Photograph by Brad Bridgers
For something so linear and, well, straightforward, a stripe can come in many variations. There's the bold, thick, candy version and the barely perceptible micro-stripe. But none is quite as consistently stylish as the Bengal. Stately and balanced, the iconic pattern lets you earn your sartorial stripes with minimal effort. Courtney Colavita
Stripe: The width of Bengal stripes varies from shirt to shirt. If you have a slight paunch, stick with narrower ones, no thicker than half a pencil. And whether you wear a 14/32 or an 18/36, your shirt should skim your body but not pull when you sit down. The stripes should always look aligned and symmetrical.
Tie: The Bengal shirt, much like the solid broadcloth version, makes an understated canvas, which means you can wear any kind of tie with it. Rep stripes, plaids, and solids are appropriate and guarantee a put-together look
Color: A few years back, Bengal-striped shirts came in black and white or navy and white, but this season designers are showing nontraditional hues like lilac and raspberry. Although the shades are vivid, they're not too brash, because they're offset by white stripes of identical sizewhich means that even the most conservative dressers can comfortably dabble in color and pattern.