When you mean to say “I ain’t playin’,” (aka “I mean business”) that’s a time to wear…Pinstripes


In an early scene (sometime in 1963) of the film Catch Me if You Can (released in 2002 and based on a true story), when Frank Abagnale, Jr. (Leo DiCaprio) was sixteen years old, he and his father, Frank Sr. (Christopher Walken) were standing in front of Chase Manhattan Bank when Sr. asked Jr., “You know why the Yankees always win, Frank?” Jr. replied, “Because they have Mickey Mantle?” To which Sr. said, “No, it’s because the other team’s players can’t stop staring at those damn pinstripes.” Truth be told, the Chicago Cubs’ uniforms have had pinstripes since 1907 and they are recognized as the first Major League Baseball team to incorporate pinstripes into a baseball uniform. Since then, several other teams in baseball and other sports have included pinstripes in their uniforms. Could there be a reason?

Pinstripes (and chalk stripes) have long possessed an aura, a kind of power, which commands attention, respect, and deference. Pinstripes take names and leave no prisoners. Mr. Abagnale could just as well have said, “Those impressive pinstripes” or “those awe-inspiring pinstripes.” Pinstripes also make the wearer look taller and cause the eye to move up and down, drawing one’s attention to the heavens (or at least up toward your face, which is where you want it go.)

So inherently a part of the Wall Street and traditional banking cultures, a pinstripe suit, one that is navy blue in particular, naturally causes one to think about investments. Investing in stocks and bonds can be a good thing. Some people like to invest in real estate or precious metals. But, among a long list of investment options, the one that we all have the most control over and the one most likely to pay recurring dividends is an investment in one’s self: from education to image, both of which are a life-long endeavor, in need of regular updates.

Of course, it’s not only what’s on the outside that one should pay attention to. In the long run, the quality of character and interior substance of the person and his suit are what sustain success. We will talk more about that in weeks to come as we open up the world of quality and excellence that is Oxxford. For now, I invite you to learn about The Anatomy of a Tom James Suit (note: within “How it Works,” go to “Tailoring” to see video.)

While pin and chalk striped cloths are available in a multitude of weights and finishes, a mid-weight flannel version is the hands-down choice for cooler climes and for those who just plain want that extra dash of “cool.” Similar to cashmere, the finish will make the one who takes you by the arm want to hold on that little bit extra. (Bummer.) If you really want to make an impression, add a vest, like the double-breasted number that is part of the featured look at the top of the page. Stop it already. You’re killing me!

To borrow a line from a popular advertising character: The occasion may not always call for a commanding presence, but when it does, wearing a well-proportioned pinstripe, with just the right amount of verve and swerve, will lift you to a place of maximum confidence and self-assurance.

This time I mean business,

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