Quick Tip: Male Pattern Boldness

Mixing patterns in clothing scares the hell out of guys and to be honest I can’t blame them. Looking through your closet, there maybe a plethora of untapped combinations of clothing that could be staring right at you and you’ve never attempted to put them together. After a while, you will realize that you are wearing the same clothes over and over, using the same style tactics with each wear. Mixing patterns isn’t just a way of improving your style, it will also improve the longevity of many pieces that you own because you won’t constantly wear the same pieces over and over. Before you go 100% pattern crazy, there are some quick general “rules” to follow.

Plaid Wool tie by Tommy Hilfiger

Pattern Boldness Rules

  • In regards to your shirt and tie combination, if the primary pattern mixing involves stripes and plaid, the stripes on your shirt should be relatively small (spacing wise).
  • Polka dot and paisley ties work great with a striped shirt. When choosing a tie you will find that choosing a tie with colors in the same family of your shirt works well or choosing a tie that is on the opposite end of the color wheel is a great option.
  • Pants. The bottom half of your outfit can get a bit tricky. This look I went with another plaid pattern that is completely different from my tie (which is the best way to go). Going with a muted color like these grey plaid pants is one of the best way to incorporate another pattern into the mix.
  • Not pictured is the unlined navy blazer that I wore with this outfit to work today.
  • These rules will not apply to all pattern mixing, so please use theme cautiously.

Wool Plaid Pants by Banana Republic | Red Bengal Striped French Cuff Shirt by Harrods | Tassel Loafers by Johnston Murphy

If you ever look at campaigns for brands like Etro, you will see a heavy emphasis on mixing patterns far beyond what is displayed in this post. One thing to remember, there should only be one true stand out piece in a look like this. For the extra pop I chose the tie as the headliner with the rest of the patterned pieces as a supporting cast. Give mixing patterns a try so you will get some more style combinations out of your everyday wardrobe.

Tie Bar by Merona

Thanks for reading,



Tags: , , , , ,

Categories: Men's Style, Mixing Pattern, Style Tip, Versatility

Author:Sabir M. Peele

Founder & Creative Director of menswear style & lifestyle blog Sabir serves as an independent brand consulting working with brands like GQ, AskMen, Indochino & Z Zegna (among others). Selected as #GQFall Best Dressed in 2013 & one of Esquire Magazine Best Dressed Real Men in America in 2010. Follow @MensStylePro on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter. Email with your inquiries.

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12 Comments on “Quick Tip: Male Pattern Boldness”

  1. stylebuff
    July 28, 2011 at 7:09 AM #

    Very well said…

    • July 28, 2011 at 7:11 PM #

      Hi Stylebuff,

      Thank you very much the kind words.



  2. July 28, 2011 at 7:18 PM #

    “Mixing patterns in clothing scares the hell out of guys and to be honest I can’t blame them”….yes indeed it does. Moreso when your’e a built person …5ft 11” & built like a linebacker thinking you can pull it off is daunting. Great article…thanks

    • July 28, 2011 at 7:21 PM #

      Thanks for dropping in,

      It is true that a guy with a thicker build may play into the ability to pull certain style looks off. The key to remember you can make your look stand out but at the same time be understated with the amount of pattern and colors you are using.



  3. July 29, 2011 at 12:10 PM #

    Great post. I mix patterns a lot. I often throw on a solid blazer or sweater to soften the blow. I would have loved to see this outfit with the navy blazer you mentioned. And what about socks? You’re not wearing any here, but how would you work those in with all these patterns?

    • July 29, 2011 at 12:14 PM #

      Hi Eric,

      Thanks for swinging by. In regards to the blazer, I thought about throwing it on for the look, but, then I decided what the hell I wear blazers often in these post so lets mix it up for the after work look (which this was). To pull in socks was going to go with a bold solid red/burgundy or potentially a forest green.



  4. Anuj
    July 30, 2011 at 12:20 AM #

    Nice tie, I picked up the same one from Macys this summer. All of the tommy wool ties got heavily reduced. They will be great in the winter for a heavier tie! Btw I always see you around USP and I’m sure I’ll see you in the fall, keep a lookout for me!

    • July 30, 2011 at 1:19 AM #

      Hi Anuj,

      Glad you enjoy the site and were able to take advantage of a great deal via Macys. What year are you at USciences?



      • Anuj
        July 31, 2011 at 1:23 PM #

        I am a sixth year student there. I’ll see you there in september.

    • January 24, 2012 at 3:28 PM #

      Hey Anuj,

      Here is the link to my app!

  5. July 30, 2011 at 6:36 PM #

    Hi ,

    I just found your site and I realy like it.Espescialy those loafers.
    And I am wondering … your name , Sabir , is that arabic/islamic ?

    Grtz from Bruges , Belgium.

    • July 30, 2011 at 7:57 PM #

      Hi Ferki,

      My name is Arabic (it means Patience).



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