The search for pinstripe pants

For years I was not a fan of pinstripe pants in the office. The 80s/90s incarnation of the stripe was so often too blergh and garish; the cut of pinstripe clothing too boxy or mini for my taste – for the latter I blame Ally McBeal.

Ally Mcbeal pinstripe suit

Calista Flockhart as Ally McBeal, rocking THE suit of the 1990s – a self-stripe boxy blazer teamed with mini skirt. Source

However the moment I start thinking something is so way out, I immediately find that I want to wear it. And so it was when browsing ASOS one night, I thought I’d experiment with the style and picked up a pair of pinstripe pants on sale for $51.

busichic cheryl lin pinstripe pants gift bow belt grey blazer

The clash: I’m enjoying clashing prints against my pinstripes from ASOS. Here’s how I did it while I was still in Finance.

Why pinstripes are business chic

Pinstripes, particularly when the base colour is navy, are a great alternative to black pants. They are more classic and easier to wear than louder graphics or prints. As with all suits, wear it in a contemporary way by splitting up matching jackets and bottoms and personalise your professional look by pairing those bottoms with a different jacket, cape or print – and vice versa!

While I was still in my day job, I learned to have fun with my pinstripes by pairing it with clashing prints and making the look more polished by way of playful belts and structured blazers.

You can imagine how much more fun I’m having with pinstripes now that I’m my own boss!

And so the time has come that I’m ready to invest in a beautiful pair of pinstripes – I’m thinking a relaxed cropped style that is still polished enough for meetings with my corporate clients, relaxed enough for when I work from home and stylish enough for events with the fashion set. I’m hoping for a wool blend as well because I think it’s a quality fabric that provides warmth and comfort.

Designers who pin stripe

Casting my eye to the higher-end of fashion, Stella McCartney, who is the ultimate designer for stylish career women, re-worked pinstripes for her Autumn/Winter 2013 show.

stella mccartney paris fashion week pinstripe

Designer Stella McCartney reworks pinstripes for her Autumn/Winter 2013 show in Paris. Source

More recently, Vivienne Westwood, who is on the cover of the current issue of The Gentlewoman, rocks a pair of pinstripe pants.

vivienne westwood the gentlewoman pinstripe pants

Designer Vivienne Westwood photographed by Alasdair McLellan for The Gentlewoman. I appreciate the rebellious nature of her visible pockets…

My search for pin stripes

How much is reasonable to spend on a pair of pants? I keep wanting to do a survey to see how much we spend on our work attire and how this might changes as we negotiate salary increases and promotions. In the past, the most I’ve spent on a pair of pants was $250 on a pair of Hussein Chalayan wide-leg pants from Cose Ipanema. These pants are amazing – which in my books means that they never need ironing, travel beautifully and always make me feel great.

If price is any indicator, pinstripes are in because the price for them is high.

Remnants of McCartney’s pinstripe collection are available on eBay for around $600. However from what I can tell, her style is quite straight-leg which doesn’t work on my hourglass body-shape. Also, I don’t know about you but I’m not a fan of buying expensive things without the high-end shopping experience or without the ability to try things on, so this option does not appeal to me.

I recently blogged about my appreciation for Lover’s La Femme collection  which appears to feature the perfect pinstripe suit. Alas I’ve had fruitless visits to David Jones and other stockists of Lover the label in Melbourne – none appear to have made selections appropriate for the corporate woman. This makes me sad, it’s one thing for me to be able to point out runway looks for busichics to buy but if stockists won’t stock the items, how are we supposed to buy?! One stockist said if I knew my exact size, she’d be happy to order in the pants – however I don’t know my exact size – that’s the reason why I’m trying to buy them in person! <sigh>

So far the closest style I’ve been able to find for under $500 (!) are these Sportmax pin stripe Maremar trousers at my-wardrobe which retail for $469.58. They’re not even wool. <sigh>

I have found that Country Road do a tailored wool-blend pinstripe trouser for $199 and while I thought that they recently stopped doing full-suits for women, even offer a matching blazer – in the event that you’d like to matchy-match or just do pinstripes on top. That said these styles are a little too “clean-cut” for my bent so I’m holding out, for now.

So continues my search for the perfect relaxed and cropped pair of pinstripe pants. Can anyone help?! Or do you think I should calm down and just get the Country Road pants?

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