When looking at yourself in the mirror and deciding what sport coat to pair with your printed Eton dress shirt from Hellman Clothiers, you will probably think a solid or at least a subtle plaid.
Past fashion rules and trends for both men’s and women’s have molded our minds to think if we have a piece that is very printed and busy, then we need to balance it out with a solid item. It was seen as a fashion disaster to mix patterns.
We are here to prove the point that this rule no longer applies, and if anything, it is highly encouraged to mix different prints and patterns. There is no bolder way to enter a room than to mix bright prints together. That’s what we love about this new trend! It’s all about confidence.
This doesn’t mean all fashion rules fly out the window and it’s fair game to mix any and all prints. There are some guidelines we encourage you to stick to.
When you think of men’s formal wear, there is one pattern that should come to mind immediately. That is your check print. Majority of suits and sport coats are going to have some form of a checked print.
The check print has always been a classic in terms of men’s fashion. There are different scales of checks whether they are subtle vs. bold, thin vs. thick, close together vs. more spread out. Paying attention to the details of the check is important when it comes to determining exactly what you will match together.
Contrasts are still ideal when it comes to menswear. If your sport coat has thin spread out checks, you will want thick and tight checks on the dress shirt and vice versa. The best part about the check print is that is able to mix with majority of prints.
The check print can be mixed with another check print, stripes, polka dots, paisleys etc. There is a lot of flexibility here, so when in doubt, start with your checked sport coat.
In the picture to the left, you can see that we were still able to mix prints between the sport coats, ties and pocket squares and paired it back to the solid shirt. The color and pattern of these sport coats are on the louder side so the solid shirt actually does help the tie pop here. Going with a solid shirt allows you go to even more bold with the tie and pocket square.
When it comes to stripes, the direction of the stripe is what typically matters most. If you are layering stripes on stripes you want to make sure that the directions are differing between jacket and trouser, or shirt and jacket.
For example, if you have a sport coat with horizontal pinstripes, then go for a vertically striped dress shirt. If your trousers have vertical stripes, go for a horizontal shirt.
In this picture, you can see how great of a backdrop the striped shirt is with this paisley abstract tie. This sport coat is a subtle pattern which allows that rainbow paisley tie to really take the spotlight. When mixing different prints and patterns, allows keep in mind which piece you want to draw the eye to. If you’re loving your sport coat, go with a more subtle tie. And if you’re super into your new dress shirt, go with more of a subtle sport coat and a fun tie to draw attention towards the dress shirt.
The Color Palette
Secondary to the print itself, the colors you are mixing is key. Ideally you aren’t completely monochromatic, but you want to stay within a tight color range.
Being all over the rainbow is going to make it look like you got dressed blindfolded. That is the last thing we want to happen!
Typically, but not always, you will have a solid pant and a patterned dress shirt and sport coat. If you’re going for a more casual chino, tying in the color of the pant to the dress shirt and tie is what is going to pull all of the patterns and prints together. Or if you go with a neutral pant, all of the attention can be focused on your sport coat, shirt and tie combo.
In this look, you can clearly see that the color palette is brown, navy and a teal. There are three different prints going on between the sport coat, dress shirt and bowtie. However, they all fit together very cohesively because of the clear color palette.
If we paired this sport coat and Brackish bowtie with a purple undershirt, it clearly would not work because there isn’t purple anywhere else in the look.
Made to Order
If you’ve been wanting to get on board and become more confident in mixing different patterns or prints, but can’t seem to find exactly what you’re looking for in a dress shirt or sport coat, don’t worry!
The best part is, the chances of anyone else having that exact combination is nearly impossible. Not only will you confidently enter every room you walk into, you’ll be wearing a one of a kind piece!
Practice Makes Perfect
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, but with anything in life, if you want to get good at it all you have to do is practice. All of the advice in this blog post is great, but the best advice we can give you is “practice makes perfect.”
Half of finding the right combination between different prints is playing around in your closet, or even better, with your Hellman Clothier’s stylist. Whether you just need a wardrobe update or have a special event you are dressing for, we will make sure you’re the best looking gentleman in the room!