Originally Posted by Dewey
Why? I am curious how this could be. I would say that bad patterns characterize a lot of casual wear -- at least the stuff we most often see. My theory is that designers think in terms of sets -- how will all these shirts look together in the catalog -- and so build around a favorite thing or two they want to make, with contrasting (or complementing) colors and scale. As if they think they have to get some pink and lavender and coffee into the picture, and there really needs to be something with a bigger scale, so they make a fugly shirt with those colors in a huge check. And call it a day. And then it goes to clearance. And the people who get the most wear out of their clothes -- almost never buy anything, and only buy clearance -- wear the fugly shirt often for eight years. And the rest of us have to look at it. This is why I would never steer someone who asks the internet for help picking clothes, toward patterns. Apparently it is not that easy to pick a good one.
There are tasteful patterns and God-awful patterns. I don't know the Orvis catalogue, but I know Ralph Lauren's, and his pattern choices are reliably tasteful. See, for instance, this gingham
, which is absolutely timeless. In fact, there's a famous photo of Cary Grant having a picnic on some living room floor wearing a pink gingham like this. Wear a smaller gingham for the office and this gingham outside of the same and you're gold. That said, my own taste runs towards solids. I have about a few casual ginghams and stripes for the warmer seasons and some tattersalls for the colder months, but I prefer solid white, light blue, and navy (casual) shirts more often than not. They are simply more elegant, even off-hours. Hard to beat a white shirt and khaki trousers, for instance, or a navy linen and cream or white linen pants.