A Visual Primer about 10 Common Menswear Patterns

Most men prefer to buy clothing in solid colors. They avoid patterns when they shop for clothes. This is a good strategy. Mixing solid colors with matching patterns is safer than mixing them.

When used correctly, patterns can be a great way to add visual interest and texture to an outfit.

Below is a list of 10 most popular fabric patterns that you will find in menswear. This guide will help you to identify the patterns and their uses, as well as how they are used.


Traditional fabric pattern suitable for business suits. Pinstripes can be described as narrow stripes. The lines are usually white but you can also see gray. The pinstripe pattern’s continuous flow draws the eye upward and downward, which can make shorter men appear taller. Pinstripes’ thinness can draw attention away form the midsection making larger men appear slimmer. However, thicker stripes, which are less defined and farther apart, can make your midsection appear larger. Pinstripes might not be the best choice for tall and lanky men.


Checkered patterns are made up of horizontal and vertical stripes that cross each other to form squares. There are many patterns that can be considered checkered. We highlight the most popular patterns you will see in men’s clothes.



This is a pattern consisting of horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colors that are crisscrossed. Plaid suits are often worn by bold men in plaid suits.


The houndstooth pattern’s checks are pointy-shaped and broken (much like a hound’s tooth). Although the traditional houndstooth design is black and white and kept small in size, you can find larger versions on bold statement pieces. You’ll see it on jackets and sport jackets.

Glen Check

Also known as Prince of Wales check or glen plaid (King Edward VII made it famous). This pattern features bands of closely spaced lines that crisscross. A square of houndstooth is located in the middle of the crosses. Glen check is a popular pattern for suits. It makes for a more conservative look than a solid color, but it’s also very interesting.



This pattern is very similar to windowpanes. This pattern is flatter for men of all heights and bodies. This bold pattern is suitable for formal, but classy events. Windowpane is a common pattern that you will find on dress shirts. Windowpane patterns can also be found on suits. These suits are easy to match with a tie; choose one that matches the colors of the window frames.


This is the pattern that brings back memories of summer picnics. Gingham was originally used to describe a particular type of fabric. However, it is now commonly used to refer to a checkerboard pattern made up of even-sized squares in one color on a white background. This pattern is great for casual button-down shirts. You can also use napkins to stuff your collar while you eat your spaghetti.



Madras is a type or lightweight cotton fabric that bears a pattern. Madras can also be a plaid. The horizontal and vertical stripes are often brightly-colored, with varying thicknesses, and spaced unevenly. Madras can also be made up of squares or patches of plaid from different designs. These are stitched together in an abrasive, busy type of “quilt” and suitable for casual, summer wear. This is a very popular pattern for warm weather, which you would wear to the Kentucky Derby.

Other fabric patterns

These fabric patterns are not checks or stripes, but are simply categories.


It is known for its distinctive V-shaped weaving pattern, in which parallel lines are alternated between slanted lines. Because it resembles the skeleton of herring fish, it is called “herringbone”. This pattern is often found in wool fabrics. This pattern is a favorite for casual jackets and coats. It looks both rustic and professorial and goes well with jeans.

Bird’s Eye and Nailhead

Bird’s eye pattern and nailhead make it easy to match other garments. From afar, they appear like solid colors. The fabric is woven with tiny, textured dots. But you can see the pattern when you are closer. Bird’s eye has a more rounded dot while nailhead is squared off. This fabric is great for a sport coat or suit.

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