Maximizing Patterns with Contrast Types

In past posts I’ve addressed two major, albeit subtle, aspects of how individual men can look their best – knowing their contrast type and maximizing patterns according to build and proportions. After having those two as a foundation you can take it a step further by maximizing patterns according to your contrast type.

Before outlining all three of these variations I want to emphasize the importance of seeing these as guidelines.  I write posts like this to give you knowledge of their visual effects, not to restrict you to certain types of clothing. I think it’s great when guys know the rules and then choose to break them, unapologetically, to create a unique appearance. So, use this knowledge to expand your style, not to restrict it.

Stark Contrast:

Because a man with a stark contrast needs strong color variation to properly frame his face, his best option is to wear color-based patterns.

The most common example of this is a strong color for the pattern against a white background. The deeper or brighter the color, the better, as it provides more of a contrast against the white base.

Rather than distracting from his face, it helps to not only keep it framed, but also give some vibrancy and visual health to his skin tone.

Moderate Contrast:

Just like with colors in general, a man with a moderate contrast has the most freedom in his pattern selection. He is free to choose color-based or tone-based patterns. That being said, he is best served by seeking moderation in the pattern’s strength.

Those that are too powerful or too weak can either over or underwhelm his face and have negative visual effects. For men with a moderate contrast the key element is color saturation, not contrast between colors within the fabric.

Muted Contrast:

Because a man with a muted contrast can be visually overpowered if either the colors or color contrasts are too strong, his best option is to wear tone-based patterns.

These are characterized by combining different shades of the same color together in a pattern. While the depth or brightness of a given color still has an effect on the overall appearance of the pattern, it is mitigated by balancing it with a different shade of the same color – making it safer for men with muted contrasts to wear without being swallowed up by their clothing.

What’s nice about learning the strengths and weaknesses of pattern intensities, shapes, and sizes is that none of the options are mutually exclusive. A short, squat man with a muted contrast can find shirts with small, tone-based vertical stripes to help him look his best. While a tall, broad-shouldered man with a stark contrast can do the same by wearing a large plaid with bold, color-based variations. When all three aspects function independently of each other, you’re able to tweak all three as you need to accomplish the desired visual effect.

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