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A Guide to Pattern Mixing

By: Bianca Teixeira|January 21, 2015

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Slowly Introduce Patterns

It can be hard to start working patterns into your wardrobe if you’ve become used to wearing monochromatic suits up to now. The first thing you need to know is that it’s all about balance. Taking exciting, bold patterns and pairing them with classic, toned-down pieces not only guarantees you a proportioned look but also ensures that the patterns are a highlight.


‘Accessories are the perfect place to start,’ says Raphael. ‘Begin with a simple outfit, like a navy or gray suit, and experiment with patterned ties, pocket squares, shirts and even tie bar.’

But Contrasting Stripes Are Too Much

‘Vertical and horizontal patterns in the same outfit can be jarring,’ says Raphael.



Sure, windowpanes, pinstripes, checks, and gingham are classic patterns, but thanks to their vertical and/or horizontal elements, Raphael advises that they won’t all work together.



Wool suit ($2,725) by Band of Outsiders; cotton poplin shirt ($125) by Michael Kors; wool-silk blend tie ($285) by Brunello Cucinelli; leather monk-strap loafers (price upon request) by Ermenegildo Zegna

Everyday Pieces

There are a few classic patterns that are easy to work with and simple enough to sneak into your regular routine almost anywhere.



‘Whether it is the pattern on your suit, tie, or shirt, making it a focal point and complement the item with classics and solids to find that perfect balance,’ says Rapahel.



Boccherini silk handkerchief ($59), Osvaldo bowtie ($99) from Tiger of Sweden

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The Dos and Don’ts

DO: Start small, in both the size of the pattern and the size of the garment.



DON’T: Have the same size pattern in multiple layers of an outfit. ‘That can have a dizzying effect,’ says Raphael.



DO: Play around with different patterns to find a level of comfort and style.



DON’T: Pair red and green together. That’s for Christmas only.



Evert blazer in plaid ($649), Denzel shirt ($249) by Tiger of Sweden

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Tried and True Combinations

Luckily, there are a few patterns that need minimal effort to match. Tried and true combinations include mixing the same pattern, for example checks on checks or stripes on stripes, and working with a monochrome palette to create harmony.



‘These kinds of combinations elongate and showcase how to wear bold pattern from head to toe with subtlety and confidence,’ says Raphael.



Clockwise from top left: Circle of Gentlemen, $255; LINCS, $100; Strellson, $180; HUGO, $155; Tiger of Sweden, $230; Tommy Hilfiger, $130

 

Wool suit ($1,995), cotton button-down ($275), silk tie ($150) and silk pocket square ($110) by Etro, at Holt Renfrew

 

Wool three-piece suit ($2,795), cotton shirt ($340) and silk tie ($160) by Burberry; silk pocket square ($55) by Eton; Heritage Column-Wheel chronograph watch ($3,400) by Longines

 

Cupro jacket ($1,985), cotton shirt ($300) and silk tie ($180) by Canali; pocket square ($25) by Ben Sherman; Radiomir 8 Days GMT Oro Rosso watch ($38,900) by Panerai

 

Double-breasted ool suit ($4,695) by Ralph Lauren Purple Label; cotton-linen shirt ($345) by Ermenegildo Zegna; silk tie ($145) by BOSS

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