The Everyday Allure Of A Good Pinstripe Outfit Is Coming Back En Vogue

Given the current craze for everything early aughts, it's not exactly surprising that pinstripes are back. Unlike micro minis and low-rise jeans, though, pinstripes are remarkably easy to incorporate in just about any outfit. 

Back in the early 2000s, pinstripe was the print du jour, with stars from Rihanna to Hilary Duff rocking low-rise, pinstripe pants on red carpets (no comment), and businesswomen's suits fashioned from it. However, this print had been in and out of style for decades prior to its Y2K revival. In fact, pinstripe dates all the way back to the late 1800s. And, in light of where its said to have been used first, we're even less surprised about its comeback. Per BT, there are strong arguments for pinstripe being traced back to both the English banking sector and boating. Old money, leisure sport referencesand Y2K nostalgia? Yep — get ready to see pinstripe everywhere.

The truly great thing about pinstripe, though, is that while it's certainly set to be a major trend over the next while, it doesn't need to be overly trendy (read: dated). Au contraire, this low-key print is easily adaptable for uniform dressing, overt aughts references, coastal grandmother aesthetics, everything in between. 

Rock the print like you mean business

The jury might be out on whether pinstripe can be, ahem, pinned on boating or banking, but there's no denying that for the most part, the first thing that comes to mind when seeing the print in darker hues, is business. 

That's great news for those working throughout the warmer months. Heading to a meeting? Pull out those pinstripes! Depending on your workplace's dress code, use the print for your uniform staples, like tailored trousers (we see you, Austeja K. Bovind), or opt for baggy jeans and heels, a la Cherfa Akili, for a fun take. And, at the risk of playing right into the social media jokes that later aughts party fashion was essentially business casual in a club, if your workplace doesn't allow for more out-there looks, business-esque pinstripes really can be worn for a night on the town! Get your creative fix by popping that work blazer over a crop top and mini skirt, Leonie Hanne style. 

Just one note: however you opt to style your business-inspired pinstripes, keep the rest of the look neutral. This print is a subtle one, so to keep it as the focal point, avoid mixing it with other prints and loud colors.

Lighter neutrals work for both business and leisure

Where darker-hued pinstripe is a match made in business fashion heaven, lighter variations are about to give your summer leisure looks an uber-elegant upgrade. 

That pinstripe looks chic for nautical-inspired, elevated leisurewear only makes sense, in light of the possibility that it started out as boater fare. Think pre-wedding Meghan Markle, in her white, pinstriped Altuzarra pinafore dress. Though she wore it for an official Commonwealth engagement, she'd have looked just as chic meandering in a seaside town, or spotted in a picnic setting. Plus, did we mention it was worn in 2018, ahead of the pinstripe renaissance? There's no doubt about it — light pinstripe is a classic, regardless of trend cycles. Brands are well aware of that versatility, too. Just in time for summer 2023, British high street brand (and Kate Middleton's former workplace), Jigsaw released their very own white pinstripe suit, available in both a full suit set and a shorts option. "[A] pinstripe suit is just such a classic. You know you can invest in it, you can wear it as ... an occasion piece, you can wear it as a casual piece. It's something you will always cherish," said Jo Sykes, creative director for the brand. 

TLDR: if you're wanting to try the trend without being dated, and be able to wear the same items for business and leisure, seamlessly, light pinstripe is your new best friend. 

... but more colorful hues work just as well

So, dark pinstripe gives big businesswoman energy, and light pinstripe works for both work and play — but what about everything else on the color spectrum?

Pinstripe comes in every color of the rainbow, and that makes it a fun print to play with. Wanting to add a fun pop of color to an outfit? Red makes for a great way to add some interest, as seen on Sally McKinnon. Or, if you were looking for the perfect outfit to see "Barbie" with your gal pals, try it in pink, like Handan or Louise Reid

And, for those interested in switching it up, color-wise, but not quite keen on committing to pinks, reds, greens, and all the in-betweens, there's also always light blue and white pinstripe — a combination so classic it's essentially a neutral. From shirts, to shorts, to full sets, it's almost impossible to go wrong with the summery color combo. Think Valeria Lipovetsky running errands, or Meghan Markle at Wimbledon. Classic enough to withstand any trend cycle, fun while sophisticated, and oh-so-easy to try at home. 

A shirt is an easy way to get started

One of the greatest things about the pinstripe revival is its accessibility. Sure, dresses and business suits in the print are one way to go all in and make a statement — but a simple, button-down shirt is just as impactful (and likely to be way more budget-friendly, too!). 

For starters, there are the easy fixes. A) Throw one, unbuttoned, over an outfit; B) Button up and tuck into bottoms; and C) Button up, sans said tuck. One shirt, three ways — and that's without getting into the fancier techniques. As seen on Melissa Murgana's Instagram, clever buttoning and tying can completely transform a shirt. Scratch what we said about one shirt working three ways, because there's really no way to quantify this versatility. 

And, while we're talking shirts, there's also the shirt dress route. Same stripes, slightly longer — but just like shirts themselves, there are ways to get creative. Keep it unbuttoned to wear as a kimono, play around with buttons to create a higher or lower split ... pinstripe button-downs are the garments that just keep on giving. 

To keep things versatile, focus on fabrics

So, pinstripe looks great in every color, works in a variety of contexts, and is a classic sure to remain a staple for years to come (and then some!) ... but there is one thing that could affect its versatility. 

When it comes to pinstripe (or any classic piece, for that matter), fabric is everything. In terms of suits, fabrics with a more rigid feel tend to be more on the formal side — making them a great option if business chic is your go-to style. Linen, by contrast, wrinkles quickly, making it less appropriate for your next meeting with a client — though it is the perfect, luxe option for someone with a more laidback lifestyle and in a warmer climate. As for shirts, cotton is generally a great bet, as it can be dressed up or down easily, while staying breathable. 

There's no doubt about it: we're about to see pinstripe everywhere. The great thing is, this is a trend that works on everyone, and everywhere. Make it your own, this summer and beyond, because this trend is timeless, defined.