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Mixing patterns in your suit, shirt and tie.

Wearing patterns in your suit, shirt and tie is a great way to add a little character to your look. When mixing patterns some care needs to be taken when choosing what patterns to wear together. As a general rule you should avoid wearing the same pattern on all items, for example a striped shirt, tie, suit.  An exception to this rule is when all the stripes are different. Notice in the picture below the differences between the stripes in the three items. allstripes

I prefer the tie to have the boldest stripes, as in the picture, to help it stand out against everything else.

If you choose to wear both a patterned shirt and tie, such as stripped shirt and a patterned tie, these should be worn with an understated suit.  With so much going on between the shirt and tie a boldly patterned suit could create a look that is too busy.  Remember, the bolder the shirt and tie combination, the plainer the suit should be.  If you want to pair a checked shirt with a stripped suit it is said that the width of the check should be about equal to the width of the stripes of the suit.  In this situation I would suggest a solid or subdued tie to avoid there being to much going on.

Brown and blue

If you have a suit with a pattern such as a tweed, check or bird’s eye I suggest pairing it with a more plain tie and/or shirt because of all the texture the suit or jacket provide.  Below-top is a classic combination perfect for the country or the weekend.  Below-bottom is a bird’s eye suit that uses a solid tie to tone down the patterns of the look while still demonstrating bold contrast through color.  The bolder the check or pattern on the suit the plainer the shirt and/or tie should be under it.  Tweedgrey birdseye

The material of the tie itself also can contribute an interesting touch.  A wool or knitted tie can do what a pattern does by adding texture, even when the color is a solid or very plain.  The most formal ties are silk though.knitted tie

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