As with all existing patterns, stripes can certainly be a two edged sword: they can add a lot of style and class to an elegant ensemble, or they can be overdone and completely destroy what would otherwise be a perfect look, whether we are talking about suits or even casual styles.
While you can simply ignore stripes or just stick to a single stripe pattern in your outfits, the truth is, it’s really not that fun!
If you find it difficult to successfully match different striped patterns within a single outfit, you are definitely not alone. Many men have trouble finding the right balance to make sure they look great while still having fun with their striped garments.
Proof: you’ll hardly find pictures of men in suits mixing more than one single striped pattern. But it can be done!
And I’ve got good news for you all, my classy friends: it really isn’t that hard – we just need to follow three basic rules to match your stripes.
Let’s take a look at each of them.
The 3 Basic Rules To Mix And Match Striped Patterns
Do not repeat striped patterns.
A very simple rule to follow: you can wear a striped pattern on your tie and a different one on your shirt. This should work as long as these two patterns are NOT the same.
Ideally you would want to mix diagonal stripes on your tie with vertical lines on your shirt. The same rule applies to all garments in your ensemble: suit, jackets, pocket square, etc. The key takeaway is not to repeat the pattern more than once.
Go for different stripe proportions.
Already wearing a tie with wide stripes? Then choose very thin stripes for your shirt. Matching wide stripes with wide stripes can make you look “heavy”, while thing stripes with thin stripes can be messy if not done carefully.
Wide and thin stripes can be a killer look!
If you have followed the two previous rules you are pretty much on the safe side now, but what if the colors you choose have no real harmony with each other? Make sure you go back to the basic color coordination rules, it’s always a good idea to do so every now and then.
Leave the wild, clashing colors to your other accessories and only when it makes sense to do so, or when not working with overpowering patterns.
Extra tip: Enhance with a different pattern
Okay, so you were super careful in applying the 3 previous rules to your outfit, in the strictest theory, you must be looking dapper and well matched. But what if you just want to be 100% sure that you are KILLING it with your look?
Well, this extra tip will help you achieve that next level: add a plain garment to your outfit. This simple secret will make the stripes stand out and enhance your ensemble to perfection.
A Few Great Examples:
Wide stripes on tie, thin stripes on shirt. In this great example we can see how the first rules is perfectly applied. We have a very wide striped pattern over a thin pattern on the shirt.
Oh and see the contrasting plain white collar? This detail took this ensemble to a whole new level!
Pinstripe suit and striped tie. Here we have an amazing pinstripe suit paired with a colorful tie with stripes in many different widths. You can see how they match perfectly together with a plain white shirt. Blue and gold go great together, making this outfit an absolute winner.
Three different stripe patterns. In case 2 different stripe patterns are not enough of a challenge to you, then go for 3! As long as you respect the three rules I have described, you will succeed. In this example we have a striped shirt, striped tie and a three piece striped suit; and yet it looks amazingly put together. And one again, we have the plain details in the pocket square and lapel flower.
(Read also: Matching suits and shoes. The ultimate guide).
There’s no excuse to shy away from an adventurous ensemble full of different stripes. All we need to do is stick to this three basic rules!
What other difficulties have you found when trying to mix different patterns? Leave them in your comments below.