Stripes&styles, how to recognize the different types of stripes in men’s shirts


Whether you are a faithful guardian of classicism or an icon of daring modernity, whether you love elegance or the sportiness of an effortless chic look, you will certainly have experienced at least once in your life the Hamletic dilemma, when faced with endless types of men’s striped shirts: how do I recognize them? Which one should I choose? What should I wear with them? 

The myth that the striped shirt can only be worn in informal, casual contexts has been dispelled. This item of clothing is a timeless multitasker for any occasion, from an aperitif to a work meeting in a jacket and tie.   

In fact, it is the colours, characteristics and width of the stripes that determine the shirt’s degree of sophistication, notwithstanding the professional look guaranteed by the simple geometry of the pattern. Vertical, horizontal and oblique, symmetrical, asymmetrical, fancy, Jermyn, bicolour, multicolour, regimental, structured stripes. Behind what we generically call “stripes”, there is in effect an entire world.

Today we will begin to explore it together, beginning with the three variants of bicolour stripes that are most common in menswear and, in particular, in men’s shirts.

1 – Bengal Stripes, for versatile men’s shirts

This bicolour vertical pattern takes its name from the Indian region of Bengal, where the fabric was originally made. The background and the strip are the same width and are usually in white and a second more intense colour.

The stripes are wider than pinstripes but narrower than candy stripes.


2 – Candy Stripes, for causal men’s shirts

Candy stripes are also used a lot for casual men’s shirts as well as sports clothing. They are white and coloured strips of equal width, just like Bengal stripes but wider.  

3 – Regency Stripes, for a style of the past

Regency stripes take us back to the Regency era across the Channel. They are of equal width, white and coloured, and can be up to and even more than an inch wide.

In addition to these three types there are those not used in men’s shirts but well known to fans of fashion, like the sandwich stripe – used for trousers, outerwear and sports jackets –, awning stripes and the unmistakable prison stripes.

How should you orient yourself in this sea of striped shirts?For an elegant effect, the stripes should be wider than a centimetre, preferably in tones of white  or of the sky blue.

But your build will determine the choice: wide stripes are great if you are tall and slim; opt for finer ones if you are slight.

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