Ever since I started my style journey I have taken due consideration of the rules a learner has to engage in order to be an eventual master. And I’m still learning. One thing, however, that I seem to execute expertly without any challenges or faux pas is pattern mixing. I don’t know how it happens but I just see to be able to pull it off and this is without any serious forethought. This ranges from two to three patterns, and the overall look is always aesthetically pleasing and presentable. Let’s go back to a tie when I was deceiving myself thinking I had this style thing on lock. Without thinking about it, I had actually executed mixing three patterns unknowingly and unintentionally.
This picture was taken in 2011, but in 2006, when I was far from any inkling of dressing presentably, I wore this exact navy blue suit with bright blue pin stripes, this striped tie and a white shirt with a blue rice stripe. The picture taken in 2011 features a white spread collar shirt not the striped one (that one was stolen along with my car). However, when I think back to that time I’m quite amazed at myself and the level of execution, and just how effortless it was. One thing I will concede is that my pattern mixing back then was guided by colour as opposed to contrast and scale. A suit with blue stripes, a shirt with blue stripes and a tie with blue stripes, that just sounds and looks like too much of one colour which can be quite boring. In fact, there was a time when I wore this exact tie with a hairline stripe shirt, bad idea and very jarring to the eye. I’m actually shaking my head at the fact that I was under the impression that I was styling heavily…meanwhile.
The great thing about pattern mixing is that it can be learned starting from one pattern, using a patterned suit as the foundation and then building from that. The next step can be a patterned suit and tie. This aspect also needs one to take contrast and scale into consideration. Just because it is two patterns it doesn't mean there won’t be a clash. So a contrast and scale in both the patterns of the suit and tie need to be duly considered. Even in instances where the suit and shirt are patterned, consideration of scale and contrast must be given a thought. Scale and contrast are important because they either hold together or spoil multiple patterns. This guideline must also be considered when dealing with different patterns in one ensemble and patterns from the same family because the end goal is for a harmonious and visually appealing aesthetic.
PG: Man to man, generation to generation.