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Wearing patterns -- how do you prefer to do it?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I was in Polo the other day and saw a great Purple Label suit (Jared model -- very natural shoulder and great cut, IMO) in a medium gray with a very subtle royal blue windowpane pattern. Today I was at Hugo Boss Outlet and saw a Baldessarini suit in a Charcoal with a very subtle burgundy windowpane pattern. I liked them quite a bit, since from afar the patterns simply gave the cloth a little texture and you had to be up close to even notice the pattern itself. So this got me thinking. If you have to choose between a solid color suit or a suit with a nice pattern (pinstripe or windowpane) -- and pretend that this is going to be the ONE suit in your closet (this makes the question more fun) -- would you go with the solid or the pattern? Seems to me a solid suit is more versatile and can be dressed up with patterned shirts and ties in a variety of patterns colors. On the other hand, while the options with the patterned suits may be more limited, it seems, there is something unique about a great patterned cloth (particularly a windowpane pattern, which can be very unique). Would your choice depend upon whether the suit would be for business or pleasure? I'm curious as to answers, because I'm going to order from Chan when the Loro Piana deal hits next month, and I"m not sure whether I'm going to go with a solid medium/dark gray or rather go with a windowpane type pattern like I saw on the RLPL. No, it won't be my only suit, but neither do I want to sink my money into a nonversatile piece.
post #2 of 7
Definitely a question of business or pleasure. Finely crafted patterned suits are great... when you can wear them. Unfortunately, one can't buy a suit merely to stare at in his closet (and shame on those of you who do. ) so I often go with high-quality solid fabrics.
post #3 of 7
The first suit I ever had was a navy chalkstripe, and I can't think of a suit that I would have rather had to start out. It is very elegant looking. I'm going with navy chalkstripe.
post #4 of 7
I'd probably fudge the question and go with a (nearly) solid with a woven in pattern or at least an interesting texture. If not that, then a muted pattern. No matter what I know about the quality of a suit, if it is just smooth and solid fabric it always looks cheap to me. I wouldn't go with bold pinstripes or a windowpane for the only suit, but muted chalkstripes or some other visual interest would definitely be in order. I have a charcoal HSM suit that looks nearly solid but has red stripes if you look up close. Something like that would be very versatile.
post #5 of 7
If I had to pick one, definitely the solid. Otherwise, seems too obvious you're wearing the same suit over and over. On the other hand, if I had to pick bw a closet full of solids vs a closet full of [tastefully] patterned suits, I'd go with patterns in a heartbeat.
post #6 of 7
Solids are more versatile. In a pinch, when traveling, I've broken out my blue suitcoat and used it as a blazer. However, I love a charcoal chalkstripe. Come to think of it, I often wear the striped trousers with a black turtleneck and a black sportcoat. I also do the same with my glenplaid and have used the coat as a sportcoat. My first suit was a solid blue 3B and it went everywhere very nicely.
post #7 of 7
Agree with J on this one. I'd have to stick to a solid navy or charcoal with a subtle herringbone pattern. Up close, you can see the pattern in there, but it's still subtle enough to wear at any occasion. You wouldn't want to wear a window pane or a bolder pinstriped looking suit to an interview, for example.
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