Pinstripe suits aren’t for gangsters and jazz musicians anymore. In fact, a beautifully tailored, understated pinstripe can be the ultimate power suit for either a man or a woman, and the perfect wardrobe choice when you want to walk confidently into an interview.
If you’re debating this move, don’t give it another thought. The dark pinstripe suit done right epitomizes “dress for success,” especially when it’s kept classic.
Colors: Dark Suit, Light Stripe.
Stick with a navy, black or charcoal gray suit that has a light-colored pinstripe. Pinstripes in white, light blue or light gray will show up best on a dark suit. The whiter the white, the more contrast it creates against the darker backdrop and the more emphasis it puts on the actual pinstripe.
Stripe: Think Thin.
It’s called a “pin” stripe for a reason. The wider the stripe, the more playful the style; for a more professional appearance, a thin pinstripe works best. Imagine drawing a line with a ballpoint pen: That is the width of the ideal stripe for this traditional approach.
Cut: Keep It Tidy, But Not Tight.
Pinstripe suits come in trendy shapes, from the zoot suit style with thick shoulder pads and wide-cut leg, to the skinny suit style with tapered leg, long, slim arm and fitted body style. The classic approach is in between these two, with a pleated front, straight-legged pant and form-fitting jacket.
Finishing Touches: Keep Them Simple.
Add a tailor fit, point-collar, white button-down shirt along with a dark dress shoe and you’re suited in the perfect pinstripe apparel.
Accessorizing is equally important. A pinstripe suit will do what it does best, offer an air of power and success, if it’s not competing with too many other elements. Choose one statement piece and keep the other elements classic.
A woman can add a bit of personality to this professionally polished look through a pop of red lipstick, the peek of a pointed-toe fuchsia pump from under the pant, or a chunky ring on the index or middle finger. A man can pep it up with a jewel toned pocket handkerchief or a French cuff dress shirt punctuated with a snazzy pair of cuff links.
An interview environment is not the place to experiment with your fashion sense too much. You’ll want your mental energy for answering questions, not wondering if the tilted fedora is overkill.
References and ResourcesSmugfashion: Traditional and Classy: The Blue Pinstripe Suit
Departures: A Day in the Life of the Pinstripe Suit