From my teenage years onward, I have had a thing for business shirts with narrow, evenly-spaced stripes. Today they are referred to as bengal, banker, or university stripes; but when I was young we called them City stripes.
One of my masters at school, Mr. Jessup, frequently wore City stripes. Jessup was a short, portly, shaven-headed gent with tortoise-shell specs (not unlike the American style expert G. Bruce Boyer) and a fondness for the poetry of Swinburne and Whitman, who wore cruddy cardigans or v-neck jumpers, stained charcoal trousers, knit ties, and black English loafers from New & Lingwood. His dress shirts invariably featured plum or purple City stripes. He wore these shirts so often that they smelled; the collar and cuffs were frayed. While he made us recite the poems of the English Romantics in a plummy accent, I made meticulous note of his City striped shirts.
At first I bought my shirts at Harvie & Hudson, where I would stand in front of the shop windows and study the brightly-coloured, striped configurations of the City shirts on display and dream of wearing them to a job in management consulting or investment banking. Later, I acquired shirts at Brooks Brothers, J.Crew, and JPress, usually with spread collar and double cuffs, wearing them on both business and informal occasions. Then as now I admired the clean look presented by the neat, even stripes. Like the colours on club or repp neck ties, City striped shirts can hint at membership of a club, college, or athletic team. Herein, I think, lies at least part of their appeal.