The Pin Stripe Suit:

Though closely associated with denizens of the banking and financial world, striped tailoring in fact possesses multiple personalities — and a history spanning sports, politics, commerce and the Wild West. At Hunter Treacy Tailors, we are BIG fans of the Pin Stripe suit and We’re one of the best Made to Measure options in Dublin.

Think of pinstripes and one line of work will instantly spring to mind. (Clue: it rhymes with “ship’s anchor”.) Savile Row legend has it that in the 19th century, British banks dictated that their employees wear distinctly striped trousers, the patterns marking their allegiance to the particular institution they served.

NEW YORK – 1974: Robert De Niro performs a scene in The Godfather Part II directed by Francis Ford Coppola in 1974 in New York, New York. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images)

It’s a nice story, but possibly not entirely true. In any case, over recent years,pin stripes haven’t been nearly as popular as they once were — perhaps because of their predictability. Bankers & Lawyers in pin stripe suits tends to be a bit of cliché in lazy TV dramas or movies whilst in reality, some of our most adventurous clients are bankers and lawyers as they need to wear suits everyday so don’t want to succumb to the same outfit.

Striped Suits are definitely making a come back with more creative roles in arts and antiquities with the stripe adding a certain edge as they aren’t seen as often anymore – some of our artistic clients like to wear them with their tongue pressed firmly in their cheek also.

 

Striped blazers were also often donned at rowing regattas of the day (a tradition that continues). These are almost certainly the wellspring of the summery, resort-friendly, lightweight pinstriped tailoring that was worn on the French Riviera and in Palm Beach, Florida, during the 1920s and ’30s. In this laidback environment, pinstripes were frequently worn as separates.

Pin Stripe Suits & Baseball

In the United States, pinstripes became a craze in baseball during the 1910s, with pinstriped uniforms worn by the Giants, the Cubs, and most famously, adopted in reversed-out navy blue by the New York Yankees. Though legendary baller Babe Ruth joined the team a little after they’d settled on the stripe, many believe this styling’s permanent status was cemented thanks to the fact it made Ruth’s portly frame appear slimmer.

The longstanding association between gangsters and pinstripes started around the same time as sluggers’. Growing rich and, in many cases, fat thanks to the vast profits bootlegging brought in during Prohibition, criminal kingpins took to striped tailoring that not only lent an illusion of diminished girth, but resembled the sartorial style of the legitimate businessmen they sought to emulate. That’s not to say pinstripes were solely favoured by chunky crooks; slim crims such as handsome psychopath Benjamin ‘Bugsy’ Siegel equally enjoyed a few cheeky lines.

HCF8G4 THE KING’S SPEECH, Geoffrey Rush, 2010. ©The Weinstein Company/courtesy Everett Collection

During the Second World War, pinstripes were widely adopted by the political elite — allies President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill among them. The great British wartime leader was famously pictured looking gangster indeed, wearing pinstripes and wielding a Tommy gun in 1940.

In fact, pinstripes’ connection to gunslingers extended way back to America’s frontier days. Most known photographs of Sheriff Pat Garrett, the Old West lawman, show him in upright striped tailoring. Illustrated accounts suggest Garrett wore pinstripes when he gunned down the notorious Billy the Kid in 1881. Two members of The Wild Bunch (including Harry ‘Sundance’ Longabaugh) sport pinstripes in a 1904 portrait of the outlaw gang, who’d go on to be portrayed onscreen in the iconic Paul Newman / Robert Redford film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

It’s safe to say that classic movie’s aesthetic wasn’t far from Ralph Lauren’s mind when he created the RRL line. Stroll into any of that brand’s wonderfully anachronistic boutiques today and you’ll see pinstriped garments coupled with everything from denim cowboy shirts and plaid flannels to Native American motifs and Scottish tweed. Proof positive, pinstripe is far more versatile and multifaceted than you might’ve thought. Take that to the bank.

Made to Measure Pint Stripe Suit

If you’d like to learn more about the massive selection of Pin Stripe Suits that we offer, then by all means pop in to us to view our range of fabrics. We’re by appointment only at the moment so just email info@huntertreacytailors.ie for more information.