With males sporting fewer ties with their jackets today, shirts carry extra of the burden in creating fashion and curiosity. 

After all, there may be one other method to have a look at it, which is that now we have extra freedom. Instantly these daring patterns that had been too robust for nearly any tie are simpler to put on. 

In all probability the most secure method to do that is with stripes. Checks are exhausting to get proper, and prints more durable nonetheless. However you’ll be able to simply dial up the scale and power of striped shirts, till you discover a vary that works for you. 

The steerage as to which stripes are kind of formal shouldn’t shock anybody by now. The thinner, extra muted, and extra conservative the color of the stripe, the extra formal it’s. Pale-blue bengal stripes are nice for each work and leisure. Grass-green awning stripes (under) are actually just for the latter. 

One factor I’ve present in speaking about shirt patterns in current months, is that not everybody is aware of what the names of the completely different stripes are – or certainly agrees on their nomenclature. There are completely different associations in numerous nations, and typically inconsistent use throughout the trade. 

As a part of the current guides we’ve been doing on shirts, due to this fact (thus far together with collars and cuffs), this text will outline and illustrate the shirt stripes, and hopefully present a helpful reference as a result- much like the one on shirt weaves and designs we wrote final 12 months. 

We’ll begin with the preferred stripe patterns. Those you’re really doubtless to make use of when asking your shirtmaker to point out you one thing; or possibly to explain to a pal on the telephone what you/they’re/ought to be sporting. 

And we’ll typically run from skinny to thick stripes, which as famous, typically means from good to informal. 

Hairline stripe

A design with a really skinny stripe, operating shut collectively, meant to be much like a hair’s width. Often alternating between white and a color, however typically color and color. Extra a texture than a noticeable sample, and greatest considered in that context. 


Acquainted from the world of tailoring, this can be a design with barely thicker strains – extra a pin’s width than a hair’s – but additionally additional aside. We are going to discover, generally, that stripes may be divided into these the place the spacing is uniform, and ones the place it isn’t. The hairline is an instance of the previous, the pinstripe the latter. 

Pencil stripe

A small step up in thickness: often two or three threads within the material moderately than one. And often the identical as a pinstripe, in that the colored stripes and background usually are not even. Personally, I discover that is the thinnest of stripes that may look good by itself. The others are greatest with a tie. 

That is additionally the purpose at which we introduce variations, or maybe sub-groups. For instance a ‘music stripe’ is principally the identical as a pencil stripe (similar thickness, similar spacing) however is present in two colors extra typically. It’s so named as a result of it resembles the staves of music notation. 

And a ticking stripe may be in lots of patterns, however is most often much like a pencil or bengal stripe. It’s outlined by the feel of the stripe, attributable to the material’s weave, which resembles mattress ticking. 

Bengal stripe

Taking one other step up in thickness, we get the bengal stripe. That is outlined by its width, by its even spacing, and by being all the time alternating color and white. Nonetheless, the primary level – the width of the stripes – does typically fluctuate whereas sustaining the opposite two points. Thinner variations may be referred to as superb bengals, and thicker ones double bengals.

One other sub-category is the ladder stripe, which is a bengal stripe in end-on-end material. 

Like many issues in menswear, the origin of the title is British, however stolen from elsewhere. It was a sample worn by the Bengal Lancers, a division of the British Indian Military, and impressed by stripes used on native cloths. It’s most likely probably the most versatile of all shirt stripes – in a pale blue or pink it may be worn with most ties, but additionally has sufficient curiosity to face by itself.

Sweet stripe 

Another step up in dimension takes us to the sweet stripe, which references the daring stripes you may discover going via sweets similar to a rock. The spacing right here remains to be often even, however the stripes are bigger, and the colors typically bolder and brighter. It’s one stripe with various inconsistency in use although, and the stripes usually are not all the time evenly spaced, or certainly daring in color.

More often than not, although, that is the beginning of casual-shirt territory: not essentially to be worn with shorts, however unlikely to sit down nicely with a navy go well with.

Awning stripe

The biggest stripe, and one which has change into well-liked in recent times – most likely particularly due to the dearth of neckwear for it to compete with. The title references awnings used over retailers, and it’s the greatest stripe often discovered on shirtings.

Butcher’s stripe

Now we return to stripes with uneven spacing, simply at a bigger scale. The large title right here is the butcher’s stripe, which is outlined by its colored ingredient being bigger than its white. The title comes from the normal sample used on butchers’ aprons, and that colored ingredient is usually robust and daring. 

It doesn’t need to be, although, and in paler variations the butcher’s stripe may be engaging and versatile. The colored ingredient makes it extra much like a colored shirt, similar to pale blue, typically making it simpler to put on by itself. A variation is the reverse stripe, which is a common time period for any stripe the place the colored ingredient is bigger than the white; the precise dimension of that colored stripe can fluctuate significantly. 

A second group of stripes is much less doubtless for use by shoppers, and maybe extra by these within the trade, who’re extra in want of categorisation. 

Additionally they are usually extra sophisticated or idiosyncratic patterns, and for that cause I might advise readers to deal with them with warning. Such stripes threat being showy, gimmicky, or just wanting old school in a short time.

Observe stripe

Any stripe mixing numerous completely different widths and spacing. Often one or two colors. 

Shadow stripe

A important stripe that’s surrounded by a number of different, thinner stripes, creating the impact of a shadow. 

Halo stripe

Thick and skinny stripes, with the thinner surrounded by a paler color, or white, resembling a halo.

Baiadera stripe

A selected design with various widths of stripe, in a number of colors. 

Self stripe

A stripe the place the sample is created by the construction of the weave, for instance a herringbone. Satin stripes are created by the identical variation within the weave. 

Barre stripe

A reputation for a horizontal stripe within the material, although that is little greater than a descriptive time period, actually. 

Regimental stripe

Any stripe that resembles a striped English regimental tie. 

There are extra names than this, however they both change into very area of interest, or purely descriptions – similar to ‘irregular’ stripe or ‘double’ stripe. We don’t want any assist understanding these. 

And there are extra variations that don’t have names. What do you name a bengal stripe whose white stripe may be very barely thicker than the colored? It has no title, sitting someplace between a pencil stripe and a bengal, but I see it on a regular basis. Similar goes for pencil stripes with very giant white stripes in between. 

In the long run, that is simply language, and language is use. We try to pin down a transferring goal, which is not possible. Nonetheless, if we will simply sluggish it down slightly, that could be useful.