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LSA Dressiquette: How to wear tropical prints beyond the beach

Although tropical prints have been around for decades, the style most often comes to the fore on vacations or when a pop video makes it woke every now and then.

Truth is that most men find tropical prints difficult to navigate – the colours, patterns, and casual appeal isn’t the easiest to pull off when not at the beach. It is, however, not impossible to style tropical prints in everyday settings. Here’s a quick guide to how one can pull off the look in diverse ways. 

The classic look 

Floral printed shirts
Floral printed shirts with solid beach pants are perfect for summer

It’s an instant visual cue that tropical prints belong on the beach or on a yacht. It’s very summery and holiday-ready. Ideally, these shirts are straight-fitted, in light, breathable fabrics. The best way to pull off this look is by simply letting the bold prints do their magic and pairing it with linen or cotton solid colour shorts. An important rule in all matters pattern mixing – balance the prints and solids.

Let the shirt loose or tuck it in, and add minimal accessorizing – the look will spell leisure and effortless style. Since this is meant for outdoors, more vibrant colours like red, blue, orange, and even green would be apt. For your shorts however, classic white and navy always work well. 

The everyday casual look 

floral shirts
White base shirts and lighter shades must be tucked in

This a step above the classic leisure dressing offered by prints and Cuban shirts. We’d imagine you wearing this with a cocktail or a Pina Colada in hand, maybe on a Sunday brunch as well. The key to working with overly bold prints is allowing them to be the centre of attention and working the look around them. So use the potpourri of bold colours to create a contrast with the jeans or the trousers you wear.

If you like your shirt tucked in, opt for a shirt with a neutral base colour like white, irrespective of the colour of the prints on it. If you aren’t tucking it in, opt for darker shades like navy, maroon, or forest green. Remember to always wear solid colour trousers – you wouldn’t want a texture or checkered print contrasting with vibrant florals. In terms of footwear, keds or plimsolls would be ideal. 

The semi-casual sundowner suit

Floral Shirts
Colour-play: Subtle grey suit with a contrasting maroon shirt

I bet you’d never imagine pairing a playful tropical print with a blazer or suit. Many would say it’s against contemporary style rules, but who’s checking? Suits and blazers have traditionally worked best with beige, navy, grey, which also complement the vibrancy of florals. Key here is the contrast between the suit and the colours of the florals worn underneath.

Beige coats are perfect for summer as they work as great neutralisers for bold colours

You need to be clear about mixing and matching – only subtle base colours like navy, white or maroon work for shirts, whereas your blazer could essentially aim for pastel colourways. In terms of footwear, maintain the casual air with a pair of white sneakers or a textured leather pair. 

All images: Courtesy brands & Shutterstock Images

LSA Dressiquette: How to wear tropical prints beyond the beach

Mikhail Gomes

Features Editor, Lifestyle Asia India & Contributor - Augustman

A watch aficionado, Mikhail 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.


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