Patterns and textures are the cornerstones of menswear, and both can be tricky to navigate when putting together an outfit. If you are someone who enjoys a bold look, and are wondering how to mix those two things right, here are our five simple rules that can be mastered in minutes.

Contrasting pattern sizes

Menswear Pattern Mixing

Patterns are most commonly one of three types – stripes, dots and checks. If playing with the same type of pattern, make sure to have two distinguishable sizes of the pattern. For example, if you are opting for checks, go for larger ones on the shirt and smaller checks on your tie. Contrasting prints are easier on the eye and add depth.

Colour contrastingMenswear Pattern Mixing

The art of contrast works on balance. Unlike colour-blocking, which pairs two unique, bold shades, this one’s about pairing two hues that complement each other. Keep one bold and the other subtle. If you are sporting a dark brown tartan coat, pair it with a cream shirt to add style without shifting the focus from the coat. With this rule, you could go a bit over-the-top with accessories – bring in a textured tie or a printed waistcoat to complete the look.

Pattern distribution

Menswear Pattern Mixing

In addition to the previous point made, keep pattern distribution in mind. Two bold patterns will compete with one another and create an undesirable clash. Plaid is usually seen as a bolder pattern, but an intricate houndstooth or paisley, if worn as a tie, adds to the look. Allow the focus to stay on one specific item of clothing – the shirt, coat,  tie or your trousers – where a particular pattern stakes centrestage.

Sometimes less is more

Mastering the modern art of pattern mixing

If unsure about how to balance prints, take small steps. Try a windowpane or gingham first. As you get more confident, switch to bolder plaids like tartan and tattersall. Pairing either with a white shirt will always be a safe. If you aren’t big on ties or bow-ties, you still have the pocket square. A classic navy or burgundy pocket square with paisley or nautical prints can add some spunk to your look.

Pair it right

Menswear Pattern Mixing

When mixing different patterns, opt for unique ones that are not usually seen together. Two very distinctive patterns can actually end up creating a more harmonious look. For example, the runways are teeming with polka dots paired beautifully with florals, paisleys nestling comfortably amidst tartans.

All images: Courtesy Shutterstock

Mikhail Gomes
Senior Features Writer
A watch aficionado, Gomes also enjoys learning about fine whiskies, and one day hopes to establish his own menswear label. At Lifestyle Asia India, he writes on watches, menswear, auto and tech.