Your Essential Guide to Suit Patterns: What Pattern Should You Choose?

Suits come in different colours as well as patterns, and if you already have a suit in a solid colour such as navy or grey, you may be good to go when it comes to business or formal events. But if you are intending to expand your suit wardrobe with something more unique, you may well consider a suit with a pattern. Patterned suits can look great at various occasions and events, and they are an excellent choice if you want a suit with more personality and style. But there is such a thing as choosing the right pattern as well. Here, then, is your essential guide to suit patterns: what pattern should you choose?

How to decide

Of course, if you are ordering your very first suit from a bespoke or made to measure tailor such as, it pays to go for a solid colour such as the aforementioned navy or grey. But if this is already your third or fourth suit, you can go with a pattern. In fact, plain isn’t really plain in terms of suits, especially if you choose worsted wool, which is the material of which most business suits are made. There are pick-and-pick as well as nailhead, which many of us see as plain but are, in fact, patterned, and even herringbone may look plain, too.

Generally speaking, a little detail on the surface of a suit is a good thing, unless you are trying to go for a really smooth and sleek look. A bit of texture will make a suit look more interesting, and it can contrast very well with the sheen of a tie. Here’s a tip: if you are considering your third suit, herringbone is a good pattern as it adds interest yet doesn’t detract from the seriousness or formality of your outfit.

Your choices

  • Stripes

Stripes in a simple and long design may be a good option if you want to remain on the conservative side. Pinstripes are the most common form of striped pattern, and they are barely distinguishable as they are only long and thin white lines or a similar colour which can contrast with the suit’s background. But there is indeed a thin line between looking sleek and professional with thin pinstripes and looking cartoonish with widely-spaced white stripes, so be careful.

The great aspect of stripes is that they can make you look taller, and if you are on the short side, it should be a flattering pattern. Unless you are a giant, pinstripes generally look good on men.

  • Checks

The best kind of checkered pattern is the Glenurquhart plaid or glen plaid. It is comprised of several lines that overlap, and the Duke of Windsor made the pattern more popular in recent times. You can choose it in a faint pattern to add texture to a suit, but it can be stronger as well, which makes it more suitable for sportswear. The main difference is in the check’s size as well as the tone of the blue or grey with which the plaid is paired.

You can also go for overchecks, which are single lines that follow an undercheck yet outline the undercheck, which adds a bit of colour. Blue is a standard and orange is ideal, although pink and lime green are becoming a trend as well.