two or three of already.

Tom Ford suit $3,000 (+)

or Mark Anthony $360 (-)

I’m by no means knocking Tom Ford but his look isn’t for everyone. Tom looks great in it, but this a limited fit  and I can do without the squeezed sausage feeling. Also the last time I checked there was a great array of fabric available underutilized by most designers.  Seasonal fabrics that comprised a Man’s wardrobe for Nature’s Seasons, Fabric with a purpose. Fits for for a full chest, shoulders, and waist including Double Breasted Suits, Peaked and Notched Lapels, Vests, One Two and Three Buttons for variety, whether they be conservative, flamboyant, dandy or rugged.

Style Icons, Domenico Spano, Michele Savoia, and Albert Goldberg.

Master Tailor Michele Savoia.

Creative force behind Faconnable Albert Goldberg.