Patterns - How to Wear | St James's London


Patterns - How to Wear

If anyone can write the rules of wearing pattern, it's Simon Maloney.

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Patterns can be a fickle thing. When executed well, they can feel classic and distinguished, or carry a pleasant punch. When assembled haphazardly however, they are best observed while wearing a pair of sunglasses. Simon Maloney of New & Lingwood breaks down the do’s and don’ts when incorporating pattern into your wardrobe.

01. It’s all a balancing act

Temper a bold jacket with a plain or semi-plain shirt and tie. Try it vice versa, but avoid matching bold with bold. Mixing two patterns is encouraged, three with caution. “If I wear a bold jacket, I wear a plain tie because I want the jacket to speak,” he says. Remember that patterns compete with one another. Tone it down to let a single pattern shine through.

02 Complementary colours 101

A colour wheel is a just quick google away, and is best referenced for entry-level matching. Colours situated on opposite ends of the wheel create a contrast that’s intriguing to the eye. That’s a broad brush tip as to what goes with what, and applies to more than patterns.

03 Colour, set and match

Observe the details. Bring out a nuanced fleck of colour in a paisley tie or pocket square, for instance, by echoing it in a shirt. This can also work well with textured patterns like tweeds or tartans. Tie the look together by matching the innate colours to another piece in the ensemble.

04 Confidence is key

People can smell fear, and the same can be said when sartorial confidence is lacking. As soon as the ensemble is on, the wearer shouldn’t think about it. “If you’re a bit of a shrinking violet, don’t try it because the suit’s going to be wearing you.”

05 Consider texture

Remember that patterns aren’t only print, they are texture too. Textured patterns such as a herringbone or a tweed are a safe way to keep it interesting. Contrast a matt jacket with the shine of a silk tie. If the jacket is lustrous, keep the tie matt.

06 Size doesn’t matter

There is no such thing as a pattern too big if the wearer feels comfortable in it. Otherwise, says Maloney, they wouldn’t make half the things in the store. Some of the most successful auctioneers or art dealers have created a personal trademark of wearing something ashy. It all depends on personality.

07 Don’t double up

Never match your pocket square with your tie. “If I wear a tartan tie, I would never wear a tartan pocket handkerchief,” Maloney says. “I may decide the tie is enough on its own, or I may wear a bow in my pocket hole to bring out the colour.”