A thicker cut

The butcher stripe: A bold, bright way to beef up your shirt game.

Esquire (Singapore) - - Style -

Con­ven­tional Amer­i­can wis­dom holds that a dress shirt should be the plain can­vas against which a flashy, tex­tured tie can pop. But why be con­ven­tional? Why not in­vert the for­mula so your shirt makes the state­ment? For years, Brits have done this with the butcher stripe. The thick ver­ti­cal lines used to be a main­stay on Jermyn Street, par­tic­u­larly in the yup­pie heights of the go-go ’80s. These days, it’s less about up­ward mo­bil­ity and more about sar­to­rial sen­si­bil­ity. A bold pat­tern like this works es­pe­cially well in equally vi­brant col­ors. (Xa­cus’s su­per­sat­u­rated royal blue, for in­stance, con­trasts beau­ti­fully with a dark suit.) Just re­mem­ber to keep your tie on the quiet side. It’s time you let your shirt do the talk­ing.

Lines of work

As you prob­a­bly guessed, this stripe wasn’t named af­ter fish­mon­gers. As far back as the 16th cen­tury, mem­bers of the English Butcher’s Guild used a sim­i­lar pat­tern on their aprons. Ap­pren­tice and jour­ney­man butch­ers sported thin­ner lines, while mas­ter butch­ers could boast a broader stripe. The de­fault color? Navy. (It’s the best shade for hid­ing blood­stains.)

Shirts (SGD425*) by Xa­cus; tie (SGD329*) by Vi­ola Mi­lano. Top right: Suit (SGD1,886*) by Richard James; shirt ($320) by Xa­cus; tie (SGD232*) by Paul Stu­art; Clifton 10059 watch (SGD8,567*) by Baume & Mercier.

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