If the phrase “patterned suits” made you think of Austin Powers, we forgive you. Most men find patterned suits too risky an option, and instead stick to safe bets like black, navy blue and grey suits. But patterned suits can be everything from fun to sombre. Here we take a look at six of the most popular suit patterns in the market.
1) Glen plaid suits
Reminiscent of European aristocracy, the Glen plaid enjoys a rich and distinguished history. It’s essentially a woollen fabric with a woven twill design of small and large checks. Owing to the check design, the making of a Glen plaid suit calls for a tailor with expertise since the checks have to align harmoniously at the seams. Glen plaid suits can easily be worn in formal work environments.
Unlike regular plaids, the windowpane checks give a more checkered effect owing to the wide spacement of the checks. The look can be sombre or bold based on the color or the check stripe. If the stripes of the check are close to the tone of the body, then it can be worn to formal settings, but if the check stripes are bold and contrasting to the body, then it’d be more suited for parties.
3) Pinstripe suits
Pinstripes or bankers stripes started out in the 19th century, when they were used in banker uniforms, with each bank having their own stripe. Even today, it’s associated with banking and financial institutions. The pinstripe, looks exactly like what the name suggests – stripes made by a pin. Pinstripe suits are ideal for corporate settings, thanks to the subtlety of the stripes, and the closer it matches the body, the more sombre it looks. Pinstripe suits are traditionally worn to jobs in the finance field, but they can easily be worked into every man’s formal wear repertoire.
4) Chalk stripe suits
Chalk stripes are closely related to pinstripes, the only difference being the width of the stripe. The name is derived from the fact that they look like stripes made by a tailor’s chalk on fabric. Chalk stripe suits are flashier than pinstripe suits and are ideal if you want the stripes to be predominant. Wear chalk stripe suits for boardroom meetings, when you need to draw attention and convey a powerful image.
The herringbone suit pattern comes from the repeated inverted V’s created by the twill weave. It’s a versatile pattern, and can be found on everything from semi-casual olive or brown blazers to neutral toned business suits.
The houndstooth pattern can trace its roots back to Scotland in the 1800’s. The fabric got its name because it looks like a repeated hound’s tooth pattern. As such, houndstooth fabric is mostly used in suit jackets and blazers rather than full suits. It’s a very bold look, even when employed only on suit jackets or blazers, so wear them to casual events and parties.
We hope this helped you familiarise yourself with the six most popular men’s suit patterns. There are a few things to remember though – a patterned suit is memorable and therefore should not be part of your core suit collection. They can ideally be your fourth or fifth purchase. And high quality fabrics and beautiful tailoring are very important here since patterns make mistakes show more easily compared to a solid dark suit. And finally, don’t forget the importance of pairing your patterned suits with the right shirts and ties. Thankfully we’ve done a post on the subject that you’ll find helpful.
Image Credits: Herringbones – sprucelondon.com, Houndstooth – stylemakerfabrics.com