Saw this picture the other day and it reminded me of a principle about pattern. What you see above is called a buffalo check or a buffalo plaid. Basically it’s a very large pattern. These are great and can work really well provided they are on the right man in the right situation.
Large patterns are more casual than smaller alternatives. They draw more attention by virtue of their size and also are the visual antithesis of the professionalism provided in solid fabrics. This does not mean large patterns are bad – quite the opposite in fact. The picture above is very casual and it looks great. It would still look great as a High/Low option if he added a tweed blazer and a solid wool tie as it would allow the shirt to be the loudest piece and provide some good contrast with the man’s face. Large patterns are an excellent Low for your High/Low and are a good way to transition into dressing up a bit more.
The only downside to large patterns is they don’t work for smaller guys. If you find yourself on the small side of the average male you want to avoid large patterns as they will dwarf you. What looks good on a large or even an average-sized man will make you look either too young or too small. Note that small doesn’t mean either skinny or short but usually both. The model above is pretty skinny but his height allows him to wear the pattern well.
If you have the right build, I strongly suggest adding one or two shirts of a larger pattern to your rotation. It will help break up the visual rut it’s easy to fall into when you only wear solids and business-appropriate patterns.
PS. Today’s the last day for the sale I’m offering. It has the best offers I’ve had yet.