Being affiliated with Michael Andrews Bespoke for more than five years, first as a client, then a part-time consultant, and now the head of Sales and Business Development, Alex Yampolsky has learned a thing or two about how to wear a suit.
He’s also learned a thing or two about what confuses and frustrates men when it comes to getting suited up. Near the top of that list: mixing patterns in suit/shirt/tie combinations. Stripes with checks? Plaids with paisleys? What’s too much?
Last week we caught up with the sky diving, Ducati driving, all-around adventure enthusiast to see how he pulls it all together and to share some pointers on pattern-mixing.
1. Color Story
For the sake of simplicity, we can start by breaking down a suited look into three components: Suit, Shirt and Tie (although other items can have patterns too, such as pocket squares and socks).
We can also break down all menswear patterns into three simple categories: Stripes, Checks (plaids, windowpanes, etc) and Repeats (dots, symmetrical prints, etc).
If you’re new to pattern-mixing, it’s easiest to start by following the “2 out of 3 rule”. Meaning two out of three components (suit, shirt or tie) can have a pattern, but one should be solid. Example: solid suit, stripe shirt, pindot tie.
If you’re a little more advanced and looking to wear three patterns together, it’s easiest to start by wearing one of each of the three types.
For example, in this look Alex pairs a subtle check suit with bengal stripe shirt and a repeat floral tie.
By differentiating the patterns on all three items, none of them compete or distract.
Another useful guideline for creating cohesion among patterns: carry one color throughout each of the pieces.
For example, each item Alex is wearing has some form of lavender (the subtle line in the suit fabric, the stripe on the shirt, the flowers on the tie, the striped socks, etc).
This brings the individual pieces together and creates a finished look.
- Purple stripe cutaway collar dress shirt by Michael Andrews Bespoke
- Grey windowpane suit by Michael Andrews Bespoke
- Forest green silk tie by Robert Talbott
- Sterling Silver tie bar by Tiffany & Co.
- Lavender cotton pocket square by Michael Kors
- Lavender stripe socks by Hugo Boss
- Brown suede captoe shoes by Scarpe di Bianco