If you aren’t sure where to start, here are my top five fashion rules to break now.
Do not mix patterns – How preposterous. This rule was doomed from the start because menswear suiting fabric is often patterned: pinstripes, herringbone, and houndstooth to name a few. It would be tragic not to pair these fabrics with a printed shirt, jacket, or sweater. Pattern mixing is easy once you understand a few basics.
- When mixing patterns, one pattern is the star, and the other pattern is the supporting character. If both patterns stand out, it creates a lot of noise, and your eye does not know where to go. Then, neither pattern makes an impact. When one pattern pops and the other pattern supports it, it provides an interesting twist without visual overload.
- Look for two patterns that share similar colors. When there is color continuity, it creates a visual flow to your outfit.
- Graphic patterns pair well with rounded ones. As a Personal Image Consultant, One of my favorite pattern pairings is a stripe with a floral print. When they share colors and one print is more prominent than the other, it is a no-brainer.
- Printed fabric that appears solid from a distance or when you squint at it is treated as a solid color. Some suiting fabric is very subtly printed or there is little contrast in the colors. Gray herringbone trousers from a distance likely appear like solid gray slacks. Wear any pattern with pieces like this.
While pattern mixing is not for everyone, you will not know until you try it. I hope you do!
Do not mix navy and black or brown and black. These color combinations flow beautifully together. Add them to your style arsenal if you have not already. I love a navy blazer with a black sweater vest underneath, for example. It is understated yet slightly unexpected. One of my favorite ways to wear black and brown together is black jeans with brown boots. Play around with various contrasts and see what you like. The pairing works easily when there is a bit of contrast between the two colors, allowing one color to pop (much like with pattern mixing mentioned above).
Admittedly, these color combinations are less successful in suiting. As a Personal Image Consultant, I would not recommend a navy blazer with black suit trousers unless there is black in the blazer so it looks purposeful instead of accidental (got dressed in the dark). One way to pair these colors successfully with suiting is to keep the suit one color and bring the second color into the look. For example, wear a camel dress shoe with a black suit for a sharp, distinctive look.
If you’d like some expert advice from your Personal Image Consultant on how to make it a little more “exciting” or “you,” please reach out to schedule an introductory call. I’d love to hear from you!
Keep it sassy, Indy!
Beth Divine, MA, AICI-CIC
Personal Image Consultant