Dress Code: How To Wear Print

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Dress Code: How To Wear Print

Words by Mr Shane C Kurup | Photography by Mr Daniel Benson

11 March 2022

The question of how men should wear patterns (and if they should wear it at all) was once a tough one to answer. But as our collective approach to menswear continues to expand and relax in line with our times, wearing print well has never been simpler. Still, a bit of style inspiration can’t hurt, so we’ve put together a few outfits with print a the focus to help you get started. Follow our foolproof guide below and you’ll graduate from pattern school without a blot on your copybook.


Flower power

Despite the fact that florals have a history in menswear as extensive as the perennial borders at Kew, there’s never been an easier time to become budding botanists with our wardrobes. Thanks largely to the efforts of designers like Mr Erdem Moralıoğlu and the continued rise of the once-maligned aloha shirt, florals have reached full bloom. Much like a Monet, Ralph Lauren Purple Label’s linen shirt leaves quite an impression with its painterly print. You won’t want to steal focus from such a masterpiece, so Dunhill’s silky trousers with their deep-blue hue provide a tame backdrop. There’s nothing that says summer more than a pair of slides, and Dries Van Noten’s pair tie the whole look together like a well-arranged bouquet.


Patchwork wonder

Patchwork might evoke memories of your grandmother’s bedspread, but the current taste for artisanal menswear means the once chintzy look now feels rather sophisticated. Ms Isabel Marant’s handsome jacket, for example, reveals the Parisian designer’s knack for folksy workmanship and colour coordination. While we wouldn’t often advise gilding the lily, the cut-and-sew shirt that lies beneath – from New York’s queen of artisanal menswear Ms Emily Adams Bode – harmonises perfectly in tone and pattern. The WTAPS check trousers, in their more sedate, earthy green hue, round off the play on the Pantone chart. With things pretty busy up top, it’s wise to keep your footwear clean – and clogs, like this pair of Birkenstocks – are set to be the shoe of summer 2022.


The logo mash up

Logic might dictate that a graphic print paired with a lashing of logos would be the sartorial equivalent of a dog’s dinner, but with the right measure of gall you can pull it off with aplomb. The secret, as we see here, is to create a sense of accord between your outfit’s component parts with one statement piece providing a sense of contrast. Dries Van Noten’s photographic-print shirt, for instance, has varying shades of black, which ties it to both the inky Paul Smith blazer and Veja sneakers. The pièce de résistance – those wide-leg jeans that are unmistakably Balenciaga – deliver that hit of focal juxtaposition. It’s bold yes, but it works.


The artistic endeavour

Given that many of us have been living in sweats for the past 18 months, there’s a case for taking a more conceptual approach when it comes to more laid-back clothing. This is something that the creative director of CELINE HOMME, Mr Hedi Slimane knows how to execute brilliantly. This singular total look is the fruit of his collaborative efforts with 14 artists for SS22. Dressing for comfort does seem a touch ironic coming from man that made super svelte tailoring as ubiquitous as sport socks, but even the king of skinny takes note of shifting tastes. It’s just what your wardrobe is missing if you’re reluctant to surrender your WFH garbs.


New-age psychedelia

Tie-dye has been having a bit of moment in menswear of late – helped in no small part by the marked return of 1990s-styling (prime your bucket hats, gents). In that same psychedelic vein is the marble print – Acne StudiosT-shirt, with its colourful, hypnotic swirls, is just the thing to jump-start your wardrobe for spring. Gucci’s sporty trousers make the ideal style partner with their signature webbing stripe playing off the tones of the tee, while Wales Bonner’s fluffy mohair sweater adds a textural element that rounds off the retro-modern vibe. The end result is an ensemble that has just the right amount of bohemian spirit without looking like you’ve just stumbled out of a commune.