Equal parts formal and fashionable, the striped shirt is a wardrobe must-have. With patterns from pencil and candy to butch and Bengal, here are the best…
We wear white shirts. We wear blue shirts. But how many of us regularly combine the two? The blue and white striped shirt is a classic office-ready option; equal parts formal and fashionable. Button up such a shirt and you’ll soon discover that the vertical pattern pairs perfectly with suiting and ties — but can also be dressed down and worn casually after-hours.
And shirting stripes, though they may look fairly simple, come in many different designs and widths. You can begin thin, with hairline, Bengal or pinstripes — before beefing up your lines with pencil, awning or candy stripe patterns. Each is associated with a different occasion or social group — from preppy Ivy Leaguers to Wall Street bankers — and each says something different about your style and personality.
But, whatever you want your stripes to say about you, you’ll find something to suit your style below. Take a look…
Try buttoning up a bold stripe
Even the name of the thickest stripe, the ‘butcher stripe’, sounds bold and bombastic. But, while it’s certainly a style statement, we’d suggest sticking to its softer-sounding little brother, the ‘candy stripe’. Still reasonably big, and worn by Bonds from Moore to Connery, it’s a proven wardrobe staple — and offers just the right amount of flair.
There are few shirtmakers more reliable when it comes to stripes than Turnbull & Asser. Case in point; this blue candy stripe shirt. Elegantly finished with a Regent cutaway collar and double cuffs, it’s one of the smartest ways to wear stripes. For a more practical option, the brand also offer a button cuff, regular fit version. New & Lingwood, too, an outfitters renowned for its exuberance, have a bold option — albeit one created with a soft collar to ensure continued comfort throughout your working day.
Or opt for a subtler take on the style
Of course, not everyone is comfortable with thick, bold patterns. But there’s a stripe for you, too. Despite the British and Americans waging an ongoing war over the exact width of the Bengal stripe, this dressier, thinner pattern is perfect for officewear — and often can’t even be identified as a stripe until you’re up close.
Emma Willis is the gold standard here, with hand-cut and finished luxury Swiss cotton offerings. Our picks would be a fine navy Bengal stripe or an even lighter take on the style — in sky blue. But New & Lingwood have also proved themselves adept at the subtler stripe, with this slightly washed-out shirt that promises to work just as well in the office as it would untucked and off-duty at the weekend.