How To Distinguish Between Pinstripe and Chalk Stripe Fabrics

The striped suit is one of the most recognisable business staples.

Often recognised as a signature of the power dresser, especially in a double breasted format, the striped suit is one of the quickest ways to look like a million bucks.
Stripes come in all shapes and sizes, with different thicknesses and spacings. The different thicknesses have different names, and that's what we're here to discuss today.
Below are the two most common striped suiting fabrics, accompanied by visual examples so you can match the fabric to the correct name.



The most commonly used term, pin stripe is often incorrectly used to refer to chalk stripes as well.
Distinguishing the two patterns is quite easy, and is somewhat in the name.
A pin stripe is easiest to recognise on closer inspection of the fabric, because the pattern making up the stripe is only the width of a pinhead.
Additionally, the line looks somewhat like it was constructed by a needle and thread, or a pinprick, as the line is not continuous in the sense that not every thread in the stripe is coloured the same as the stripe.

Carnet Grey Pinstripe Suit Fabric


Chalk Stripe

The chalk stripe, on the other hand, is characterised as such because it looks like it was drawn onto the fabric with a tailor's chalk.
This kind of stripe is more continuous line on the fabric, with a wider size.
A chalk stripe can still be fairly narrow, but the easiest way to distinguish it from a pinstripe is to check whether the line looks like a line of pinhead marks or whether it looks like a chalk line.

Carnet New York Chalk Stripe Suit Fabric

What does the different spacing mean?

Chalk stripe fabrics tend to have the stripes spaced further apart than pinstripe fabrics.
As such, the chalk stripe pattern tends to be sported more often by people with broader frames. However, this isn't a rule.
The type of stripe you wish to wear is the one that you should wear.

When it comes to making the fabric work for you, it's all about the spacing between the stripes, rather than the type of stripe.
Your tailor will help you choose a pattern that best matches your proportions.

Which one works for me, pinstripe or chalk stripe?

It's up to you, and your stylistic preferences!


Can I wear my striped suit as separates?

Striped fabrics aren't as versatile when it comes to wearing them as separates, but that doesn't mean that it can't be done.
For example, an effortlessly stylish look can be created by wearing a striped jacket with a pair of solid coloured trousers, where the colour of the trousers is matched to the colour of the striped pattern on your jacket.


Feeling a need for a striped suit in your wardrobe? 

Come in and see us! Book now for a complimentary appointment, or we can come to you.


This article adapted from a piece originally posted on

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