Skip to Main Content

Style Blog

A Beginner's Guide to Mixing Patterns for Men

Posted Feb 13th, 2023 in All News, Fundamental Style, Personal Style, Style Knowledge

Patterns and textures are the foundation of menswear, but knowing how to wear them with style can be tricky. We've shared our beginner's guide for men who are ready to embrace patterns and master the art of mixing them.

A Helpful Guide for Men: How to Mix Patterns, King & Bay Custom Clothing, Toronto, Canada

Men's Style Guide: How to Mix Patterns

When it comes to men's fashion, we all have varying levels of style expertise. For men who aren't sure about how to wear and mix patterns, we have a helpful guide to get you started.

Tips on Mixing Patterns for Beginners

Gradually Mix Patterns

For men who are new to mixing patterns, you can start small by incorporating accessories with patterns into your outfits. Experiment with a tie with polka dots or a micro floral pattern, or a paisley pocket square. Once you feel comfortable with patterned accessories, try wearing a patterned shirt. You can test the waters with a chalk stripe pattern and gradually work your way up to wearing dress shirts that have bolder patterns.

Focus on Contrasting Pattern Sizes

Beginners can level up their style by pairing patterns that complement each other rather than those that match exactly. If men want to wear the same type of pattern, ensure to have two distinguishable sizes of the pattern. For example, you can wear a pinstriped suit with a bengal stripe shirt since the thickness of the lines are different. Contrasting prints add depth and are easier on the eye.

Contrast Colours

To achieve balance in your outfit, pair two colours that complement each other; one should be bold and the other subtle. For example, you can pair a cream dress shirt with a dark brown tartan jacket and wear a textured tie to complete the look.

Avoid Competing Patterns

To achieve an elevated look, allow the focus to stay on one specific item of clothing. It's important to keep pattern distribution in mind - two bold patterns will compete with one another and this could create a clash. 

Traditional Men's Patterns & How to Mix Them

Stripes: Pinstripes and chalk stripes are both popular patterns in men's suiting. Stripes work really well with geometric prints and this pattern is often found on trousers and casual tailoring. For smarter looks, men should mix shades within the same colour palette.

Checks: Arguably, check is probably the most popular pattern for menswear and it comes in a variety of options such as subtle windowpane, herringbone, and plaid. The check pattern works well with outerwear, blazers, and shirts, and looks best with other checks and micro prints.  

Paisley: Paisley is a busy pattern that works best on accessories or suit details. Given that it is such a statement pattern, men can either play it safe or wear it loudly. To tone down the bold pattern, men can pull in a single colour from the design and use it somewhere else in their outfit.

Houndstooth: Houndstooth is a bold pattern that works best with simple complementary patterns like narrow pinstripes and monochrome prints. Houndstooth is popular in menswear for overcoats, blazers, suits, and tailored trousers. 

Polka Dots: Polka dots are often featured on men's ties, socks, pocket squares, and dress shirts. The pattern works best with pinstripe and muted checks. The round shape of polka dots also works well with straight-lined patterns such as stripes and checks. For example, a polka dot tie would work very well with a gingham shirt. 

Practice means progress. The more men incorporate patterns into their wardrobe, the better they will be at it. Use the tips in our guide and have fun experimenting and evolving your personal style - it's ok to make mistakes and learn from them.