The Man’s Guide to Alternative Suit Patterns and Colours

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Fed up of sticking to tradition when dressing for the office? Are you tired of reaching for the same two piece each morning? It is time to ditch the lifeless black suit and explore the world of colour, print and style with tailoring that will leave you feeling like the dapperest dude in the office.

Check out the rest of the men’s style guides here.

Get ready for our ultimate guide to alternative suiting that will transform your appearance and attitude of the tailoring world.

Material Dilemmas

Cotton Vs Wool Suit

The battle commences as cotton and wool fight it out for the winning place as the best suit fabric. The two natural suit materials are provide quite different wearing experiences, which gents have to consider when buying their new three piece.

Cotton suits are much lighter weight than a wool suit, which leads to many guys opting for a cotton suit in the summer and in the winter. Another factor in the cotton suit vs wool challenge is the fact that wool can feel scratchy against the skin. Ensure that the chosen suit is lined for a great, less itchy finish.

Linen Vs Wool Suits

This dual between the two mens suit fabrics all depends on personal style preference. Linen is easy to crease which can leave you feeling like a little disheveled after a few hours of movement, whereas wool remains fairly smooth due to the thickness of fabric.

Linen is perfect for hotter climates, while wool is far too heavy for warmer conditions. The perfect solution is to seek out a blend of fabric such as a wool linen blend suit or a cotton linen suit for the best of both worlds.

Polyester Vs Silk Suits

It’s no contest – silk wins every time but makes a great dent in the bank balance. Polyester is a synthetic material and much cheaper to produce than silk. The suiting fabric has a reputation for not breathing very well making the wearer feel very hot in warmer climates.

However, silk is a very breathable fabric, which can be worn throughout all seasons and is very comfortable. Many opt for a polyester blend option with cotton and wool to higher the quality of the suit and to avoid an unwanted shiny fabric surface.

The infusion of fabrics allows for suitability to formal occasions and decreases the amount of creasing. Silk suits are the epitome of luxury and fit all body shapes resulting in a clear winner.

Photo Credit: Pinterest | SHOP: Suits
Photo Credit: Pinterest | SHOP: Suits

Velvet Vs Cashmere Suits

A splash of extravagance! Both suit materials are seen as very luxurious and sophisticated due to their exquisite appearance. Velvet immediately gives a great first impression with its unique texture more commonly associated with tuxedos and dinner jackets.

The fabric is perfect for a formal event providing a elegantly stylish look for the gents amongst us. As another luxurious fabric cashmere offers quality and sophistication. Cashmere suits can have an unwanted sheen even when mixed with another fabric.

Fabric Care

Once choosing the perfect suit fabric it is essential to take good care of your tailored piece. A suit that has not been looked after properly is not a cool look, taking your dapper status down a notch or two and will limit the life of your investment

Photo Credit: Pinterest | SHOP: Suits
Photo Credit: Pinterest | SHOP: Suits

Constantly having your suit dry cleaned will damage the fabric by weakening the fibres, which will eventually find you reaching for your pocket to buy a new suit. If your suit is looking rather lifeless and crumpled, a dry cleaner should be able to press the suit without using chemicals to give a sharp, crisp finish reinstating your stylish profile.

A good habit to adopt is to brush your suit with a clothes brush after each wear and store carefully. No matter the fabric, a suit needs great care and attention to guarantee longevity and a sharp finish.

The Options

Stripe Suit

Striped suits are the perfect place to start when experimenting with printed tailoring. The timid style enthusiast can keep it simple and subtle with a pinstripe jacket, whereas the bold experimenter can rock a prominent stripe suit with confidence. It is an easy print to work with providing personality to your outfit with very little effort.

Pinstripe Suit

The pinstripe suit welcomes a delicate, thin stripe that runs through the fabric and is repeated in an equal distance throughout. It is a classic print that offers elegance and sophistication in a subtle and stylish way.

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Photo Credit: Pinterest | SHOP: Suits

The tradition is to match a pinstriped jacket with the same trousers. If your looking to mix it up, team a pinstripe jacket with solid pants – an instant style tip to keep your look interesting and unique!

Injecting a hit of pattern into everyday life by rocking a pinstripe blazer with solid pants keeps your outfit choices much more varied and interesting.

So, you might opt for a charcoal grey pinstripe jacket with black pants on Monday, but come Friday that same pinstripe could be paired with some navy blue chinos – perfect for after work drinks!

If your feeling like it’s time to ditch conventionality and change things up a bit. Mixing a pinstripe jacket with solid pants is a great bet. Alternatively, keep it casual with a pinstripe sport coat, a crisp white shirt and a pair of jeans avoiding tradition altogether!

Chalk Suit

So, your next option to dazzle your office crew is the chalk stripe suit. A chalk stripe is a white line, more prominent than a pinstripe, that is repeated against a dark background – most likely a navy blue, black or grey.

Imagine running a piece of tailor’s chalk down a piece of fabric to visualise the desired effect of a chalk stripe jacket – it’s as simple as that!

Wearing a navy chalk stripe suit certainly will demand attention when walking into the office on Monday morning – why not give it a try? Here’s some style tips to help choose the perfect mens chalk stripe suits for you:

  • Team a royal blue chalk stripe suit with a crisp white shirt, black knit tie and black polished shoes for a slick look.
  • A navy blue chalk stripe suit with a matching waistcoat and leather biker jacket will demand attention with a cool, alternative style.
  • For a monochrome, sharp edge a mens back chalk stripe suit should be your first choice whereas a navy chalk stripe suit men is the perfect toned down version for a more subtle choice.

The chalk stripe suit is the youthful brother of the pinstripe but with more attitude. It’s the perfect heavy flannel for fall weather that can be easily dressed down with a crewneck sweatshirt or dressed up with a shirt and tie. The width of your stripe will determine your boldness. This fall it’s all about the chalk stripe.

 –  Jim Moore, GQ Creative Director

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Corduroy Suit

Okay, we know what you’re thinking – corduroy suits are a seventies flashback that should not be revived unless attending a fancy dress party. However, mens corduroy suits can make the cut when styled right.

A three piece corduroy suit with a more modern fit provides warmth in the colder months while maintaining a stylish look. This time around, the corduroy suits for men are of a thinner wale for a more sophisticated look. Need more convincing? Check out our tips on how to style men corduroy suits without looking like a seventies throwback.

  • A black corduroy suit teamed with a grey polo neck and black trilby is a perfect combination.
  • In contrast, opt for a navy blue corduroy suit waistcoat over a checked shirt for a more relaxed look. Add a denim jacket and pair natural chinos for a perfectly styled outfit.
  • Corduroy suits UK are typically available in more natural tones such as khaki, olive-green, maroon or navy blue.

The sturdy, hardwearing work fabric is perfect for colder weather, and this winter is the time to broaden your corduroy horizons. Designers are now using it for blazers, jackets, coats and even shirts. With its rough texture and velvety sheen, it’s a heavy fabric, so the key to making it work is to pick one corduroy piece per look.

 – Mr Adam Welch, Deputy Editor Mr. Porter.

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Printed Suit

Printed suits intend to make a statement with bold, graphic prints in bright shades. Gents who opt for a printed suit should always wear it with confidence, whether it is a geometric print, a checkered suit or a paisley version – these are not for the reserved type.

Men’s suit patterns make style obsessives stand out from the crowd by clashing prints, colours and suit fabrics. It is very common to find tailored pieces in a birdseye pattern, nailhead fabric and window pane suit.

Photo Credit: Pinterest | SHOP: Suits
Photo Credit: Pinterest | SHOP: Suits

Plaid Suit

Plaid suits is a popular mens suit pattern that is seen as very dapper and stylish. The chequered suit is usually available in different colours with some favouring a more muted palette and others opting for a bold interpretation.

The key is to not be afraid to embrace strong suit fabric patterns like plaid suits, there are many different ways to wear this print in style. So, the question is – are plaid suits in style? The answer is yes.

Don’t be afraid of it: Choose a plaid with a neutral background like this one for maximum wearability.

 – GQ Magazine

How to Wear a Plaid Suit

  • Rock your plaid suit with a pair of leather sneakers and a hoody for a more casual look. A style tip that makes the most out of your suit investment as can be worn when out of the office.
  • Swap your crisp shirt for a black tee for a simple yet stylish look. Your plaid suite will feel a lot more comfortable when styled this way.
  • Team your plaid suit with a denim shirt proving that mixing materials is a stylish combination.
  • Forgetting your socks gives plaid suits a perfect Spring look.
  • Creative layers instantly transform your smart, classic suit into a casual outfit ready for the weekend. A white tee, denim jacket and trilby hat add a relaxed, stylish edge to your plaid suit.
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Colour Suits

Leaving prints behind, bold coloured tailoring is another way to make an impact. Suiting is available in a rainbow of colours aimed to delight those who are drawn to bright shades, delicate pastels and subtle hues. It’s time to move on from the boring black.

Either way, there is a selection of colours to choose from to give suit wearers a chance to rock an individual and unique look. Check out the video below for a few ideas!

White Suit

White suits are commonly associated with Summer beach weddings, yet style stars have proven to us time and time again – they are in fact, a viable stylish option. As they say, less is more, and an all-white suit should not be underestimated.

A minimal, fresh approach sometimes makes a bolder statement than clashing mens suit fabrics and bright eye-catching hues. Either opt for a white suit jacket or a complete mens white suit depending on the look you are rocking this Summer.

How to Wear All White Suits

  • A white summer suit has a clean, fresh appeal. Distinguish each piece with texture using knit, leather, cotton and linen to avoid a total blank canvas.
  • Add colour through accessories. White suits for men are the perfect base to experiment with a pop of colour. Belts, hats, watches and shoes are easy to team with a white shirt.
  • A white suit / black shirt combo gives a severe monochrome look that will demand attention during those long summer office shifts.

There’s plenty of extra elements outside of the shirt and trousers to consider when planning your own take on modern tailoring. You can overdo it of course so trust your instincts.

 – Esquire Magazine

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Brown Suit

Brown suits! I hear you all cry with a look of disgust but the truth is that brown suits have a charming, vintage feel. The warm hue is a choice that will win you all the style points when worn correctly.

Many rock a brown suit style for a variety of occasions as the hue it a great base for many neutral colours. The question: When to wear a brown suit? The answer: the office, weddings, drinks with the guys, a first date with a lady – the list goes on.

What to Wear with a Brown Suit

  • A brown suit and blue shirt combo is a surprisingly cool choice as a navy blue really compliments the suit shade.
  • Don’t underestimate that neutrals such as white works extremely well with a coffee coloured suit.
  • A pair of tan brogues also compliment the charming hue allowing for your footwear to stand out.
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Khaki Suit

Khaki suits are another colour that baffles many in regards to tailoring. A khaki suit is a cool way to take a military influence into a more formal setting. Experimenting with different colours is a fun way of truly standing out at the office and ditching the navy suit for good.

How to Wear a Khaki Suit

  • A khaki suit styled with a pair of white trainers and tee will give a cool, effortless look this season.
  • For a smarter look team with a simple white shirt, black tie and black polished shoes for red carpet look.
Photo Credit: Pinterest | SHOP: Suits
Photo Credit: Pinterest | SHOP: Suits

Green Suit

For a darker more vibrant colour, opt for a racing green suit to channel your innter Ed Westwick. Looking at street style shots of the hollywood actor, he’s also partial to a hint of mint green for a completely different look altogether.

Embrace his quirkiness and try varying shades of the green suit to truly transform your office style. Trust us, the rest of the team will be asking where you picked yours up from – dare I say, green with envy?

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Tweed Suits

Relax – tweeds are no longer stereotyped as a heritage cloth aimed at country folk. Seeing a revival, it’s become a stylish fabric choice that a modern gent can rock to the office without looking like he has stepped off the set of Downton Abbey!

Mens tweed suits are cut and designed with a modern outlook to bring tradition into the 21st century. Why not rock a tweed jacket men with a pair of black skinny jeans, a black tee and brown Chelsea boots  or an instant style pleaser.

Why Choose a Grey Tweed Suit?

If it’s good enough for Tinie, it’s good enough for us. As a London Collections: Men ambassador and a fan of bold tailored suits – he knows his stuff right?

In fact, he worked with the Museum of London and designer Patrick Grant to design his very own exclusive grey tweed. Knowing Tinie, he would certainly be rocking the grey tweed look with a white tee and trainers for a super stylish look for the LC:M design shows.

If I go to an awards ceremony. I wear a suit, of course i do. I am proud to be there. If there are young kids looking at pictures of me. I want them to feel that they should long for the opportunity to go somewhere really smart and wear a beautiful suit, rather than reject that.

 – Tinie Tempah

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Photo Credit: Pinterest | SHOP: Suits

Flannel Suits

The flannel suit has made a huge comeback in recent years with men choosing the matte fabric over a super shiny version. Never heard of a wool flannel suit? Stay tuned we’ve got you covered…

What Is a Flannel Suit?

A flannel suit is a tailored piece made from flannel – a soft woven fabric that is brushed for extra softness. Due to the heaviness of the fabric, a flannel suit is kept for Winter for a stylish yet warm option for the chillier months.

Like, tweed, flannel is making a resurgence with the hipsters sporting grey flannel suits with style

How to Wear a Flannel Suit

  • The most common colour to find will be the grey flannel suit, which can be worn creatively for a dapper, stylish combination.
  • Team flannel with a light blue shirt, navy knitwear and shades for a cool winter sun look.
  • Keep it simple with grey flannel, a smart white shirt, grey tie and a tan brogues for the ultimate slick combo.
Photo Credit: Pinterest | SHOP: Suits
Photo Credit: Pinterest | SHOP: Suits

Even though I’m in the business, I tend to have a simple uniform. I get nervous when I have too many clothes in my closet. But I felt like it was finally time for me to get a flannel suit. During the winter here in New York my 10-month suits feel like tissue paper. Put on flannel and the cold will not penetrate. Plus, when it thaws out a bit, the flannel will keep you warm enough that you can just throw a scarf around your neck and you’re good to go.

 – GQ Creative Director Jim Moore

Conclusion

There you have it – A jam-packed guide of how to rock alternative suit patterns and trousers. With a little experimentation and some bravery you can’t go wrong!

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