How to Match Patterns on Shirts, Suits, and Ties

The Art of Matching Patterns
Navy suit, white dress shirt, and striped navy blue tie – the same old look so many men chose when dressing for work. Even if a suit and tie is part of your daily business attire there is no need to make it look like a day-in-and-day-out type of uniform. Instead look for ways to add your own personal touch and a sense of personal style. Learn how to find colors that best compliment your complexion, find cuts that best fit your body type, and learn the art of combining different patterns into one outfit. Once you know some simple principles you will be able to find a new personal look that is unique, but nevertheless fits into any, even the most conservative, office environment. This quick guide will focus on how to match different patterns on suit, shirt, ties, and other accessories.

Matching Patterns for the Beginner
The fewer patterns you try to combine the easier it will be. Therefore, if the idea of combining stripes, checks, paisleys, polka dots, and other patterns into one outfit is something foreign to you, then you may want to start with just two different patterns. A great way to do so is by wearing a pin-striped suit with a solid color dress shirt. Since the tie will be on a solid canvas no special consideration about the tie pattern is needed. You can choose any style or pattern you like as long as the colors harmonize with the rest of your outfit. An alternative option is a solid suit with a patterned dress shirt. Wearing a striped or check pattern dress shirt with a solid suit is a great way to create a new look when dressing on a budget. Best are dress shirts that combine the colors white and blue, or gray and white in form of stripes or checks. These colors will go with almost any suit and will look nice in any season.

Matching Patterns for the Advanced
It is no problem to combine different patterns on shirt, suit, and tie if you follow one simple principle: Mare sure that the patterns are different in size on each clothing item. A good example might be a fine pin-striped suit, a larger checkered dress shirt and a tie with a very fine paisley pattern. Combining multiple patterns on these three clothing items will require a larger wardrobe and may also require a bigger budget. If a suit and tie is part is your daily work attire then you may want to invest in at least 2-3 suits, 7-10 dress shirts, and 10-15 ties.

Matching Patterns for the Suit & Tie Aficionado
Even if you work in a very conservative office environment, there are an endless amount of very exciting options to dress in suit and tie. How about combining four different patterns on suit, shirt, tie, and handkerchief? Again, this is no problem if you follow the principle that those patterns that are in direct contact with one another are different in size. A good example might be: A glen-check pattern suit, narrow striped dress shirt, a necktie with large paisley pattern, and a very fine foulard pattern hanky.

Still not enough? Then learn the art of combining different fabric weaves and different colors. A great starting point is by choosing different footwear, as well as adding more unique accessories such as your belt and your cuff links. We hope this guide was helpful. Next time we will talk about different colors. How to match them, what time if the day and in what season to wear them, and what colors will look best with your complexion.

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Job Interview Etiquette

(Last updated: June 2018)

Although this post is now almost 9 years old, few things have changed. We recently received a call referencing this post, asking if all still holds true. Most things do indeed, yet we did add a few more tips (see below).

First Impressions
First impressions are formed within the first few seconds after meeting someone. Your handshake, the way you walk, eye-contact, facial impressions, and the way you are dressed can all have a positive or negative impact. Make sure to clean up before your interview. Avoid facial hair, make sure your hands are well manicured, and that you dress in your best looking and the right type of clothing. For more tips on how to dress, you may also want to read our tutorial on Interview Attire, as well as check out post on Pairing Ties to certain Professions. Make eye contact when first meeting but do not stare. (Update June 2018): All still true. Interested what makes good and bad first impressions? Then check out this infographic we created after surveying Women’s take on menswear Do’s and Dont’s.

Basic Interview Etiquette
Make sure to be well prepared for your interview. Before you go, make sure to read up on the company and the office/branch your are interviewing for. Having some industry and company specific knowledge is not only helpful for you but it will also show that you have done your homework and that you are serious about the position. Even if you feel like you have a good understanding about the business, do not brag and do not try to show that you have done your reading. Instead show your knowledge in the questions you are asking, like: “I have recently read that ABC company is looking to expand into the XYZ business, how do you think this may impact your current sector?” Asking questions similar to this one shows that you have read up on the business, but it does not come across like you are trying too hard to show that you have done so. Instead it shows that you are interested to learn more.

During the interview take notes but do not try to write en essay. Make eye contact and only write those things down that interest you and that you may want to read up on later or refer to later on in questions you may be asking.

Post Interview Etiquette
The time after the interview is a perfect opportunity to differentiate yourself. Make sure to thank the person for the interview and for the opportunity. The best way to do so is with a handwritten Thank You note. Few people take the time to do so and if you do, it will be remembered. Especially if you apply for a position with much interpersonal interaction, like sales for example, doing this may be the deciding factor to land you the job you want.