When speaking to a group of recent college graduates, one of the audience members asked, “Would you talk about mixing patterns? Is it a bad idea or a worse idea?” We’ve all seen mixing patterns go terribly wrong! (I.e., the image above.) For some, this "worse" idea could lead to visual confusion at best and utter image failure, a la Austin Powers, at worst. So why try? Because it's not as complex as it appears, especially with menswear. And when done well, the results are absolutely stunning. This master of sales motivation said it best...
"Project your self-image in a way that breeds confidence in others." - Jeffrey Gittomer
Show your love and respect for others with a handsome self-presentation. Here's how...
1. Start by finding a pattern – plaid, stripe, or print – which you really like and feel like you could wear forever as your source of inspiration for the color scheme of the outfit.
2. Select other pieces of the outfit that have one color in common with your original favorite.
3. Select only one strong pattern, then a softer – more subtle – pattern, and finally a fairly neutral pattern or solid color. How do you know if it's subtle? When you squint your eyes, or look from a distance, the pattern should appear to be a solid color.
Putting it all together...
Don't be afraid to experiment. When in doubt, try the blink test. Look at yourself in the mirror, close your eyes for a few seconds, then open them. Notice where your eye is drawn. Are you looking at the dominant pattern first? If you are having trouble resting your eyes on one particular spot, then you've overdone it. The goal is to have one dominant pattern, with the others subordinate and attracting less attention. Learning this concept is fun and oh so helpful when it comes to menswear but it also applies womenswear. After all...
"The understanding of life begins with the understanding of patterns." - Fritjof Capra
A big thanks to my dad who, not only taught me how to tie a tie, but gave me an excellent pattern to live by...who once said that I would be great at anything because I'm so good at "figuring things out." (Talk about a confidence boost.)
And to my husband, and all of you father figures, who instill confidence in others and give them a great pattern to follow. You make the world sublime!
More great pattern combinations to spark your creativity.
Looking for a last minute gift dad will love as much as the remote?
Check out new men's packages here or custom suitting that fits him like a glove here.
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Image consultant and personal stylist. Dani is happily married, the mother of 3 charming children, and an Aussie named Josie Wales.