Mixing up the Patterns

Full disclosure: I’m walking on risky territory with this post. Pattern mixing is an element of my own wardrobe that I rarely risk and when I do, I doubt myself the entire time. So we are taking this trip together.

If we are being honest, pattern mixing is an element of fashion that men actually probably have an advantage in. With the popularity of gingham and  the reemergence of patterned suits and jackets, all paired with usually patterned ties, you guys are basically old hat at this now.

One basic rule I’ve heard is that if at a distance your pattern looks like a solid, then it acts like a solid. In the pictures below, at least one, if not more, of the patterns are faint or easily appear as a solid. This makes them easy to pair with anything you would usually put with the predominant color. Often these will be monochromatic patterns, using slightly different shade of the same color to make the pattern. These are also the types of patterns most commonly found in suits, so that they can be paired with basically anything. The other type of solid appearing pattern is featuring a really small design, like in Michael B. Jordan’s shirt and tie.

Patterns as solidsAnother method of pattern mixing is picking a uniting color. This is where I struggle because I actually get uncomfortable if I’m matching. Neutrals work as an easy uniting hue without feeling too matchy. Coordinating colors work too. A basic way to tell if colors go is if they are on opposite sides of the color wheel, like orange and blue (shown both above and below). Here too though you need to be aware of color saturation. If your blues are too royal and your oranges too basketball-y, you are going to end up looking like a very dedicated Boise State fan. Tones with more grey will likely look more masculine and grown up.

One area where I would say you can definitely take a risk is outerwear. I have a navy plaid coat that I absolutely adore and for years I wore it with absolutely everything. Particularly with winter coats that you will ditch once you’re inside, have fun with it. The same goes for sweaters, where you will see just a bit of the shirt beneath, just make sure the colors go.

Pattern MixingAlso a safe zone is when your patterns a separated by a significant amount of unpatterned space. Just buy those polka dot socks, you will not regret them and they will not clash with your shirt or tie.

When mixing patterns also try to use different sized patterns. This will either make one seems like a solid from afar or at least provide enough solid space to not become an optical illusion/headache inducer.

Pattern mixing is definitely adventurous, but it doesn’t have to be. Just make sure you feel comfortable, check yourself out in the mirror and maybe get a second party’s approval. Baby steps are still steps. We don’t expect you to layer three different patterns well on the first try.

Maybe too ambitious for first timers

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Spotlight: Donald Glover

It’s that time of year folks, the fall season of TV is upon us! And while I’m very excited for some of the new shows (the pilot of Sleepy Hollow was very promising), I am even more excited that Community is coming back for a fifth season and with the return of creator Dan Harmon, no less. The fans of Community are long suffering, always wondering if the show would reappear on their television sets, and although we are one step closer to #sixseasonsandamovie, we are losing our beloved Donald Glover this year. One half of Troy and Abed will be leaving after just five episodes. (No start date for the fifth season has been announced yet).

As heartbreaking as this is, let’s look on the positive, Donald has contributed great work to both Community and 30 Rock, where he became a writer at the ripe age of 25, and promises to do so much more, whether as an actor, writer, or as his alter ego rapper Childish Gambino.

Donald has a effortless, cool nerd look. He frequently rocks blocky, thick glasses and plaid button ups. He wears all the latest trends and still looks the part of the all-American man’s man because he is so secure in his over the top personality.

His looks never become repetitive because even if the base is the same, he mixes it up with different jackets and ties that totally change the mood of the outfit. Tie and jeans is classy casual. Tie and jacket are professional and polished. Open collar and bomber jacket are relaxed, but suave. A scarf and herringbone are sexy professor.

Donald GloverDonald also has a much more casual look, often seen when presenting himself as Childish Gambino, which is a polo shirt paired with a zip hoodie, hood up. This does the two-fold job of making the hoodie a little classier and the polo a little less preppy. He can be rap, without being covered in tattoos, scars, and holey clothes.

He also isn’t afraid of color, whether it be his hoodie or his cuffed trousers. His skin tone pulls off just about any color and he embraces that, while still appreciating the classic look of black and white. (Do not however take his look from the 90s set The To Do List, those yellow overalls should stay in the 90s).Donald Glover, too cool for schoolDonald is the whole package: funny, cute, successful, musically talented, and well dressed. We wish him the best of luck in whatever he is off to do next, but that doesn’t mean our hearts aren’t broken that he is leaving the Greendale Seven.

Puberty: a PSA

We’ve been pretty busy lately, here at WAMSW, because of the impending school year, so here is a quick, lighthearted post to tide you over.

There has always been a lively discussion about child stars and how they grow up; some of these are so distinct that their names become inextricably tied to what they’ve done. But rather than all the negative examples that first come to mind, we here at WAMSW like to focus on the positive: Neville Longbottoming. Stephen Colbert puts it best:

Stephen Colbert and a Message of Hope

Matthew Lewis stared in all eight Harry Potter movies as the loveable, hopeless Neville Longbottom, but when I first saw pictures from the last premier I did not recognize him. I honestly had to look up which character he played. And believe me, I pride myself on knowing both actors and Harry Potter. Turns out I wasn’t alone in this confusion, J.K. herself was baffled by his transformation:

J.K. Rowling on Matthew LewisIt has been partially explained that, starting around the fourth movie, Lewis wore a fat suit, false teeth, too big shoes, and even devices to make his ears stick out. Also can we just say that his wool hat, leather jacket, stubble combo sounds wonderful. In general, all of the post-Potter photos of Lewis, show him dressed well in cardigans and henleys that make him look like a cool, grown man. That, my friends, is how you shed the image of a dorky child star.

His change has had such a huge effect that the internet has turned his character name into a verb, often applied to this photo of Hiccup from the cartoon How to Train Your Dragon and the upcoming sequel. “We’ve been Neville Longbottomed by a cartoon!”

Hiccup from How to Train Your DragonIt’s amazing what a little messier hair and switching from fur vests to leather armor can do for a man.

Now I’m sure many of you are thinking that that is all well and great, but you’re past puberty and maybe didn’t have such a revolutionary transformation. To you I say: all hope is not lost. I have one more story:

This is Daniel Sharman

17 year old DanielThis picture from the show “Judge John Deed”, shows Daniel at 17. Yes, that’s right 17, an age when most boys are nearing the end of puberty. He looks about 12 (aided in part by the fact that his suit is about three sizes too big).

Here’s Daniel again, this time at 27:

27 year old DanielA noticeable difference if I do say so myself.

Ironically, he now plays a 17 year old on Teen Wolf.

Besides growing into his tall frame and extremely angular face, he has also figured out how to style himself. By growing his hair a little longer, so that the curl is evident without overwhelming him, he balances his strong face and achieves an effortless dishevelment. He is also more age appropriately dressed in fitted shirts, slim trousers, and classic accessories (like that leather watch).

Simply put, there is always hope. Not all of us will be blessed with a Neville-like transformation, but you can help yourself by figuring out what styles of clothes and hair suit you best.