Suitable Patterns

Pattern is another element that affects the formality and appropriateness of a suit. The pattern,  plus the cut of the suit, affects the way your suit complements your body structure. The patterns that are considered appropriate for business are subtle, which means you can distinguish the pattern close-up but it looks like a solid from a distance. Following are some of the more common patterns.


The most popular and versatile of all "patterns." A solid is easy to combine with shirts and ties and can be dressy or less dressy depending on the intensity of the color. The darker the color, the dressier the suit. Solid suits in navy and gray in the right shade for your coloring and in the right cut for your body shape, are the foundation of your business wardrobe. They are accepted in any business situation.


A fine line, or stripe, either solid or broken, running vertically through the suit. The wider the space between the stripes, the dressier the suit is. If you have broad shoulders, select wide-spaced stripes. For a smaller frame, narrow-spaced stripes are more complementary.

Chalk Stripes

Wider stripes that look like they were drawn with a piece of chalk. This stripe is dressier than pinstripes and more conservative. Contrary to common belief, wide-spaced, thicker stripes have a slimming effect on a person with a broad or heavy body structure.


This is a weave in a chevron-like design similar to the skeleton of a fish. Now available in lightweight fabrics, it is a dressy suit that adds variety to your wardrobe. It complements all body types.

Glen Plaid

Also called a glen check, this is a traditional English/Scottish design. It has white and black threads with an over-plaid in another shade or color. It is a less dressy suit, very appropriate for all body types especially if the colors are blended.

Hounds tooth

A check design which resembles the tooth of a dog. The pattern size will be micro for suits and larger for sport coats. It is less dressy than a glen plaid, and it may be worn by all body types since it looks like a solid from a distance.


A box weave of a thin pencil line usually woven in over a plaid, check, herringbone, twill and sometimes a solid. This pattern is less dressy and looks best on a person with regular to wide shoulders and body frame.


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