The wide-striped shirt … the least commented sartorial attribute of teenage boys of the 1950s. They were meant to be more extravagant than ordinary monochrome or patterned shirts but definitely less flash than the typical 1950s two-tone shirt. They are also much better and more befitting of the 50s rock’n’roll style than the ‘Hawaiian shirts’ that smack of Tiki that are often seen at rock’n’roll venues. Never mind, I have collected pictorial examples over the years. You’ll note that most of them are short-sleeved but there are also some long-sleeved examples.
Since I personally love these types of shirt (see my own narrow-striped shirt at the bottom) I could not but be curious about them and the strangest aspect of it all is how it is almost impossible to find wide-striped shirts for sale these days. A classic style that has been neglected and so much rubbish styles apparently in fashion! Go figure as they say in Americanese …
Finally, there’s myself around 1982 with my own striped shirt. I can’t say it was wide-striped, but it was pretty much in the same style as most of the above and there was a good reason for that, it had belonged to my grandfather in Angers, France, and was probably bought by him in the early 1960s as far as I can make out. It had long sleeves, but a little too short for my build and over the years with constant use it frayed, especially around the collar due to the brittle shoots of my shaved neck hair and it even once became ripped at the elbow. From memory, I think it was a little bouffant – that means puffed up – on the sleeves and pinched in pleats at the cuffs as well as at the back under the nape patch. I’m not sure whether I’ve still got it somewhere among my belongings, but I should have kept it for the pattern of the cut – it was incredibly comfortable and it is the shirt by which I judge all shirts (a first love of sorts …).
POSTED Feb 2021.