Horizontal stripes play a very limited role in men's clothing. True, they are sometimes found on knit ties, polos, rugby jerseys and prison uniforms but the only other place that comes to mind is a man's dress shirt body, a rare species indeed. Horizontally striped shirts are a style little seen since the 1980's, when Alan Flusser put Michael Douglas in them for the movie Wall Street.
Since horizontally striped shirts (which we will call HSS for brevity going forward) are so rare, the challenge is whether a man can wear them with the proper amount of nonchalance, so they do not call undue attention to themselves and, by association, the wearer. For they are great looking when worn correctly. And here we owe a debt of gratitude to Ed Tutee of Style Forum and The London Lounge whose photo demonstrating the proper way to wear horizontal stripes graces this essay.
To begin with, the HSS is quieter when less of it is visible and that means it is better under jackets with smaller chest openings, such as vested suits or double breasteds. The shirt body itself should continue the low key theme, with narrower stripes in relatively dull colors preferred over brighter and wider versions. A conventionally striped collar like the one in the photo calls less attention to the shirt than a white contrast collar. Finally, solid colored neckties in low intensity colors complete a picture of discretion that is a worthwhile change of pace.
And that is how to wear the HSS. Put one in your wardrobe.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010