Strategic Dressing

The 5 Rules of Pattern Matching

By April 11, 2021No Comments

This guide provides five essential tips for mixing and matching patterns. Understanding how to mix the type or size of the patterns you’re wearing and how to strategically layer them will help you build a successful outfit that will bring you attention from your network for the right reasons.

#1. Keep Colors Muted

Go with colors that you already love and have in your wardrobe so you can focus on the pattern.

  • Blues: Navy, indigo, cobalt, admiral
  • Greens: pine, juniper
  • Browns: chocolate, cinnamon, gingerbread
  • Add white, red, or orange if you want to bring in accent colors to your outfit.

Don’t bring in a color you’re not sure about if you’re trying out a new, super bold pattern. You may look and feel awkward and won’t wear it often.

#2. Bring In Patterns Gradually

Start with patterned accessories

  • Neckwear, pocket squares
  • Can be easily switched out
  • Less expensive for experimenting compared to jackets, trousers, and suits.

Then, add patterns in shirts. Once wearing a patterned shirt and tie becomes comfortable, mix in patterns on jackets.

  • Be very careful with patterned trousers: moving legs against each other create the wrong impression that the patterns are moving and can be off-putting to the eye.

#3. Avoid Similar Patterns Next To Each Other

Avoid patterns of a similar size and type to prevent overwhelming the outfit. For example:

  • Don’t do: a pinstriped suit with a pencil-striped shirt and a pinstriped necktie.
  • Instead: pinstripe suit with a twill shirt and a dotted necktie.

You can also wear patterns next to each other that are the same type but a DIFFERENT size.

  • Pinstriped suit with a Bengal-striped shirt works because the thicknesses of the lines differ.

#4. Complement, Don't Match

Look for colors that work well with other colors in your outfits, rather than exactly matching two pieces of the same pattern and color.

  • Colorful accessories
  • Tie patterns should be at least slightly bigger than the dress shirt pattern to prevent the tie from getting lost.
  • EXCEPTION: the pin dot pattern on the necktie (pictured), subtle enough to pair with a range of pattern sizes.

#5. Practice And Have Fun!

As with any skill, this one takes practice and experimentation. Accept that some outfits together just don’t work, so let yourself make mistakes and learn why they look bad and what is needed to fix them. So few men bring patterns into their style, so stand out from the crowd and level up your style with just a bit of practice with pattern matching.

For more customized style tips, book your Introductory Personal Image Consultation Trajectory (PICT)  with us today. Our team will learn more about your current lifestyle and routine, personal and professional goals, and wardrobe to guide you through exactly what styles and colors will make you look and feel your best. Let us analyze, assess, and ultimately curate the way you present yourself so you can reclaim your time, attract attention for the right reasons, and pursue your goals!


Featured image courtesy of GQ.