It is always a beautiful sight when you see a man that can pull off a patterned suit. This is really hard, because if you are not careful, you’ll end up looking like a fool. So, I understand why a lot of men just stick to boring plain suits, so they can play it safe, but safe can be boring. Add patterns to your outfit to spice it up a bit.
Patterns can add dimension, texture, and visual interest to your outfit, but many men are unsure of suit, shirt and tie combinations once you’ve added some pattern to the mix. With a few handy tips though you can easily put together a great look. Let’s first identify the types of prints we have.
If you ask the average suits expert what types of suit patterns we have, you’ll hear things like, stripes, plaid, windowpane, or even jacquard. But if you ask Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, what a patterned suit is, I am sure you’ll hear him say floral and bold print. One thing you’ll have to understand is that if the suit is not plain, then it’s patterned.
This suit was always seen as a flashback in the 1920’s. It has the Italian Mafia feel, but today it’s a little more refined. As a word of advice, if you’re tall don’t wear a vertical striped suit because they make you look taller – but if you’re shorter than the average male then this is perfect for you. There are different types of stripes, from your classic pinstripes to chalk stripe (slightly wider and often sewn into flannel). Then there is the rope which is g made from wool. It depends on how bold you want to be as to which you choose. When dressing a striped suit don’t also wear a striped shirt, stick to something plain and if you must make a dandy statement match it with a gingham shirt and classic lace-ups (not detailed brogues) in similar colours.
Plaid or sometimes referred to as the ‘glen check’ has since reformed into a Prince of Wales or Duke of Windsor style which is an iconic suit pattern. You commonly see this on sports jackets and blazers as it was originally known as weekend wear in an informal environment.This is risky per se to wear with something else checked unless you want to stand out. But if you do choose to wear it with another check choose a larger sized check to balance it out. Or go for something plain and subtle in color along with a pair of black lace-ups or monk straps to complement the suit color.
The most flamboyant of the suit patterns and something is seen on the continent for its boldness. This is one style which doesn’t necessarily need to be seen on the entire suit. Just like plaid, it’s found on sports and casual jackets and they look great over a pair of plain flannel trousers or dark washed jeans for weekend wear. You can be brave and wear this with another patterned shirt underneath, something gingham or smaller checks since the window pane print is usually quite large. Since this is often not a full suit you can wear it with detailed leather brogues or loafers (seasonally dependent).
Hounds tooth suits
Deriving from Scotland, this is a winter fabric and is more formally seen on coats and jackets (more so for women and not seen too much on suits). Generally, this pattern is seen in tweed or wool fabrics for a thicker and luxurious feel. A striped shirt would sit nicely under this as it’s great contrast. Alternatively, you can wear it with a solid plain shirt and a striped tie. If you’re wearing this as a separate, choose a pair of trousers and shoes which are fairly plain and not too dramatic as a way to make the jacket the statement piece of the outfit.
In this type of suit, small arrow type shapes close together often on tweed and sometimes seen on wool too. The pattern is fairly subtle but from a distance, it does give the suit a texture. Herringbone is a great choice for a formal occasion as the smaller the pattern, the smarter the style becomes. This type of suit looks great in a lighter navy color blended with a white shirt.
Check plaid suits
This style is like the plaid suit, just a little bit different. It’s a casual style and great for the warmer days. It is a style that needs to be worn with confidence because it’s overstated and bold and it looks great with a large check shirt in dark colors of blues and greens.
Floral print/ Bold print suits
In this category, I’ll place floral, polka dot, and all other prints that don’t fall into the above categories. All thanks to Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, men are learning to embrace floral print suits. These suits are the opposite of their staid, pinstriped cousins, so let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way early.They are not, on the whole, for the office or funerals. Bu if you work somewhere where your outfit as to be as creative as you, then feel free to wear this. But I’ll advise you don’t wear a floral print suit to work at all. You can wear them to informal weddings, parties and nights out that demand you make an effort. A polka dot suit, for example, can be worn to “work”, but this depends on the size of the print, so you have to be very careful if you want to wear any print in this category.
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