In terms of business suits and sport coats stripes are one the most accepted patterns. Wearing a pin stripe or a chalk stripe suit, particularly blue, can showcase a very traditional look. But you can also make chalk stripes to be very fresh, restrained and modern.
In this post I take a look at the chalk stripe suit. I have updated the post to cover two different combinations. In the first one the Tagliatore suit is combined with a white DLA oxford shirt, DLA navy blue grenadine tie and the Symposium pocket square. On the second one the suit is paired with a striped shirt and burgundy grenadine tie. Both combinations at best when you wear them for business occasions.
Chalk stripe or pin stripe – what is the difference?
First of all, it is good to know that in terms of suits and jackets there are numerous stripes available. There are for example shadow, pencil, bead and self stripes. Many of these are difficult to categorize precisely. But probably the two most well-known stripes are pin stripe and chalk stripe.
Pin stripe is a pattern of very thin single stripes of any color – usually white – running in parallel. The distance between the stripes usually ranges from 0,25cm up to 2,5cm. And if you look the pin stripe from close distance it gives you the impression of a pinhead spot. Some say that pin stripes are really a series of dots.
In terms of formal business wear white pinstripes on blue background is an undisputed classic. The traditional suit worn in London city by bankers and stockbrokers is still made of this classic.
Then there is the chalk stripe. For this pattern a series of threads is used to create a stripe that resembles one that is drawn with tailor’s chalk. The chalk stripe does not look like little pinhead spots, but much rather like one continuous line. The width of the stripe and gap between the stripes varies. But in general it is in both ways always wider than the pin stripe. Chalk stripes are not as formal as pinstripes. But chalk stripe is still a classic pattern and it has been used especially for traditional double-breasted flannel suits.
Sometimes you may hear someone talking about rope stripes. And what they mean is that the stripe resembles a rope. However, as there is no unique distinguishing mark for that kind of stripe and pattern, you can call it just chalk stripe.
Save stripes for business occasions
It is good to note that there really is no uniform definition for chalk and pin stripes. In addition to the above mentioned names you can hear descriptions such as wide pin stripe, wide chalk stripe, thin pin stripe etc. One thing that is common to chalk stripe and pin stripe is that is they are at their best when you use them for business wear. And especially pinstripe pattern should be used only as a full suit.
In the end, it does not really matter what the name of stripe you are wearing is. If it looks good and you like it, go for it.
Chalk stripe suit by Tagliatore – Italian interpretation of business wear
The suit here is made by Italian Tagliatore. In my opinion the suit reflects the Italian approach to business wear. At the same time it reflects my own feelings about modern, simple and elegant business wear. Therefore the suit is perfect to combine with the DLA accessories. Them both are subtle, yet refined as well as classic, yet relaxed.
The suit is made of soft super 110s wool fabric by Italian Reda. It features a chalk stripe pattern which is as mentioned a classic pattern for business wear.
Despite the pattern this suit is not a “power suit”. It is lightweight, unlined and comes with details such as soft shoulders and patch pockets. In my opinion the suit combines formal and casual business wear in a perfect way. Even though some of the details are casual, the suit is still quite business-oriented.
It is also good to note that answers to the question “can a suit jacket have patch pockets” vary. Strongly. Some say it is totally appropriate whereas others say not ever. If you want to know my more detailed opinion but haven’t yet read the post about patch pockets with business suit, go and check it out.
Blue chalk stripe suit with blue grenadine tie
In terms of dressing up for work a blue suit with a blue tie is my go-to combination. And as I have said multiple times, if you only own one tie, make it a navy blue grenadine. This kind of grenadine tie is a timeless and understated essential of the elegant wardrobe. You can wear it to the office and for any business meeting. And you can wear it even for casual Friday.
The obvious choice for this kind of outfit would be the white tv-fold pocket square. However I wanted something else. Therefore I took the Symposium pocket square and combined it with the attire. And as you can see, it finalize the outfit perfectly. The chalk stripe suit, white shirt and grenadine tie exude more formal approach, together with the little details the pocket square balances the combination.
The burgundy grenadine tie – appropriate option for business occasions
Then another example from this winter. The suit remains the same but the shirt, tie and pocket square are different. And all of these pieces dress down the ensemble a little notch. First of all the striped shirt is less formal than a white one. Secondly the burgundy tie is a little less formal than the blue grenadine. And in my opinion the pocket square with pink and lighter colored details is a bit less formal than the darker one. Still this attire would be perfectly appropriate for most business meetings.
If you are looking for an alternative to blue, burgundy is a great option. I have said it before but in terms of accessories and color choices, burgundy is one of the most undervalued options. Especially for ties burgundy is a versatile choice. In general you can wear it around the year no matter the season. Although it works especially well during fall and winter. Burgundy is also easy to combine with different shades blue, brown, grey and even with black.
And I can promise that the DLA collection will in the future get some burgundy pieces as well, so keep your eyes open.
Original post 8/2016 – updated 3/2018