Unbuttoned: Shirt Patterns Revisited

If you have taken a look at our website, or men's fashion in general, you will notice there are a large variety of dress shirt patterns available. Ranging from gingham to micro-check and plaid to stripe, knowing what is what can become a little overwhelming. Let alone - what to match it with. Here is a brief overview of our 5 most common patterns and how to wear them.


Pattern #1 - Gingham


What it is: It’s not plaid, it’s not check, it’s gingham! The gingham pattern has had a major resurgence in the last few years due to their popularity with indie musicians. The pattern is an intricate weave of two colors producing a variety of different tones all from the same palateIt comes in many different sizes from micro to large scale, and is very versatile.

How to wear it: The versatility of gingham comes from the size of the checks that are used. Because they are smaller than a plaid pattern, there is really nothing that gingham can’t be paired with. Solid is an obvious choice - such as pairing a pink gingham shirt with a navy suit and brown loafers. If matching with a solid is too boring, be more adventurous by pairing a gingham pattern with a black and white plaid jacket or a pinstriped black business suit. The general rule is to make sure that the patterns you use are not the same size as one another. The same rule goes for ties. As long as the stripes or checks are bigger than your shirt you are golden!


Pattern #2 - Stripe


What is it: No blurred lines with this pattern. Whether narrow or bankers' - stripes are the perfect choice if you arelooking for a conservative style. Stripes are always "in" making this pattern a no-brainer for men in all business levels. These patterns are very flexible, easily worn with other patterns and of course, go with all solids.

How to wear it: If you are wearing a striped shirt, chances are it has more than one color. Determine the most pronounced colour of your striped shirt and ensure the tie you choose has the same or coordinating colorThe general rule of varying scale also applies with stripes. A striped shirt and striped tie can go compliment a solid suit quite nicely - as long as the tie has wider stripes. In contrast, using a solid tie with a striped shirt and striped suit will both bind together and lower the volume of an ensemble. 


Pattern #3 - Plaid


What it is: This isn't your first rodeo, so you know that plaid isn't just for cowboys anymore. Plaid is making a comeback - especially when it's paired with a polished suit. This pattern consists of crossed horizontal and vertical bands in two or more colors. Make sure to use plaid sparingly - one plaid item per outfit is best.

How to wear it: Most men would not consider plaid as "dressy", but it definitely can be. Plaid is tricky to pull off due to its "rural roots", but once you've got it - you've got it. Consider keeping your suit as simple patterned as possible, aiming more towards solids or narrow stripes. And keep your tie dark. A dark tie is key. If you go for a patterned tie, make sure it is a smaller pattern that compliments the plaid.


Pattern #4 - Herringbone


What it is: The herringbone pattern consists of rows of short, slanted parallel lines that alternate direction. You can find herringbone in varying scales, though in suits and shirts, they are usually small. The king herringbone (on left) is the largest width herringbone pattern we carry and possesses an extremely soft feel. Due to it's small weave, herringbone is easy to wear with bold patterns and colors.

How to wear it: Herringbone is basically a solid shirt with a bit of texture. Pair it with whatever your heart desires. Striped or paisley ties, check or stripe suits. You can even pair a herringbone shirt with a herringbone suit if you do it carefully. Remember, it is all about scale. Try a king herringbone shirt with a basic herringbone suit and a loud tie. You'll know if it works or not.


Pattern #5 - Check


What it is: Very similar to gingham, the check pattern is a combination of vertical and horizontal overlapping lines. We offer both check and mini-check patterns for our shirts. These patterns usually consists of one color with white and unlike gingham, the checks do not have a different "combination color" where the lines meet. 

How to wear it: When pairing a tie with a check pattern, the sky is the limit. Small checks appear solid from afar, and therefore look great with a thin stripe tie pattern. Try a thicker striped tie on bigger checks such as the blue and mulberry shown above. Other simple patterns of ties (dots, diagonal lines) work great as long as you keep your colors to a minimum. Try to stay with 3 or less colors (including the shirt). Check patterned shirts also go with almost every pattern/color of suit, houndstooth may be iffy.

Andy Huynh
Andy Huynh