Pattern Mixing for Men

Pattern mixing is a popular fashion trend right now for women – but, for men, pattern mixing is just part of their everyday suit and Sunday attire.

BJ Stringham with Utah Woolen Mills explains the four-step formula men should follow.

You’d wear that with that?!?!

Ladies, wouldn’t it be nice if your man knew how to dress himself? I know it sounds like a pipedream and as attainable as training him to put the toilet seat down. But in his defense, he has evolved from a primate. Ask him to do a grunt, beat his chest, or slobber and he will gladly oblige. Ask him to match clothes and you’ve just exploded his skill set and literally blown his mind.

Can he wear a check shirt with a patterned tie? Can he wear a paisley tie with a striped shirt? Heaven forbid he wear a dress shirt other than the color white, which by the way, white is the complete absence of color. What simple rules can help you guide him to becoming a man that can dress himself when you are not around? Below are some tips that will help you avoid dressing him in things that will make other people dizzy from looking at two patterns that don’t complement each other.

Try to remember this acronym, CUPS:


1) Color – Try to think of it as stock portfolio. Diversification is the key to a successful portfolio and is no different than your closet. Don’t be afraid of using contrasting colors in your shirt/tie/suit combinations. When you hear people talking about warm and cool tones, they are basically referring to browns/creams/reds/oranges and cool tones are blues/greys/blacks/purples. What you need to know is that warm tones are nicely complimented with cool tones and visa versa. If you are going for a safer look, matching every article you are wearing to in the same tone will accomplish just that, but that’s what you’ve been doing your whole life. Instead try using contrasting tones to liven your wardrobe.

2) Undertones – Look for the colors that are part of the supporting cast of an ensemble. If there is a tan stripe in your jacket, try to use that tan as the dominant color in your tie. Using the subtle undertones in the main article and complimenting those with either the accompanying pants or socks, will give you a look that is fun yet obvious you know what you are doing. (Even if you don’t)

3) Pattern – Remember to contrast the style of the patterns you are trying to match. For example if you have a small pattern in your shirt, make sure the pattern in your tie is either solid or a bigger pattern so the patterns aren’t competing for your eye’s attention. A paisley goes great against a stripe, or a check patterned shirt goes well with a tie that has geometric shapes of a larger or smaller size. With patterns, just remember that contrast is your friend. Remembering that patterns are to be contrasted in style and size will help you create some very fashionable looks and garner more confidence in your ability to dress your man.

4) Size – Size definitely matters when it comes to contrasting different items in your wardrobe. This rule is simple. Our eyes can be easily confused when there is too much going on. Putting a small polka dot pattern tie on a small check shirt will make the observer feel dizzy and that something doesn’t quite jive. Contrast the size in the two patterns you are trying to combine and you will be successful. If you want to put the polka dot and the check together, make sure the check is subtle and the polka dot is larger and the dominant statement of the two.

As you learn to combine colors and patterns, remember the key is that you want to avoid the “dizzy effect”. CUPS will help you navigate the seas of matching patterns. The best advise we can give you is to have somebody who knows how to put these things together help you learn what works. And the more you practice, the less you’ll need someone like me to help you put it together.

Utah Woolen Mills, located in Salt Lake City, Utah, is your premier resource for
Men and Women’s Fine Clothing.

Utah Woolen Mills
59 W. South Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Phone: (801) 364-1851
Fax: (801) 364-1854

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