man in black suit with pattern

5 Tips for Matching Patterns

Whether it’s a fun, vibrant, summer pattern, or a muted, neutral design, patterns can add a bit of spice to any suit – as long as they’re done right. If you’ve been wanting to add a bit of fun to your formal wear, but aren’t sure how you’ve come to the right place.

By the time you’re done reading through our top tips for matching patterns, you will be a pattern pro. Say goodbye to boring, one-tone wonders, and hello to your funky new formal wear.

  1. Choose one focus pattern and one accent pattern.

Your outfit should have one pattern that dominates. This is the pattern that draws attention; it’s bold, it’s big. If you want to throw another pattern in the mix, it should be a pattern that compliments this big, bold pattern, not one that competes with it. If both of your patterns are too much, they will clash, and your outfit may end up looking messy or chaotic.

  1. Keep your pieces within the same colour palette.

This isn’t a hard rule – mixing colours can be fun. If you are new to the pattern game, keeping your patterns within the same colour family is a great way to play it safe. Keeping within the same colour palette will help give your patterns a unified look, despite their unique designs. This doesn’t mean, however, that your patterns have to be exactly the same colour. If your patterned piece is a multi-coloured floral, pull colours from that piece for your other pieces. If you are wearing neutrals, add some texture by using different shades of the same colour.

  1. Mix up the scales of your patterns.

Whether your patterns are similar or totally different, playing with scale will add texture to your outfit as well as ensuring the patterns aren’t overdone. This keeps with our first rule: one focus print and one accent print. Pair thick stripes with pinstripes or bold floral with delicate floral; or mix it up and pair tiny polka dots with heavy plaid, or dainty animal print with a vibrant abstract piece.

Whatever you do, ensure your patterns are not competing for attention. Balancing the scales of your patterns will keep the balance of your outfit as a whole. 

  1. Break up the patterns with neutral pieces or accessories.

A great way to keep your patterns from overpowering each other is to break them up by separating them with neutral pieces or accessories. Patterned tie and patterned vest? Wear a solid colored shirt. Patterned shirt and patterned pants? Throw on a nice, neutral belt.

These touches add definition and tidiness to your outfit.

  1. Use patterned accessories for a smaller touch.

If you don’t want to go too bold but are still looking for that pop of pattern in your outfit, consider adding some patterned accessories. A funky tie, unique pocket square, or fun vest can be a great way to spice up your outfit without diving off the deep end into the pattern pool.

If you stick to these 5 tips for matching patterns, your outfit is sure to be on point. You’ll be dressed to impress for that upcoming wedding, big business meeting, or fancy dinner date just around the corner. Want to stand out at your next event? Contact SUITS by Curtis Eliot.