As soon as the first cold snap hits, reaching for your all-flannel-everything gear can be an almost unconscious reflex. This is the prime time to rock that flannel chalked stripe suit that you scooped up at the end of last winter. Being such seasonal fabrics, your flannel and worsted wool suits really take most of the year off when its warmer that fifty degrees out, however, you can go full-chalky all year round with a light 120-140 wool suit. The suit featured in this post is the Royal Blue Chalk Stripe by Imparali Custom Tailor. Below are four looks that show the versatility of the non-flannel chalk stripe suit.
Royal Blue Chalk Striped Suit – Imparali Custom Tailors (available online here) || Custom Classic Square-Toe the “Baldy” Shoe – Incedo (available online here) || White Spread Collar Shirt – Hugh & Crye || Leather Zipped Folio (Carrying my MacBook Air) – Zara || Black Knit Tie – Club Room
Before I worked for myself full-time and had to go into the office, every Monday, I would suit up aggressively. It was a sign to the rest of the office that business was going down today and it provided me with a little attitude boost. There’s no suit pattern that’s more commanding that a chalk stripe (or pinstripe) and with the right finishing pieces you can definitely look like a boss [make your boss take notice too]. Opting to add black shoes & knit tie instead of brown gives the overall look a more serious tone and can translate well to evening-wear if need-be.
- Shirt – A crisp white shirt is a fail safe. This holds true especially if pattern mixing scares you. Keeping it simple will give you less to worry about.
- Shoes – A whole cut shoe compliments this suit extremely well because of its minimal design. Less is more. Use your shoes to ground the look.
- Black & Blue – Yes, you can wear black and blue together. The Brits do it very well.
Jacket – H&M || Custom Royal Blue Chalk Stripe Vest & Pants (Part of suit) – Imparali Custom Tailors || Custom Classic Square-Toe the “Baldy” Shoe – Incedo (available online here) || White Spread Collar Shirt – Hugh & Crye || Leather Zipped Folio (Carrying my MacBook Air) – Zara || Black Knit Tie – Club Room
There’s been a rule that I’ve stressed rather frequently over the years in regard to custom suiting. Always opt for the three-piece suit option, if you can afford it. The combination of looks that you can put together with a waist coat are almost endless. Throwing a leather jacket over a waist coat and matching pants takes your look from gastro-pub, hipster mixologist to more of a banker-badass. This is a great example of how a chalk-striped, work wear look that can transition to all types of after work activities. Extra+++ points if you have a motorcycle to accompany this kit.
All Stripe Everything
Custom Royal Blue Chalk Stripe Suit – Imparali Custom Tailors (available online here) || Red Tie – Gap || Vintage Bengal Stripe Shirt – Harrod’s || The “Warner” Custom Design Shoe – Allen Edmonds (my design) || Red Tipped Pocket Square – BoConcepts
Pattern mixing in menswear is a huge trend that has really stuck this year. You can pretty much mix any patterns, within reason. Of course it’s easy to get pattern mixing wrong, but, if you keep these pointers in mind when mixing patterns with stripes [you’ll be just fine, look great, mix well, etc].
PATTERN MIXING WITH STRIPES
- Scale is #1 Factor/element? – the spacing and the size of your stripes need to be proportional to pull this look off. As you can see with the shirt, the bengal stripe spacing is extremely tight (and thin), almost acting like a solid shirt. In comparison to the wool tie that introduces another shade of blue to the look, the stripes are thicker and spaced wider. Lastly, the stripe spacing of the suit is much wider than both the shirt & tie, but, the striping is only slightly thicker than the shirt.
- Avoid suit striping that is extremely thick. Think Beetlejuice or Robin Thicke.
- Don’t be afraid to bring in another pattern. A pindot shirt or tie is a refreshing pattern to mix with stripes.
The Italian Inspired Americano
Custom Chalk Strip Suit – Imparali Custom Clothier (available here online) | Navy Turtleneck – Uniqlo | Brown Wool Hat – Forever 21 ($16)| Denim Shirt – H&M | Brown Suede Loafers – Just A Men Shoe ($185)
Casual pinstriping is a trend that I preached all over the country during my tour with GQ for Simon Lookbook Live this fall. Chalk striping is essentially pinstriping, so the same rules (pretty much) apply to both. Pulling of a casual suited look doesn’t necessarily mean pairing t-shirt & sneakers with the outfit. Layering a sweater is a solid way to get a casual look while remaining tailored. Being suited, doesn’t always call for a tie to be considered “proper suiting”. Remember, it’s ok to “unsuit, your suit” (it’s yours, so who really cares).
Putting together a monochromatic look like this is a subtle way to make the stripes standout and can add some depth to the look. Wearing variations of one color is the best way to executed a monochromatic look like this. Nobody really wants to go full smurf.
EXECUTING THE COLLAR SHIRT UNDER TURTLENECK LOOK
- 1st and foremost – I swaggerjacked this look from all the Italian cats that I see on Tumblr & other sites
- The collar shirt should be slim/tailor fit. You don’t want to add a ton of fabric to the under layer
- A cutaway collar works best because it was sit under your chin when/while flipped up
- Make sure you turtleneck sweater is well tailored especially in the neck. If it’s too loose, your under collar won’t stay up.
If you’re a fan of this suit, you can custom design your own at www.Imparali.com.
Photo: Marina T. Peele @CantWinkLefty
Founder & Creative Director of Men's Style Pro, Sabir has a deep passion for menswear and all things manly. Selected as one of the "5 Best Dressed Men In America" by Esquire Magazine in 2010 & as #GQFall 2013 Best Dressed Man. As of 2014, Sabir serves as a freelance brand ambassador & executive stylist for GQ Magazine & GQ Report. Outside of that partnership, Sabir serves as an independent brand consultant as well. Reach me directly at SABIR@MENSSTYLEPRO.COM