Stripes are arguably the definitive summer motif and – unlike florals – a perennial print trend that all men should be comfortable wearing. Here, we show you five new and easy ways to introduce stripes to your wardrobe this season, from the timeless Breton top to bold statement tees.
The Breton Top/T-Shirt
We couldn’t talk about stripes without mentioning this iconic menswear staple. Originally created as a uniform for the French Navy back in 1858, the Breton top has gone on to cement its place in the pantheon of menswear, proving a suave and sophisticated choice for off-duty days. But we’re not going down the obvious route by telling you to wear it with jeans or chino shorts. Oh no – this season, why not dress yours up with slim-cut white trousers and a pair of suede Derbies? It’s a simple yet sophisticated combination that wouldn’t look out of place in the Cote D’Azur. That said, we all know you can’t trust the British summertime, so if the weather looks changeable, reach for a lightweight unlined mac in complementing navy blue to ward off the inevitable showers.
Image: Aquascutum SS15
Buster Striped Tee, available at Aquascutum, priced £35.
The Statement Stripe Tee
If you want to push your style boundaries beyond the humble Breton top this summer, try throwing a splash of colour into the mix. Pick up a striped T-shirt that combines a bold, seasonally-appropriate shade with a neutral tone (such as coral and white, below) and team it with plain casual shorts to neatly anchor the look. Finish with leather sandals or minimal white trainers for a high summer outfit that makes an effortless statement.
Image: J.Crew 2015
Woolrich John Rich & Bros. Wotee Slub Jersey Stripe T-Shirt, available at John Lewis, priced £24.50.
The Striped Blazer
A subtly striped blazer is a key piece for this season, taking the tailored jacket in a more laid-back direction. Classic blue and white cotton or seersucker versions are not only breathable and comfortable to wear in the heat, but will add a Riviera feel to your look, ensuring an elegant and effortless aesthetic no matter what the occasion. To get this item right, opt for thin stripes (no one wants the dreaded deckchair effect) and combine with navy chinos and a clean white polo shirt for a smart, preppy getup. Throw on your signature shades and some crisp white trainers and you’re set.
Image: J.Crew SS15
Regular Fit Cotton Stripe Blazer, available at Austin Reed, priced £99.90.
Men continue to shy away from printed legwear, and we can see why – there’s always the risk of it looking a little overkill. However, a pair of striped shorts is a great way to introduce this classic summer pattern in an unexpected way, without having to opt for full-on Beetlejuice trousers. A tailored pair of shorts that finishes just above the knee is ideal, helping keep them right side of refined. Team with muted wardrobe staples to create endless outfit combinations for those stiflingly hot days.
Image: Gant Rugger SS15
Gant Rugger Shorts, available at Zalando, priced £56.25.
The Striped Tie
With the warmer weather now here in earnest, it’s time to switch your plain (read: boring) silk tie for something with a little more personality, especially if you want to get noticed at those all-important summer events. A thick striped tie in a vibrant palette will help you achieve a standout look, particularly when set against a simple white dress shirt and dark grey, navy or black tailoring. It’s a low cost way of updating your smarter looks if you’ve got a few big invites on your social calendar this season.
Image: Eidos Napoli SS15
Eidos Knit Stripe Skinny Tie, available at Bloomingdales, priced £38.68.