How to Work Prints

“Money talks. Style doesn’t has to.”

 Is your workwear looking even bleaker than your actual job? Perhaps it’s time for a style update.

SM_SuitMaker Printed Matter

Classic, formal menswear is simple and formulaic. You can never go wrong with a crisp, ironed-shirt paired with a matching tie and nicely fitted pair of pants. Heck, maybe even throw on a blazer.

No matter how cut and dried it is, the complexity in day-to-day menswear is in the little details. Most people can’t tell the difference between a plaid shirt from a checkered one, and most people don’t care. However, we’ve found that the people who pay closer attention to the finer details are always the ones that end up looking dapper, stealing the promotion you wanted and perhaps even leaving with the girl.

Now we’ll never tell, but here are some prints, patterns, tips and tricks to updating and reinventing your wardrobe and work towards being the dapper gentleman that you are.



This classic print is incredible chic, stylish and versatile enough to be most commonly found in both sexes’ wardrobe.

The age-old adage whereby vertical stripes elongates your frame, making you look slimmer and taller, whereas horizontal stripes has a tendency to make you look wider still applies. However, we’re open to any successful rule breaking.

Not all prints are made the same, and one interesting thing to look out for is the scale of the stripes. A quirky alternative would be a combination of thinner and wider stripes.



A common print in most men’s formal wear, herringbone gets its distinct print from the way the wool is woven together. Usually found in smaller scale, this is a great alternative to a plain shirt.

Polka Dots


Another versatile and well-loved print, dots are a great way to add depth into your ensemble. Just like stripes, dots can range from really tiny pin-sized dots to larger ones.

Additionally, dots can range from high contrast (dark shirt base colour with a lighter dot color) or closer in tone with the shirt’s base colour.

A great rule of thumb is to stick to smaller sized dots for a more refined, less casual-looking look.

Checked or Gingham


Similar to the previous prints covered, checked prints can range from a smaller scale to larger ones.



A similar resemblance to its sister counterpart, plaid differs from a gingham print by its distinct overlap of stripes of varying colours and width.

One of the busier prints that we’ve covered thus far, we advise to keep an outfit paired with any plaid to a minimum, especially for beginners.



Not a very common pattern, and we assume it’s probably because of how busy the pattern is.

Paisley prints are generally quite loud, but they can range from something more subdued, with the print and the base fabric colour being quite close in shade, or the complete opposite.

An easy trick to trying this print is to start with a paisley tie and a solid-coloured shirt.



Prints, colours and patterns not only ensure you stand out from the sea of navy blues and greys, but it also adds visual interest, depth and texture to your attire.

Or for the people who can’t pinpoint what exactly makes you look good, you simply have the je nais se quoi quality.

Read our previous menswear guide here.

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