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Types of Stripes in Men's Shirting

Posted on 03 August 2022

Stripes are lines that run parallel to one another. Typically, in menswear, you will see vertical stripes on more formal garments such as shirts, jackets, and trousers, whereas horizontal stripes are more commonly used for casual garments like t-shirts and sweaters. Very occasionally you may find a diagonally running stripe - for example on a tie.

Stripes are created by weaving two different yarns often with contrasting colour (most commonly white and one other colour). The white yarn would be considered as the background colour, and the coloured yarn as the stripe. By weaving a colour into the warp you will create a vertical stripe, by weaving a colour into the weft then a horizontal stripe will be formed.
Some stripes are referred to as balanced, and others as unbalanced. A balanced stripe will have an equal proportion of ground to stripe, whereas an unbalanced stripe will have more, or less, ground to stripe ratio.

Bengal Stripe
A balanced stripe (with equal proportions ground to stripe). This pattern originates from Kolkata, India and is only ever used for shirting, never for suits. The ground colour is almost always white, and a bright shade such as red, yellow, or green would be used as the stripe.

Candy Stripe
Another balanced stripe (with equals proportions ground to stripe). The stripes in a candy stripe fabric are slightly wider than those in a Bengal stripe. Named due to its resemblance to a candy cane.

Regency Stripe
Another balanced stripe. These stripes are wider still than Bengal and Candy stripes, sometimes with a width of up to 1 inch. Associated with the Regency period in England. These stripes are commonly seen in a pale blue or pale yellow colour.

Awning Stripe
Awning stripes are wider than all the previous entries and due to their oversized appearance are never used for shirting. These stripes are more commonly used in sportswear (sports jackets etc).

Seersucker Stripe
A fabric made with two different types of yarn - one which puckers easily and one which doesn’t. These yarns are woven alternately so that when the striped fabric is formed it has a puckered appearance. This lightweight, breathable fabric requires minimal maintenance and does not crease easily. Seersucker is a popular choice in the summertime.

Hairline Stripe
As the name suggests, this is an ultra fine stripe (the width of a hair!). The stripe will be of a contrasting colour to the background. Used mostly for shirting and not so often in suits.

An unbalanced stripe (more ground than stripe).  Very fine lines (the width of a pin head!) dissect the ground colour. The stripe will be of contrasting colour to the ground. Typical ground colours include white, navy, sky blue, black. Stripe colours could be white, black, grey. Pinstripes are found in both shirting and suiting fabric.

Pencil Stripe
A very popular choice in mens shirting. Wider than a pinstripe, but narrower than a chalk stripe. Pencil stripe fabric can be found in a variety of colours, including some brighter shades like lavender, plum, pine green, azure blue.

Chalk Stripe
Very similar to Pinstripe, but a little thicker and with more space between each line. Named due to its resemblance to the stripes drawn on fabric by tailors as a guide when cutting or stitching fabric.

Double Stripe
As the name suggests, double striped fabric features two parallel fine lines on a contrasting background. Found in shirting, not in suits.

Shadow Stripe
An optical illusion! Unlike most striped fabric which typically would have a contrasting stripe to the ground colour, in Shadow Striped fabric the stripes are often created from shades of the same colour and are often dark or bold colours. This can be called self-stripe in some cases. 

Rugby Stripe
These stripes are balanced, horizontally running, thick stripes. Due to the horizontal orientation, these stripes would not ever be found on formal garments such as shirts, but can be seen on rugby shirts, polo shirts and t-shirts.

So, now that we've explored the world of stripes, if you're feeling so inclined, you could explore our range of striped shirts! Simply type 'stripe' into the search bar. 

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