When you think about pinstripes, you think about classic sports teams. Team colorways and designs have come and passed over the years, but the pinstripes have always remained intact. What is it about the pinstripes that grab the attention of so many? For over a century, baseball teams have utilized the design on their jerseys. If you are unfamiliar with what a pinstripe looks like, it is typically a white coloring with a different shade of lines going over it in a vertical position (although it doesn’t have to be white). The pinstripe will forever be an all-time great pattern that probably will never leave sports. Because the look has had such longevity, your business may want to consider adding it to your own image as well. So, I’m here to break down the pinstripe history, why it’s so popular, and what businesses might benefit from it.
Although I am a biased Yankees fan (cue the angry Red Sox fans now), I think everybody who knows baseball can agree that the most famous pinstripe jersey in history belongs to the Yankees. The Yankees have the most championships of all-time, grand totaling at a whopping 27 titles. As a result, the pinstripe has become associated with winning. Let’s face it, no team wants to follow trends that are associated with losing. The Yankees are certainly not the only team to have pinstripes. Other baseball clubs such as the Cubs, Phillies, Mets, Brewers, Marlins, Twins, White Sox, Padres, Expos, Rockies, and Astros have/had all different variations of it. For the teams that don’t regularly wear it anymore, the jerseys are still brought back from time to time to celebrate the classic look.
Oddly enough, the first baseball team to wear the pinstripes was the Chicago Cubs, who ironically didn’t win a world series for nearly 100 years. A lot of people called it a curse until they won again in recent times, but that’s a different story. As much as we think about winning from the pinstripes, the pioneers of it had a pretty big gap between titles. However, the Cubs have always been a popular team even without the rings. Some teams just never win and somehow get all the support, not to mention any names (the Knicks). All jokes aside, other successful teams, such as the Yankees, were able to carry the pinstripe reputation through that extended time frame.
Even NBA teams such as the Hornets, Magic, and Bulls caught onto the trend and started wearing the pinstripes. The fact that this design has been able to cross over into different sports leagues says a lot. The Chicago Bulls have been a dominant team during the era of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. We all know that anything Michael Jordan does or wears will trend for years to come. Once again, the pinstripe look is associated with winning world championships. Winning championships also equates to being successful. Now that the sports world has established the pinstripes as such, other industries can capitalize on this stigma and use it for their brand.
Stand Out Appeal
The white color used as the foundation for the pinstripe design can stand out anywhere. Perhaps this is why the pinstripes are considered to be so flashy. It’s like when you put on a fresh pair of white sneakers right out of the box. Chances are, it’s going to be one of the first things someone else notices you wearing! Pinstripes have a tendency to pop out the most on any outfit or other product. The contrasting stripe color plays a role in the bold look too. The stripe takes a solid color and adds a tremendous amount of character to it.
White coloring can often look like a blank canvas that will go with anything that gets added on to it. This is why it’s so common in fashion and home decor. White is used as a base for additional colors and accessories that go over it. There is nothing that will clash with this color, and it can even stand-alone without a complementing shade. However, when done right, designs such as the pinstripe become an immediate trend for others to follow.
Whenever I think about the pinstripes now, I think of one of my favorite movies starring one of my favorite actors. What am I talking about? “Catch Me If You Can” with Leonardo DiCaprio of course! During the movie, the actor who plays the role of Frank Abignale Sr. explains that the reason the Yankees win time and time again is that other teams are too busy gazing at the pinstripes. Whether you know this movie or not, this paraphrased quote is pretty truthful to the impact of the design. The pinstripes are so famous that it may serve as a distraction to other teams looking at it. The same can be used for your business if suitable, where having a flashy design like the pinstripes might stand out ahead of competitors.
Typically, the pinstripe jersey is worn whenever that team plays at home. The reason for this is probably because the pinstripes are known to be such a sharp look. As a result, team ownership would want to best represent the team’s image to the home crowd fans. By now, tradition also probably plays into it. Why change up a tradition that fans know and love? Wearing the pinstripes at home games also adds a sense of community with the fans who support the team. When everyone in the stadium has the pinstripes on, the crowd stands united in hopes of taking home another win.
Selling the Look
Sports teams are still very much a business. Wearing pinstripes on the field will result in pinstripe merchandise off the field. Popular merchandise will then lead to more sales overall. The amount of Yankee pinstripe gear available for consumers is very high. Aside from jerseys, the pinstripe design can make its way onto other items as well. For example, I’m pretty sure I had the coolest Yankee pinstripe lunch box in the entire 5th grade class. Actually, I’m 100% sure. I’ve seen friends with pinstripe steering wheel covers, pinstripe mugs, stickers, etc. To package small memorabilia, check out this pinstripe bag. This bag is offered in multiple colorways and can match the team colors of several MLB teams!
Because the design is tasteful yet eye catching, the pinstripe is able to complement many different product items and packages. Companies that use pinstripes don’t necessarily have to be involved in sports either. For example, some clothing brands distribute the pinstripe suit. The suit is typically darker with contrasting lines over it but consists of the same concept. Suits are meant to deliver confidence and elegance when putting on, which is pretty on par with the winning sports teams that also utilize it. Other products such as Rolls Royce vehicles have been known to get customized pinstripe designs on it. In this case, combining the product with the design makes sense because of the upper echelon reputation of both.
Even though sports teams are able to branch out by attaching other merchandise to their brand, the dominant brands outside of sports that use it are in the apparel industry. This is not to say that your business shouldn’t venture out into other avenues involving the white pinstripe look. However, if you are already in the apparel business, I would suggest looking into the pinstripe design to add versatility to your clothing line.
In terms of fashion, the white pinstripe design is a symbol of sophistication. Pinstripe has been shown off at runways on many occasions, mainly consisting of women’s pinstripe suit jackets and pants. There is a level of professionalism that goes with the pinstripes. It has become a stylish look in the workplace that has gotten more popular over time. Brands such as Anne Taylor are known for their women’s pinstripe suit design (offered in black pinstripe as well). Incorporating pinstripes into your business’ fashion brand would subsequently upgrade your product line to have a more polished look.
If we look at the gender demographic of people that wear white/pinstripe, there really is no definitive answer. Both males and females sport the pinstripe look at sports outings. Additionally, women’s pinstripe pants have gained popularity over recent years. Brands such as Marlon Pants are among several other brands that sell the pinstripes. So, your business could benefit from targeting both men and women.
It’s important to note that while the overall reputation of pinstripes is positive, it still depends on the background and location of someone else. For businesses targeting a specific demographic, it is essential to research what kind of response you would get out of adding the design to your brand. For somebody in New York who values pinstripes for the tradition it upholds, someone in a state with a losing team that wears pinstripes or even someone who doesn’t watch sports may not have the same type of attachment. Just because a colorway or design works in one industry, does not necessarily mean it will work in yours.
QQ Studio tries to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to color patterns. Something that’s just as impressive to do as a brand is offer designs that not many other businesses have. This way, you can be one of the first to coin a potentially popular design in the future. For example, we offer a unique catalog of floral patterned bags. As much as you should be keeping an eye out for popular trends to capitalize on, don’t forget that your creative freedom as a brand can take you a long way too.
Now that you are an expert on the pinstripe look and what it represents, I hope you are able to take all of these factors into consideration for your business. As a long time baseball fan, I don’t think there is a better look than the classy pinstripes, and I’m sure others would agree. Whether you’re in the sports industry, apparel industry, or anything else applicable to the design, pinstripes are great because they never go out of style, and most importantly, will bring in more sales. Colors and patterns are so significant in developing your brand. Before committing to anything, make sure you do your own research on how well a color or pattern would perform under your business. If you like this blog, you might be interested in our other blog on what silver and gold mean for packaging. Every color has its place somewhere, and we’re excited to show you where and why!