Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Style Theory: Pin Chalk Rice

Is the title a little misleading..? Don't worry this has nothing to do with food. Absolutely nothing. Today I am going to talk about three popular stripe patterns found on men's suits. A few internet searches turned up no information on these patterns thus leaving me to my own devices and observations, to inform you. Let's start with Pin stripe, the most popular pattern by far.


This pattern goes back decades and I have vivid memories of my father wearing his own in the mid 80s. Pin stripe comprises very thin, but prominent, stripes running parallel in a cloth. The most prominent is black with white pin stripes, as illustrated above. Initially the Pin stripes were associated with very formal and conservative attire. As men's style and fashion has evolved and progressed the pattern has been relaxed and become less formal and is much more fashionable for the fashion conscious man.

Chalk stripe


Well as the name suggests, the stripes on this pattern resemble the marks left by white chalk. I guess you can get chalk stripe in many other colours just as chalk of a variety is available. The important thing to remember about chalk stripe is that the stripes are less prominent and are feint as chalk lines. The one combination of chalk stripe I always encounter is grey with white chalk stripe. Chalk stripe also seems to contrast well on wool suits as opposed to other materials. Just like Pin stripes the width of the stripes is not an issue as chalk stripe can be the same as pin stripe in terms of the width of the stripes.

Rice stripe


I'm inclined to think that Rice stripe is named so because maybe the stripes almost only come in white, as well as the fact that the stripes are closely grouped together. The width between the stripes is consistent throughout, even with different fabrics. Rice stripes do not enjoy the same liberty in width as Pin or Chalk stripes, but do however, as illustrated above, offer much more in terms of pattern mixing.


PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

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