It’s every man’s most pressing question: how many patterns are too many in an outfit, and how do I match them?
Okay, maybe not. But knowing how to not look like an idiot when mixing different patterned pieces can be a very useful (and manly) skill. (I mean, take a look at the outfits guys wear on Mad Men).
The Wall Street Journal recently interviewed designer Richard Chai about pattern rules. Here’s what they found:
Don’t go nuts, guys Three patterns should be the limit. “Anything more becomes a lot to look at,” Chai said.
Keep it all in the family Choosing pieces in the same color and tonal range prevents you from looking like a quilted dish rag.
Don’t be too consistent Choose patterns that don’t all match exactly. One of the patterns should be bolder and wider, while the others “should be 20 to 30 percent smaller” than the main pattern
Reign in your polka dots. Nothing over a quarter of an inch unless you’re a circus clown in which case, by all means, go for it.
Into stern business suits? That’s cool. But adding a patterned shirt or tie will spice up the look. You know, if you’re into it.
If you’re a little on the short side… Avoid large patterns—they’ll make you even shorter.
Don’t wear patterns over “problem areas” As Chai puts it, “If you have a big belly, then you don’t want to wear an oversized plaid shirt. It’s going to accentuate it.”
About Lu Fong
Lu Fong was a staff writer and blog editor for the Good Men Project in its formative years. As the requisite woman on staff, her hobbies included cleaning, cooking, knitting, fainting, and childbearing. Follow her on Twitter @lufong.