The vertical stripe shirt is perhaps the must-have piece in men’s fashion this season. Whether its popularity stems from the revival of preppy summer style or designers’ current obsession with Patrick Bateman-esque pinstripe suits is anyone’s guess. But set aside any thoughts of it being a trend, because the vertical stripe should be a mainstay of any gentleman’s wardrobe, like its timeless cousin the Breton.

Opting for vertical stripes over horizontal offers many benefits, causing the eye to naturally scan up and down and therefore offering a lengthening effect that is ideal for shorter or rounder gentlemen.

How to Wear a Vertical Stripe Shirt

A vertical stripe shirt deserves to be part of your year-round rotation. Thicker deck chair stripes optimise summer while thinner chalk or pinstripe shirts exude professionalism when teamed with a complementary tie. Here, we offer up four go-to ways to wear a vertical stripe shirt, for varying occasions.

Business Casual

Boss Straight-Leg Business Trousers in Virgin Wool, £179 at BOSS >
Turnbull & Asser Striped Shirt, £195 at HARRODS >

If you work in a relaxed office environment, an all-over striped shirt worn with an open collar and plain, flat front trousers offers a contemporary take on business casual. The vertical stripe shirt is showy enough here, so there is no need for embellishments on the trousers or shoes – keep both simple and neutral. Opt for a traditional six-inch rise on the trouser and a iron a crease down the middle to ensure you stay on the right side of professional.

Often, a vertical stripe shirt will be evenly contrasted with horizontal striped barrel cuffs and collar, punctuating the look nicely.

Business Formal

Napoli Grey Plain Suit, £299 at SUITSUPPLY >
Spread Collar Shirt in Blue & White Stripe, £260 at THOM SWEENEY >

A vertical striped shirt is an easy way to bring a touch of interest and subtle flair to a traditional lounge suit. The key word here is “subtle” – swerve anything overly bold or risk looking like a stereotypical Wall Street banker.

A formal blue stripe shirt will look great with most suit colours – my preference would be to team it with a mid-grey two-piece, black Oxford shoes and a solid-colour burgundy tie.

Smart Casual Summer

Folk Camp-Collar Embroidered Striped Cotton Shirt, £120 at MR PORTER >
Standard Chino Shorts, £45 at ARKET >

An open grandad or Cuban collar striped vertical shirt, ideally in linen or lightweight cotton, is ideal for creating smart casual looks in hotter climes, both home and abroad.

Try teaming a breezy short-sleeved version with tailored shorts and loafers for a spot of al fresco dining on holiday, or layering a long-sleeved design underneath an unstructured blazer and chinos for a summer wedding.

Mix & Match

Gitman Vintage Oxford Stripe Shirt, £155 at END CLOTHING >
Mr. P Cotton-Corduroy Blouson Jacket, £375 at MR PORTER >

Stripes can be fun. Gone are those archaic style rules warning against juxtaposing vertical motifs with horizontal, or even double vertical.

A moderate amount of differentiating colour and pattern can draw out your playful side, without slipping into caricature or being overtly ostentatious. Clearly a casual approach to dressing, if you go down this router I suggest keeping the bottom half of your outfit pared-back to anchor the look.

Subtlety is key here. If you’re not confident colour mixing then try teaming a vertical stripe shirt with a neutral cord jacket for a flattering aesthetic where neither piece competes for attention.