Time To Change Your Stripes?
As one of the easiest patterns to pull off there is, it’s hardly surprising that stripes continue to cement their place within the modern gent’s wardrobe year after year.
Yet while the traditional Breton T-shirt is a perennial spring/summer classic that will never fall out of fashion, this season sees both luxury designers and high street giants putting all new slants on stripes. From vivid block-stripe knits to wide-striped tailoring, this timeless motif has been re-imagined for the coming months.
But will these bolder takes increase the pattern’s popularity? Or will a preference for more subtle variants prevail?
On The SS15 Runways
It was Gucci that set the trend in motion, with a heavily nautical collection that paid homage to all ranks of men at sea – from naval officers to swashbuckling pirates.
A striking navy and white vertical stripe dominated – worked across lean blazers, trousers and a roomy band collar shirt – but the pattern made plenty of subtler appearances as well, either in the form of detailing on the sleeves of summer-ready topcoats and blazers or accessories such as neck scarves and the straps of wraparound bags.
However, the collection’s standout piece was undoubtedly an all-over striped suit that managed to steer clear of Michael Keaton in Beetlejuice territory, and come off as solid option for smart-casual occasions:
Kris Van Assche at Dior Homme also took sartorial inspiration from seamen, offering his own distinctly contemporary take on the fisherman’s traditional yellow slicker, as well as the Breton stripe.
Utilising various combinations of navy, white, red and yellow (there was a particularly Gallic red, white and blue combination), Van Assche’s broad Breton stripe was applied to scoop neck vests, which were worn over shirts and underneath suit jackets.
Finer stripes were on show too, coming in either classic navy and white or red and grey, spaced far apart and spanning the breadth of button-down shirts:
Kenzo & Paul Smith
Other designers adopted a similar approach, putting a new spin on the motif via the use of bold hues.
For example, Kenzo opted for graphic, often asymmetric stripes in peppermint, coral and aqua, while at Paul Smith, there were multi-coloured horizontal, vertical and zigzag stripes that took their colour cues from the label’s signature branding:
Keen to take traditional stripes into uncharted territory was Patrick Grant at tailoring label E. Tautz.
For his collection inspired by the great British seaside, Grant co-opted a classic navy and white deckchair stripe and applied it to everything from voluminous outerwear to lean trousers and baggy shorts. These pieces were either cut straight and vertical, or moulded to the curvature of the body – i.e. straight through the torso but slightly slanted on the arms.
But it wasn’t all about pushing boundaries. Grant also incorporated several pinstriped tailored separates that offered an alternative for those not quite ready for bold stripes and oversized fits:
Elsewhere, at J.W.Anderson, the clothing was about as far away from a conservative pinstripe as you can get.
Delivering another collection of his signature androgyny, Anderson served up head-to-toe striped looks in olive, blue and mauve, each made up of blouse-like shirts and trousers, accessorised with a generously sized neck scarf in exactly the same fabric.
By no means easy to pull off, these looks probably aren’t worth emulating directly, but it just goes to prove how integral stripes are to this season’s aesthetic:
Stripes For The Everyday Man
Of course, a pattern as fundamental to men’s style as the stripe is hardly season-specific. But what these runway examples do suggest is that now’s the time to broaden your horizons (and your stripes, too, while you’re at it).
For example, if you usually stick to pinstripes, why not try subbing in block-stripes instead? Or if you’re usually conservative with colour, why not opt for something that makes more of a statement, such as a multi-coloured or pastel stripe?
Team them with neutral warm-weather staples and you won’t go far wrong:
Ideal for those who like to dress smart and refined on a daily basis, striped separates – whether in trousers or jacket form – are guaranteed to give your formal wear collection a summer-ready lift.
An effortless way to separate yourself from the crowd, and a ready-made alternative to popular checked tailoring, we recently highlighted the striped blazer as a key piece that all style-conscious men should consider adding to their wardrobe for SS15.
Team with a linen shirt, slim chinos and a pair of suede loafers for a sharp, Riviera-inspired look that would turn heads for all the right reasons:
The more confident among you could try your hand at head-to-toe stripes. Of course, the easiest way to pull off this look is via a full suit with a strong stripe, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t combine mismatched stripe separates – think a diagonal stripe T-shirt with a pair of vertical striped trousers.
Be warned though, if you’re six foot or taller, all-over vertical block-stripes can quickly tip your look from chic to circus freak:
- Ps Paul Smith Jumper With Multi Stripe
- He By Mango Striped Cotton Sweater
- Gap 1969 Awning Stripe Denim Shirt
- Topman Tmd Boat Stripe Jacket
- Asos Shirt In Long Sleeve With Brushed Block Stripe
- Polo Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt In Custom Fit Stripe Toweling
- Austin Reed Boating Stripe Jacket
- Blue Harbour Notch Lapel 2 Button Striped Jacket With Wool
- Canali Striped Suit
- Reiss Sultan Contrast Textured Jumper
- Reiss Monty Stripe T-shirt Red
- Oliver Spencer Striped Cotton-jersey T-shirt
- Hentsch Man Button-down Collar Striped Cotton Shirt
- Haider Ackermann Striped Cotton Trousers
- Etro Degrade-stripe Shawl-collared Cotton Cardigan
- Maison Kitsune Striped Cotton-jersey T-shirt
- Alexander Wang T By Alexander Wang Contrast-striped Linen And Cotton-blend T-shirt
- Band Of Outsiders Schoolboy Knitted Wool And Cotton-blend Blazer
Chances are most of you reading this will already have a few striped pieces in your wardrobe, so why not take it to the next level by adding some bold motifs to the mix this season?
So long as you bear in mind your basics and anchor with pared-back, muted surrounding pieces, even the most vivid block-stripe can be kept under control.
But what do you think – will you be adding statement stripes to your spring/summer wardrobe this year? Or do you prefer your patterns to be classic and subtle?
Let us know in the comments section below.