For the strictly block-coloured, exploring patterns in your daily wardrobe can be an intimidating exercise: What patterns match? Should I go big or small? Is paisley too flamboyant? What’s paisley?
When done right, however, patterns can help a man stand out from the crowd, and project a stylish and detail-oriented impression, without being too cocky or gaudy. Here’s our quick three-step guide to making the most out of patterns commonly seen in men’s fashion.
“Step 1: Understand which patterns work for you best”
Don’t be intimidated by the sheer variety of patterns out there: your wardrobe will go a long way by starting with four or five patterns. Stripes and checks (the latter also referred to as Gingham) are the essential work and play patterns; if you’re looking to up your fashion game in an understated style, herringbone and houndstooth patterns add a touch of old-world class to your overall look. Looking for something bolder? Paisley and large polka dots will definitely grab attention.
“Step 2: Balance, Balance, Balance”
Is it okay to layer patterns with patterns? The answer is a resounding yes – with a few caveats. The first is to wear two different patterns with different boldness and scale, so if you’re wearing a small-checkered shirt, layer it out with a larger windowpane or houndstooth jacket. When it comes to the size of patterns, a general rule of thumb is to keep the smallest patterns closest to your body, and work your way out to larger bolder patterns.
“Step 3: Keep the colours within the same palette”
There’s no need to over-complicate the ensemble with too many clashing colours. Instead, try following analogous colour scheme – i.e., using colours next to each other on the color wheel – to create a pleasing and sophisticated look that complements the patterns. So if you’re a fan of blue tones, you could go with a deep-indigo tie with a light blue shirt, and a navy blue jacket. Or if you’re looking for something more vibrant and summery, try a light pink shirt with a polka-dot tie, and layer it out with a charcoal jacket.