04 Feb

Dressing the Modern Man: Pattern & Color Mixing

For the professional modern man, who dresses in formal business attire or executive business casual, it is critical to understand how to mix patterns to compliment one another and blend with other colors. This is called the Rules of Coordination. Here are some tips to be sure you are mixing your patterns to scale. It’s always safe to mix two patterns, but if you are mixing three, you really need the help of a men’s clothing expert. If you have a shirt and a tie with the same pattern like stripes, you want to be sure the two stripes are of a different scale. Here is an example of Matt Lauer wearing a large blue checked suit with a small scaled blue/white checked shirt and a solid blue tie.


If you decide to mix two completely different patterns like stripes and geometric shapes, be sure to remember again they need to be different in size of scale. If you select a striped pinstripe shirt and you want to wear it with a geometric tie with a color that ties the two together, be sure the if the pinstripe is small and subtle to have accent it with a large geometric tie. Here is an example of a man wearing a wide gray pinstripe suit mixed with a blue, gray and white abstract tie.


When mixing patterns, if you have a faint pinstripe on a suit, you may treat the suit as a solid color and mix it with two other patterns. When wearing a jacket, shirt and tie, be sure to tie in one coordinating color in all three pieces to pull the outfit together. You may have a blue suit paired with a white and subtle blue pinstripe shirt and a jacquard tie with blue and red in it. If you do decide to try to mix three patterns work with an expert so that you know how to tie them all together beautifully. Robert Talbott is the best reference for mixing colors and patterns for men. Here is an example of how they blended three patterns. The model is wearing a charcoal gray wide pinstripe suit paired with a small pinstriped white and gray tie and a purple, gray and white small geometric tie. Notice the colors they tie together along with the different scales of the patterns.


Men that dress with mixing patterns and colors create interest in their style. These are the men that women notice and admire singing every girl’s crazy about a sharped dressed man.

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Sarah Hathorn
Sarah Hathorn, CEO of Hathorn Consulting Group, is the go-to-expert in working with leaders and companies to create successful corporate DNA. As an executive coach, consultant and speaker she collaborates globally with clients and brands such as Kimberly-Clark, Sherwin-Williams, Home Depot and other leading organizations.
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