Men’s striped shirts have been a men’s staple for decades, and with good reason. Timeless, versatile and universally flattering, striped shirts come in a variety of styles and colours, making them a great choice for any gentleman’s wardrobe. Whether you’re going for a formal look or a more smart-casual vibe, there’s a striped shirt out there to suit your style.

In this detailed guide, we’ll take be taking a look at the history of men’s striped shirts, plus give you plenty of tips on how and where to wear them. You’ll also find some answers to a selection of commonly asked questions.

The History of Men’s Striped Shirts

Striped shirts for men have been around for centuries, with the earliest known examples dating back to the 16th century. At the time, striped shirts were typically worn by sailors, fishermen, and other working-class men who needed a garment that was both practical and durable. The stripes were often bold and bright, helping the wearers stand out from the crowd.

In the 19th century, striped shirts made their way into the mainstream. By this time, the stripes had become a symbol of leisure, as wealthy men began wearing them while out on their yachts or simply relaxing at home. Striped shirts were soon adopted by the upper classes, who associated them with wealth and status.

This trend continued into the 20th century, where striped shirts became commonplace among men of all classes. In the 1950s, the striped shirt was adopted by the “greaser” subculture, with young men wearing them as part of their tough, rebellious style.

Today, striped shirts are a staple of men’s fashion, and can be seen everywhere from the office to the beach or bar. With so many different styles available, it’s easy to find a striped shirt that you’ll love.

Types of Striped Shirts

From classic pinstripes to the big and bold, there are many variations of striped shirt to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a men’s formal shirt for a special occasion, or a casual shirt for everyday wear, there’s a striped style that’s perfect for you. Below we’ve listed some of the main types of striped shirts.

Bengal Stripe Shirt

Most often featuring an even 1/4″ alternating stripe, the Bengal stripe is a two-colour vertical pattern. It sits on the bolder end of the stripe spectrum, and is commonly found in white and one other colour. However, other colours can be used. Its roots, as the name would suggest, stem from Bengal. The stripe was worn by the Bengal Lancers, a regiment of the British Indian Army.

Pinstripe Shirt

The pinstripe shirt features stripes that are the width of a pin. This is usually less than 1/16″ wide. The term can be used to describe both shirt and suit fabrics, where the pattern is used most frequently.

Hairline Stripe Shirt

Hairline stripes are similar to pinstripes, but even thinner. They are roughly the width of a human hair. As the stripes are so small, and spaced very close together, a shirt with hairline stripes can actually appear as a solid colour from afar.

Horizontal Striped Shirt

Horizontal striped shirts go across, not down. They’re mostly used on casual shirts, and are a great way to add a bit of visual interest to any look. The stripes can be thin or thick and come in a variety of colours. This type of shirt can often make your upper body look wider.

Vertical Striped Shirt

Vertical stripes are the most common stripe for men’s formals shirt. They offer a more subtle way to add visual interest to an outfit, and can sometimes make you look taller or thinner. The stripes are usually thin and come in a variety of colours.

When to Wear a Striped Shirt

Striped shirts are one of the most versatile pieces of clothing for men. The timeless combinations of stripes and colours can help create a variety of looks that can be worn for any occasion. While the traditional striped shirt was seen as quite casual, they are now available in both formal and casual styles.

Below, we’ll discover when you should (or could) wear a men’s striped shirt and how to choose the right one for the occasion.

Casual Fridays

The casual striped shirt is a staple of the modern office wardrobe, and is perfect for those days when you want to look smart but not too formal. Whether you go with a classic striped shirt Oxford shirt, or a short-sleeved style, you can easily achieve a smart-casual look that still feels professional.

Business Meetings

A formal striped shirt is an excellent choice for a business meeting, as it looks smart while grabbing the attention of your colleagues or clients. Choose a shirt with thin, subtle stripes that won’t overpower the rest of your outfit. You could also try a contrast collar shirt for extra impact.

Cocktail Parties

Striped shirts are a great choice for cocktail parties, as they give you a bit of an edge while still looking stylish. Choose a shirt with a bolder stripe and interesting colours to stand out from the crowd.

Formal Occasions

Striped shirts are a great way to add a bit of personality to a formal outfit, pairing particularly well with your favourite tailored suit. For ultimate versatility, choose a shirt with a subtle stripe and classic colours such as navy and white.

Date Night

For a more casual date night, opt for a striped shirt such as the button-down Oxford. If you want to up the smartness, try a men’s formal shirt in classic colourways such as blue or pink.

On the Beach

Whether you’re on a staycation or flying somewhere tropical, a striped shirt is a great way to show off your style on the beach. For extra coolness, opt for a linen shirt that’s lightweight and will wick away sweat.

How to Choose the Right Striped Shirts

When it comes to choosing the right striped shirt, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, consider the occasion. A subtle stripe works best for a formal event, while a bolder stripe is better suited to casual occasions.

Secondly, think about the colours. Not only do you want to pick one that complements your skin tone, but you’ll also want to choose something versatile and suitable for a variety of outfits. Classic colours such as navy and white are most versatile, and work for almost any occasion. Brighter, more colourful versions will feel more casual and won’t be as easy to style.

Finally (and just as important) consider the fit. A shirt that fits well is essential for any outfit, and a striped shirt is no exception. If you get the fit wrong, you won’t feel comfortable, and your outfit will come across as scruffy. If you’re not sure what to choose, be sure to find out how a shirt should fit.

What to Wear With Striped Shirts

When it comes to styling a striped shirt, there are some key factors to keep in mind. First of all, consider the type of stripes you’re wearing. Different types of stripes can create very different looks, so it’s important to choose the right one. For example, thick stripes can create a bold, eye-catching look, while thin stripes are more subtle and generally smarter.

Once you’ve chosen the right stripes for the occasion, you’ll need to consider the colour. Striped shirts come in a variety of colours, ranging from blue and white to bright, colourful hues. When making a decision, take into consideration what you’ll be wearing your shirt with. You’ll then able to make sure it pairs well with the other items in your outfit.

Can You Wear Stripes With Stripes?

Wearing striped shirts with other striped garments (such as a tailored suit or silk tie) is perfectly acceptable. In fact, it can look great. The key to mixing stripes successfully is to ensure that the stripes on each garment are of a different width. Ideally, you also want them to flow in a different direction to each other. For example, if you choose a hairline striped shirt, make sure your tie has bold or horizontal stripes.

How to Care for a Striped Shirt

Men’s striped shirts are a timeless classic that can easily take you from the office to a night out. They’re incredibly versatile, and will be your go-to choice more often than not. Which is why it’s important to know how to care for yours. Here are some tips on how to care for a men’s striped shirt:

Read the Care Label

Before you do anything else, make sure to read the care label first. The care label will tell you the best way to clean and care for your striped shirt. Pay attention to the instructions, as washing and drying instructions can vary from fabric to fabric.

Wash With Similar Colours

There’s no need to wash your striped shirts separately, but make sure you wash them with similar colours. If your striped shirt has strong colours (such as red or pink), avoid putting it in the washing machine with your favourite white shirt.

Use a Cool Wash

Wash your striped shirt just like you would any other. This means washing them on a cool or warm wash. Hot water can shrink or damage the fabric.

Use Gentle Detergent

Opt for a mild detergent when laundering your shirt. Harsh detergents can damage the fabric, causing it to shrink or fade.

Hang To Dry

When you take your striped shirt out of the washing machine, avoid putting it into the tumble dryer. Hang it up to dry instead. This will help prevent it from shrinking or fading.

Top Tips for Wearing a Striped Shirt

1. Add a classic edge to your look with a striped shirt. Stripes will give your outfits a timeless feel that will always look great, whether you’re dressing up or down.

2. Choose your preferred style. Striped shirts come in a variety of styles. Make sure you pick the one that is best suited to your style and needs.

3. Don’t be afraid to mix patterns. You can wear a striped shirt with other patterns, in particular other stripes. Just make sure that the size and style of the stripes are different.

4. Get creative. Striped shirts come in a variety of styles, including hairline and Bengal. Try them all, and see which ones you like the most.

5. Layer up. Layering isn’t just a great way to keep warm, it can also help you add extra depth and interest to your outfits. Team your striped shirts underneath a wool jumper or suit.

6. Go bold. Add a touch of personality to your look with a bold striped shirt. This is perfect for smart-casual occasions, but can also help you stand out for formal events too.

7. Keep it casual. Try pairing a button-down striped shirt with jeans and trainers for a casual, yet stylish, look.

8. Accessorise. Add a pocket square, tie, or belt to your striped shirt ensemble for an extra dash of character and flair.

Striped Shirts FAQs

Q: What type of stripes are popular for men's shirts?

A: Stripes come in a variety of widths and designs. Popular choices for men's shirts include pinstripes, hairline and Bengal.

Q: What are the best colours for striped shirts?

A: Popular colours for striped shirts are navy, grey and white. However, adding a pop of colour like red or green can add a unique twist to your outfit.

Q: What fabrics are best for striped shirts?

A: Cotton is the most popular choice for striped shirts as it is breathable, comfortable and durable. For summer or the warmer months, linen is also a great option.

Q: Are there any styling tips for striped shirts?

A: Striped shirts are versatile and can be easily dressed up or down. For a casual look, pair a striped shirt with denim or beige chinos and a pair of loafers. For a dressier look, wear one with your favourite suit and leather shoes.