Shirts come in such a wide variety of patterns to choose from, it's often overwhelming for those used to dressing in solid colors to branch out. This short guide should help dispel any mysteries surrounding pattern types.
Dot patterns are, of course, exactly what they sound: a series of evenly-spaced colored dots against a complementary solid color. You'll generally find dot patterns in two different styles: polka and pin.
A whimsical and lighthearted pattern, polka dots are often wide in diameter and placed close together. Usually seen as white dots against a solid bright color, the polka dot brings the perfect spring/summer vibe.
Pin dots are smaller in diameter, and often placed in tighter concentration than the polka dot. Also known as the Churchill dot after Sir Winston Churchill adopted the pattern as his personal trademark, pin dots are most commonly found on ties, often in understated hues of navy and grey. More formal than the polka dot, though not entirely without a sense of adventure.
What's a tiger without his stripes? Long considered a necessary staple in any collection, the classic striped shirt comes in a number of different widths and color schemes - almost too many to list here. The following are three of the most common stripes that you'll find here at Well Suited.
Pinstripes are thin, sometimes broken, vertical lines of the same color set between wide gaps of usually white or cream. The most subtle and formal of the stripe patterns, it is often worn for wedding, presentations, and interviews.
The barcode patterns is exactly how it sounds - stripes of varying width and color (often different tones of the same hue) that sit close together to mimic a barcode. Frequently implemented by designer brands such as Bugatchi and Paul Smith, the barcode stripe is designed for a night out on the town when you really want to turn some heads.
Shadow stripes fit somewhere in between the pin and barcode styles. Made of a multitude of colors, shirtmakers place two stripes of high-contrasting colors adjacent to each other, to give the illusion of a shadow on one or both sides of the stripe. Depending on color, shadowstripes can be a smart, dressy addition to your outfit, or give a light, carefree attitude.
In recent years, checked patterns — also referred to as plaids — have taken over where stripes once reigned supreme. This is due to their versatility of style and near-limitless range. Here are some checks to watch out for.
The gingham check is the new standard. It is made of a uniform series of medium-weight vertical and horizontal stripes that cross over each other on a white background. The perfect balance between formal and casual, this will quickly prove to be your favorite shirt.
Made famous by the Scots and their kilts, the tartan plaid is most commonly seen on flannel. Manufacturers such as the local Pendleton are especially fond of this pattern. While typically a casual look, when worn with a suit and tie, the right tartan can create a look that is functional and smart.
The windowpane check is a series of wide-set horizontal and vertical stripes against a solid background, resembling its namesake. This pattern is bolder than its cousin, the gingham, and is also found sport coats and suits.
There are many more patterns and styles to choose from, and we have them all right here at Well Suited. Now that you have this handy guide, you will be much more equipped for your journey down the road of men's style. Stay tuned next week when we will show you how to mix and match your new patterned shirts with patterned ties.