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How To Style Three Ways: The Pattern Shirt Edition

Pattern shirts are part of your fashion story, be it spectacularly vomiting around the back of a club in Ibiza, or posing up a storm at a family barbecue as you eye up the just cooked sausages with a knowing, almost lustful glance, pattern shirts are a stamp of time, and, just like everything else you own, ready to become a memory.

The Pattern Shirt

You couldn’t move for pattern shirts last year could you. They were EVERYWHERE, and in a variety of colours, prints and shapes. And it was awesome. Sometimes we need something other than navy and grey in our wardrobe, and this was a perfect addition.

Pattern shirts are part of your fashion story, be it spectacularly vomiting around the back of a club in Ibiza, or posing up a storm at a family barbecue as you eye up the just cooked sausages with a knowing, almost lustful glance, pattern shirts are a stamp of time, and, just like everything else you own, ready to become a memory.

But pattern shirts can go very wrong, very quickly. Just ask any Brit abroad waiting for the Only Fools And Horses bar to open so they can have their beer and chips for breakfast.

They wear the shirts for a novelty value because they’re the life and soul of the party. If just so happens that that party is not a party that we should be going to. That is a party of badly fitting shorts with too many pockets on, sandals that bite into their besocked feet and DJ Otzi on repeat. Nightmarish.

It is dead easy to nail a brand new look, and I’m about to show you how! Buckle in, strap down, and get ready to get your socks blown right off. Seriously guys, lose the socks.


Before we get started, there are some things that you need to bear in mind before you take the plunge with your brand new Summer self.

  1. Choose your fabric carefully.

The more expensive fabric you opt for, the more wear you’ll get out of it. If you can’t afford Gucci go for a silk blend from Reiss or Zara, but the cheaper shirts with have increasing amounts of polyester in them. Which is fine if you’re on a budget, but you’ll get a lot less wear out of them.

Use your existing wardrobe as inspiration.

If your wardrobe is full of navy and black, then don’t go shopping for bright pink or green because you won’t be able to team it with anything. And, if you’re already wearing those colours, there’s a pre-existing confidence ready there.

Don’t go mad with patterns. Unless you want.

You will see some shirts out there with all manner of prints: pin-ups from the 50s, Birds Of Paradise, tropical plants, even some rattlesnakes. Not every shirt needs to be bought, but every shirt needs to be considered. Would a shirt with snakes on fit with who you are? Are 50s pin-ups so far on your brand that you’d made not to buy it? Try and keep a consistency to what you’re wearing.


That Holiday Look

Easily the most achievable look, and probably where to start if you’re a pattern beginner. This look has the least amount of components and is really hard to get wrong.

In fact, you’ll be throwing on these outfits as soon as the Sun says ‘alright there!’ on a morning.

You’ll be prolific as a proud pattern wearer. People will think you’re either think you’re going to, or just coming back from, an exotic holiday.

Embrace your Bird Of Paradise.

Traditionally tropical patterns like palm leaves and exotic birds work best here. It keeps the outfits screaming holiday while still being sartorially excellent.

Go with shorts or chinos in neutral, complimentary colours.

If that shirt has a pop of beige, go for some lovely fitting shorts that show off how much you’ve been hitting leg day. Use your trousers to pick out the accent colours of the shirt instead of dressing in the same colour throughout.

Give a sense of ‘I Woke Up Like This’ to everything.

Either fasten it loosely, or have it open completely. You’ll have a t-shirt on underneath, right? Don’t be that guy. This isn’t Love Island.

Don’t let your outfit be ruined by a pair of cheap espadrilles.

Accessorise with understated sunglasses, a backpack to carry all your stuff in, and your nicest white trainers.

Give those bad boys a turn-up.

If the shorts are a touch too long, just roll them up. According to science, and people who deal in science, the ideal leg length is just about your knee, but if you want to take them up to your upper thighs, I say go for it.

That Barbecue Look

This is the most fashion forward look; relying on new fits of chinos and jeans to give a hardened edge to a very boxy and relaxed shirt. This is definitely the most Leonardo DiCaprio in Romeo+Juliet inspired look on the list. Think stiff jeans mixed with silky shirts that move with every breeze.

Layer this bad boy up but don’t fasten a thing.

Use the white of a t-shirt to show off a loose, edgy necklace, and have the shirt poking out from under a leather jacket to keep it interesting. Plus that jacket will come in handy if the weather turns a bit nippy and you don’t want to be freezing.

Keep your outfit simple.

If you keep the outfit simple and tasteful, you’ll be the belle of the ball-becue.

Mix up your undergarments.

Long sleeve t-shirts also work great under these shirts and can give a nice utilitarian look when combined with straight leg chinos.

Why’s it gotta be black though?

Going with a neutral palette makes things easier and allows your shirt to be the statement.

Eyyyyyy! *thumbs up emoji*

Be cool and try not to spill anything on that t-shirt.

That COVID But Still At Work Look

This coronavirus has us all beat up in one way or another. Maybe you’ve been furloughed from work and you’re spiralling into a tornado of fridge raiding and trying to remember what day it is, or maybe you’ve been asked to work from home. In which case you still need to look semi-respectable, but most of all, comfy.

This look is almost why relaxed tailoring was invented.

Grab yourself a pair of elasticated (not just for septugenarians these days) or drawstring trousers. Most retailers have some in now because they’re such a staple part of a comfortable work wardrobe. It’ll allow you to sit for longer (sitting is wicked) and you won’t have those awful red gouges where your trousers have been digging into you throughout the day.

There’s no wrong way of styling it.

You can style this however you want and it’ll always look rad. Have it hanging out, tuck it in and make it look all boxy for minimalist points, or nail your French tuck (not a Drag Race reference) for that ‘oh, this? I just threw it on’ vibe.

Watch your print.

You probably can’t get away with a more convivial print because you’re meant to be at work really, but there are plenty of prints that focus more on repetition and strong geometric patterns that will make it look like you’re taking notice of what your CEO is saying when actually you’re thinking about whether you can get away with not showering tomorrow (psst! You can).

Keep the look fresh.

Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean that you can just wear whatever Grandad slippers you find under the stairs. Finish your outfit off with a pair of minimalist sneakers. And then when you need to answer the door for that Amazon order of toilet roll and hand sanitizer you’ll still instil respect.


Don’t forget to tell your friends that you read an awesome blog and that they should too.

You can also find other style related content at my Instagram. Stop by, say Hi.

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