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It's rare to find a suit that lacks any sort of texture or pattern. While this fact makes it especially hard to take separate pieces of an outfit and put them together, this guide to common suit patterns and how to use them should help somewhat.


Houndstooth comes in a variety of colors, from stark, modern black and white to warm, rugged brown. Unless your style is particularly edgy, it's typically a good idea to stick to a tiny version of the pattern (sometimes called "puppytooth") with a low contrast. Worn correctly, it can be incredibly hip. Gray or black houndstooth pairs well with a pink or red tie, while the brown variety goes well with green and mustard.

kellyhogaboom via photo pin cc 


Pinstripes are the most common suit pattern. While they appear to be solid, thin stripes spanning the fabric, the stripes are actually composed of tiny dots lined up directly next to each other, hence the name. There are many variations on the pinstripe, but it typically comes in a single stripe in black and white, gray or navy. Pinstripe suits are easily paired with vertically striped shirts and diagonally striped ties. The secret to blending stripes is making sure they're all various widths so that they eye doesn't have to work too hard to tell between the different pieces.

Jared Zimmerman via photo pin cc


Herringbone, like houndstooth, typically comes in a black and white, gray, or brown variety. However, it is much more neutral and accessible to style rookies because of the pattern's simplicity. It can be paired with any number of colors, but blue is particularly good, especially with brown or gray herringbone. If you'd like to step up the chic factor a bit, try pairing it with purple.

eebeejay via photo pin cc 

Glen Plaid

Glen plaid is nearly as common on suits as pinstripes. It can be seen on everything from suits, shirts and ties to sneakers and backpacks. It most often comes in various shades of gray, and can be paired with any number of colors. Red ties with a tiny dot pattern tend to pop especially well, and it's perfectly acceptable to wear striped or checkered shirts. Again, make sure that not every piece has the same pattern size and level of contrast. 

A Continuous Lean via photo pin cc
Remember: the key with patterns is to mix it up and keep from making the eyes work harder to tell where the tie ends and the suit begins. Curious about what these patterns look like in person? If you're having trouble visualizing these combinations, come to our Traveling Tailor event next weekend and browse our fabric selection. If you're not already tweeting about it, why not start now?

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