Fresh Patterns for Spring and Summer
Spring and summer call for more than just rolled-up sleeves and lighter fabrics: the warmer months present a prime opportunity to play with fresh, bold patterns.
Classic windowpane is the most restrained of the bunch. It’s an overlaid grid of straight, colored lines on a colored background. It’s bolder and busier than any of your solid or striped shirts, but that doesn’t mean it must be casual-only. Pair with a solid tie that contrasts against the pattern for a sharp, unexpected look with suits.
Think of the multi check as a kicked-up windowpane: there’s that same grid of straight, colored lines over a contrasting background, plus another set of intersecting, colored lines that fill up each square. It’s more casual than a windowpane, but you can still make it work with a suit: pick a solid tie that contrasts with one of the colors—but matches with another—to add an extra pop of visual interest.
Busier than both windowpane and multi check, glen plaid combines alternating small and large checks. A fine, colorful pattern like the shirt above is best paired with jeans, chinos, and a favorite pair of loafers.
This pattern traces its roots back to colonial India, where artisans in the city of Madras used colorful vegetable dyes to imitate the tartan plaids worn by Scottish regiments. The result is Madras Plaid: a rich set of overlapping stripes and checks in bright, vibrant colors that seem to “bleed” into one another. The preferred vacation pattern of well-heeled East Coasters in the Mad Men-era, it’s right at home with chino shorts, boat shoes, and (optional) a boat.
We’ve saved the most casual for last. As a category, “prints” is a bit of a catch-all: it refers to any fabric covered with an all-over pictorial design. For instance, a solid blue shirt covered in repeating anchors: or a white shirt covered in blue vines and flowers. Both are bold, but remarkably easy to wear: keep the rest of your outfit simple—jeans or khakis—and let that eye-catching print do all the talking.