Whether print or stripe, apparel made with patterned surfaces generally accentuates most styles. Although pattern matching for men’s and women’s suits remains in-trend and fashion forward for trendsetters, pattern play is an art. It is also essential to coordinate the proper suit weight with the proper sweater-vest gauge. Though most vests are lightweight, this accent piece varies in weight. By knowing the pinstripe pattern differences and coordinating pattern matching and complementary colors, wearing sweater vests can complete the suit ensemble.
Coordinating the proper pinstripe with a complementary sweater vest is essential to avoid fashion mishaps. Although most pinstripe patterns may appear the same, the stripe has significant differences. Made of silk or cotton yarn, pin-sized dots are woven into the cloth such as worsted wool. The stripe distance, measured in inches, changes the overall dynamic of the suit. For instance, wide stripes like chalk stripes or 1-inch pinstripes amplify the pattern whereas 1/4-inch pinstripes blend into the pattern. The same applies for subtle pinstripes such as the rope stripe, giving a spiral effect. Pinstripe colors vary and are no longer just available in charcoal gray tones, broadening your sweater-vest color selection.
Although most men and women match the color of the pinstripe to their shirt or blouse color, use the same rule of thumb to match your sweater-vest color. This styling tip adds color to the overall look, accentuating the sweater vest in a relaxed or casual business setting. For corporate business environments, match the sweater-vest color within the same color family of the suit’s ground color. This blends the vest color into the suit’s overall color scheme, creating a monotone color story. For a daring look, attempt pattern matching with the sweater vest. For example, match a wide pinstripe suit pattern with a narrow striped shirt pattern and solid sweater vest in one of the color family tones.
Mixing Pattern and Color
When working with patterns in an ensemble such as a suit, shirt and tie for men; or suit, blouse and scarf for women, wearing one of the three in a solid color breaks up the pattern, making it more pleasing to the eye. The same applies when wearing a sweater vest. Wear a complementary or matching color sweater vest to coordinate with the pinstripe suit. As an alternative, mixing complementary stripe patterns can also act as a garment accent piece to break up the pinstripe pattern.
Since sweaters are made of knitted material, the sweater gauge dictates the thickness of the knit. This is important if you are mixing lightweight suits during a transitional season such as summer into early fall. Select pinstripe suits made within the same weight and fabric. For instance, merino wool suits work well with lightweight sweater vests made of the same knitted wool. When purchasing the sweater vest, the higher the gauge numbers the lighter the knitted textile weight. This is especially important if you are pairing a sweater vest with a tropical weight pinstripe suit made for late spring and summer temperatures.
References and ResourcesBest Stylish: A Man's Guide to the Pinstripe Suit
Beckett & Robb: Pattern Mixing
Modern Gentle Man Magazine: Men's Suit Patterns; Nikola; April 24, 2013
Corporette: Guide to Basic Women's Suiting
Modern Gentleman Magazine: Merino Wool--The Perfect Fabric for Your Suit; Nikola; May 11, 2013