Everything You Need to Know About Pattern and Print

For some men, the thought of a bold print and vibrant pattern screams of a 1980s throwback. However, some prints have become synonymous with timeless gents and, when worn right, can earn you some serious style points. Here, Noose & Monkey discusses how to wear even the trickiest of styles. From pinstripe to paisley, read on to master your look:

Pinstripe

At one point, pinstripe suits were solely reserved for bankers and businessmen — think The Wolf of Wall Street. Since then, the stripes have broken free of the boardroom and are now a great choice for virtually any formal occasion.

With a pinstripe suit, you should follow the two out of three rule. If your suit is pinstripe, make sure either your shirt or tie is a plain, block colour. Two striped items can be a great look if the stripes are different widths, but dress head to toe in stripes and you could end up with a conflicted look.

For extra style points, match the colour of your shirt to the pinstripes. It may be subtle but this small consideration will draw your whole look together.

There is also chalk stripe, which sees the stripes spread further apart than a narrower pin stripe. This style is great for increasing the appearance of height, but bad for larger men as it increases their girth.

Windowpane Check

Windowpane checks are literally incredible. Not only are they on-trend, they can make slimmer gents appear wider with their horizontal lines, while their rectangular designs will elongate the frames of larger men.

There are two main choices when it comes to windowpane check suits. Either use your shirt to pull out the colour of the checks or amp up the base colour of your suit through your tie.

You may stumble across a more complex window pane check, which has multiple lines running through it. Because of the added detail in the pattern, you should keep other details to a minimum — ditch the pocket square and choose a block colour shirt.

Houndstooth

Houndstooth is not just a stylish, two-tone pattern — it actually has a rich history. While the pattern gets its name from the bite that would be left by a dog, it was adopted by men in the 4th Century to show themselves as non-combatants among warring Scottish clans. It was worn in place of traditional family tartan.

The great thing about the pattern is it can create a huge impact in small amounts. A full houndstooth suit may have been spotted on the catwalks but it can be difficult for the everyday man to master. Rather, a simpler way to inject this trend into your wardrobe is through carefully selected accessories. Ties, scarves, pocket squares and even socks are a great way to introduce this style to your look.

Prince of Wales/Glen Urquhart Check

Want to look fashionable enough for royalty? Glen Plaid Check, often known as Prince of Wales or Glen Urquhart check, is a woollen fabric that carries a woven twill design of small and large checks. Made popular by Edward VIII, Glen Urquhart plaid usually alternates two dark and two light stripes with four dark and four light ones to create a crossing pattern. It has been worn by the likes of Pee-wee Herman in grey, Ronald Reagan in grey and blue and Gary Grant in North by Northwest.

The modern gentleman should probably opt for a grey Glen Plaid suit. You should typically wear a solid shirt, which can be complemented by a patterned tie. Light blue or a daring pink will offset the grey pattern and create an outfit that stands out.

Match your footwear to the colours in your Glen Plaid. For example, stick to black shoes if you have black and white check. If you have a third colour you can experiment with more versatile choices. After all, the Glen Plaid is all about boldness.

Sharkskin

Sharkskin is the foundation that all other fabrics are judged by. It is a closely woven, worsted wool pattern that is worn by the elite: from lawyers and executives to Las Vegas entertainers. A textured fabric that uses two tons of yarn in a twill weave, Sharkskin is sometimes called pick-and-pick and is a lightweight fabric that works well in summer. The style gets its name from sharkskin fabric, which can produce a glimmering effect.

If you’ve got the confidence to wear the style, you’ll have to embrace its Rat Pack era. They have a style pedigree dating back decades, but are still relevant to the modern era. The tight-woven structure gives the suit lasting durability, making it a good choice for daily wear.

Don’t fall into the trap of wearing a shiny sharkskin suit that looks like polyester or a mob suit. Instead, opt for something more muted. Navy is a good choice, paired with a baby blue dress shirt sans-waistcoat. Chestnut shoes pair well with the tone and complete the outfit effortlessly.

Paisley

Paisley is a loud pattern that uses the droplet shaped vegetable pattern known as the buta or boteh. It is often seen in quilts, scarves, pocket squares and other accessories due to its bright, extravagant appearance. It became a popular pattern during the psychedelic movement, with members of the The Beatles frequently wearing paisley shirts.

As a fashion item, Paisley is great as an accessory to break up a more subtle outfit. However, for confident people, the pattern can be used to really get your personality across. To experiment with this style, wear your black or navy suit with a bold paisley shirt.

Remember that too many bright colours can detract from a suit, so if you want to include paisley through more than just your shirt, opt for a suit with a darker paisley design. Finish the look with a white shirt and brown polished brogues to really catch the eye.

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Chad

I'm a co-founder and writer here at Unfinished Man. I write, manage the look and feel of the website, and make sure that nothing breaks. I also reply to the vast majority of our emails, so if you're sending one through, I suggest you be nice. Everyone says I'm the least offensive of our writers, so they gave the email jockey task to me. When I'm not improving the site, I write about fashion, video games, politics, and anything related to science and technology.

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