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Pinstripe Tattoos

Pinstripe tattoos are tattoo designs consisting of thin, delicate lines that are most commonly chosen to enhance the curves of particular areas of the body. They are commonly placed on the lower back area, lower abdomen area, around an ankle or on the nape of the neck. A larger pinstripe design can span the length of the back, climb up the leg, or wrap around the torso area. Pinstripe tattoos are most often applied with black ink; however, other popular colors include red, dark blue and dark green as these bolder inks tend to stand out more against natural skin tones. When choosing lighter ink colors, it is imperative to use sunscreen when exposed to the sun to ensure that the colors of the fine lines do not fade over time.

Popular Pinstripe Tattoos
Pinstriping is also a technique that can be used as ornamentation to further customize existing tattoo designs seen on flash sheets found in tattoo studios or those available on the internet. Some of the most popular pinstripe tattoos pair black pinstripes with roses, jewels, angels and hearts for a more elegant and customized appearance. Pinstripes are also great compliments to butterfly and dragonfly tattoos as elongated lines tend to represent the paths of which they are flying while short lines highlight the beautiful shapes of their wings. Another popular way to use pinstripes is as ornamentation for personalized names or initials for an added flair. As for masculine tattoos, pinstripes can easily add a touch of class to both dagger and cross designs by creating a pleasing balance between the curvature of the pinstripes and the sharp, straight lines of these two objects.

NOTE: Pinstripe tattoos are not easy to ink. Tattoo artists applying them should able to create sharp, fluid lines that do not have gaps, squiggles or abrupt changes in line thickness. Asking to view the portfolios of tattoo artists is the best way to judge whether an artist has the skills and experience to ink quality pinstripes.

Short History of Pinstriping
Today’s pinstripe tattoos have a long history that dates back to the 1930’s automobile industry. Pinstriping was a hot trend throughout the beginning of that decade but it quickly faded (by 1938) as General Motors produced the last pinstriped vehicle of that era. Its revival came in the 1950’s through Kenneth Graeme Howard, also known as “Von Dutch.” Von Dutch was one of the pioneers of vehicle customization through the application of pinstripes. His father was a well-known sign maker and designer and, during his teenage years, Von Dutch used his father’s equipment to apply his pinstripe designs to motorcycles while working as a mechanic. His boss saw his work and, recognizing his potential, made pinstriping Von Dutch’s full time job. Decades later, he is regarded as one of the fathers of “Kustom Kulture” (a term used to describe the vehicles, fashion and hairstyles of custom car enthusiasts) as his old school pinstripe styles are still being applied to motorcycles, cars, trucks, helmets and boats as well as skin!

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