Who said aspiring dapper gentlemen need to stick solely to tried and tested, conventional methods of dressing dandy? In this detailed guide, we cover how men can wear floral prints to inject a sense of color and panache into their attire.
That elusive event you’ve been long awaiting has finally arrived. You’re ready to dress to the nines. Tight leather pants, and a leather jacket to go with, you think. Negative. Scratch that. Instead, you decide to go conservative with a navy suit, solid white shirt and a classic navy tie. How could you possibly go wrong with that understated staple in every sartorially inclined gentleman’s wardrobe, correct? Toss that one too, you think. Maybe a charcoal grey suit with a light blue shirt and a burgundy tie. Yes, that sounds about right. Except it doesn’t. It’s too tried and tested. On and on you go, computing an invariable number of permutations in your head – until you realize what you’ve been doing wrong all along. You’ve been going for extremes – as we humans – ehmmm – tend to do so. You’re either all avant garde or all classic. You can’t seem to find an in between.
That is, until you catch a glimpse of that sunflower screensaver that’s been populating your LCD monitor for the last five years. Why not floral prints, you think to yourself? Why not incorporate an element of the unexpected. Include something that seems counter to the very notion you’re trying to achieve – to come across as a well respected, well dressed gentleman that one should take seriously. And I mean, which observer wouldn’t take to a deviation from the norm. Something that catches their eye in the most unexpected of ways?
Who said that a floral tie couldn’t spruce things up? Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
While floral prints may be considered anathema to the concept of dressing dapper, incorporating elements of a fun, colorful and creative floral print can often help bring one’s ensemble to life. Whether it’s through a floral printed shirt (yes, a dress shirt, that is), a tie, a pocket square or another element resembling something floral, such as a lapel flower, there are most certainly a host of ways one can make their ensemble look infinitely more creative and appealing by incorporating this one single element of men’s wear.
And in casual wear, a few modifications from the overtly garish Hawaiin floral shirts will have you looking and feeling smooth and relaxed, without coming across as over the top.
When possible, avoid those Hawaii Print Floral Shirts….unless you happen to be in Oahu. Courtesy of www.fandango.com
History Of Floral Prints In Menswear
While the notion of a floral print conjures up nightmarish images of bold, overly sized floral shirts worn anywhere outside of Hawaii (or in some unfortunate circumstances – in Hawaii!), the concept of floral has been a feature of menswear in years past. Boutonnieres, or lapel flowers, evolved in the sixteenth century, and floral prints as a subsequent to that became increasingly more commonplace. From King Louis XVI’s floral embroidery, to Jimi Hendrix’s floral shirts, floral patterns have often featured in men’s wardrobe as a stark contrast to traditional masculine clothing.
Jimi Hendrix’s iconic style often included strutting Floral Prints!
Formal Wear & Floral Prints
Floral patterns go with pocket squares like white on rice. Ok, maybe not the perfect analogy, but you get the drift. Given that both floral patterns and pocket squares are traditionally printed, these two are a match made in heaven. Additionally, given that pocket squares are often louder than their necktie counterparts (as pocket squares are usually half concealed by your breast pocket), floral patterns make for the perfect option.
Quirkier pocket square designs can often serve as the perfect complement to a suit or sports jacket, given that these two articles of clothing are typically made with simpler designs (and often, colors). Hence, a louder design, such as a floral print, serves up the perfect level of contrast!
A Floral Pocket Square is the perfect way to complement the rest of your attire! Featuring The Dark Knot’s Norwalk Floral Red Linen Pocket Square.
Given that neckties are being increasingly adopted by enthusiasts that don’t just strut them at work, a floral necktie is the perfect way to go casual dapper. If, however, you choose to wear a floral necktie to work (read more about matching floral ties to your suits & shirts below), we would advocate opting for a more subtle floral print, where the design is more tightly held together i.e a smaller, repeating floral print pattern.
A tightly knit floral pattern is ideal for a more formal, office environment. Featuring The Dark Knot’s Berkshire Abstract Navy / Yellow Silk Tie.
Floral ties with louder patterns can work best in a casual environment, such as an evening out during the spring / summer months. Pair these louder ties with a solid or subtly patterned (finely striped or microcheckered) shirt and a solid or checkered lighter, unstructured sports jacket for a truly dapper summer look!
Louder floral ties are ideally suited to situations that lean towards business casual or social settings! Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
An often overlooked place to introduce floral patterns into your attire, sports jacket liners are the perfect way to introduce an addition of color and flair to your ensembles. Because liners are inherently hidden from the casual viewer, opting for a louder pattern such as a louder floral pattern can introduce a serious element of pop!
Sure, a burgundy liner with a navy suit would look extremely smart, but the point with your liners is to catch the detailed observer off guard – if not a floral pattern, how about liners of your favorite rock band, bourbon whiskey or other past times that you find yourself indulging in. Or of your favorite slice of pizza (ok, now that’s getting seriously odd…but you get the drift).
Looking for hidden panache? A Floral Jacket Liner is an incredible way to add style to your ensemble. Courtesy of www.senzsio.com
And finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention lapel flowers when discussing the notion of introducing florals into your formal wear attire. Sure, lapel flowers aren’t technically a print, but they do, in a very blatant manner, introduce the concept of flowers into your ensemble. Lapel Flower are best worn during more formal occasions.
Nothing screams dandy like an immaculately selected lapel flower. Featuring The Dark Knot’s Camden Gold Lapel Flower.
Business Casual and Floral Prints
Colorful socks are the trend de jour (or decade), and what better way to introduce a splash of color? Given that socks, like jacket liners, are not always paid attention to (unless you go with natural body socks i.e hairy leggings), colorful socks provide you with the perfect opportunity to catch those around you off guard.
While you could opt for colorful socks that include your favorite sports (e.g golf, lacrosse, croquet), why not throw in a pair with larger than life floral patterns. While thematically they may not be as interesting as sports or wildlife socks (e.g safari themed), they can add a vibrant dash of color that will ensure a double take and then some!
Few items will add kick to your attire like floral socks! Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
Dress Shirts are an opportune way to incorporate floral prints into your evolving men’s wardrobe! However, given that dress shirts are covering a much larger surface area than the other suggested items on this list, we would caution with opting for a finer floral print. Larger floral prints on a dress shirt may appear too garish, and if pulled off, should only be done so in more casual settings.
Within a business casual setting, we would suggest a more subtle floral print to pull this off with maximum panache.
If strutting floral patterns within a business casual setting, a more subtle print is optimal! Courtesy of www.rw-co.com
How To Match Floral Ties To Your Shirts & Suits
With the recent renaissance of the floral ties, these patterns have become particularly popular in shades of navy and burgundy, especially with respect to weddings! Traditional floral print colors of pink and coral continue to be extremely popular, either as a base color, or incorporated into the more versatile navy and burgundy base ties, that can be worn across a range of situations.
Given the louder nature of floral print ties, here are some general guidelines for matching your floral ties your shirts, suits and pocket squares:
When deciding to strut a floral tie, it is best to keep the rest of your ensemble fairly muted. Floral prints, which are bold by nature, are best worn with a solid or subtly patterned shirt such as a finely striped or microcheckered shirt.
A navy or burgundy floral tie would perfectly complement a solid white, blue or pink shirt, with a pink shirt providing a monochromatic look (lighter shade of burgundy), and a blue shirt offering the perfect level of contrast. Given the pattern spacing of floral ties, which tend to be larger patterns on a larger scale, pairing them with a subtly patterned shirt such as a pencil striped or microcheckered design will add visual depth to your attire, without appearing jarring.
The Dark Knot’s Woodmont Floral Burgundy Cotton Tie can be paired with a solid, finely striped or microcheckered white, blue or pink shirt for an optimal look!
Conversely, a floral tie with a bolder striped or checkered shirt will result in pattern overload, creating a jarring effect that will likely lead to your viewer with more of a migraine than a penchant for complimenting your look!
- When easing into wearing floral ties, it is best to start with a floral tie and a solid white or light blue shirt (with the exception of a light blue based floral tie). A white shirt will lend itself to an elegant look, especially when styled with a charcoal grey, navy blue or brown suit.
Few items are as elegant as a floral tie with a white shirt! Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
- Looking to up your style a notch? Try introducing a subtle striped or checkered pattern as mentioned above. The key is for the tie to be bolder in color and pattern than the shirt. In this way, you achieve that perfect balance between contrast and harmony, so that your attire looks well curated and put together, instead of appearing like you were dressed up by a friend whose been hallucinating after a night out!
This stunning floral tie pops off perfectly against a finely striped shirt! Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
- Looking to incorporate a pocket square into your attire? For those of you breaking in the habit of strutting floral ties, a solid pocket square would be the perfect complementary item.
A Floral Tie with a solid pocket square is a sure fire way to add panache to your ensemble! Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
- If you are seeking a bolder look, a patterned pocket square can work, assuming the rest of your attire consists of solid colors. An example could include a burgundy floral tie with a navy polka dot pocket square! For an optimal look, ensure that the dominant color of your pocket square is complementing the dominant color of your tie, and not replicating it.
A Floral Tie, perfectly complemented by a geometric patterned foulard pocket square! Courtesy of www.theknot.com
- Looking for an extremely bold look? Opt for a pocket square in a contrasting color that is directly across on the color wheel (i.e the strongest color contrast). Examples would include pairing a navy or blue floral tie with an orange pocket square, or a burgundy or pink floral tie with a green pocket square. Bold, and definitely not for the faint of heart!
Rock this pink floral print tie with a green pocket square at your own risk! Courtesy of www.smythandgibson.com
Please feel free to view The Dark Knot’s range of Floral Print Cotton Ties.
Are Floral Ties Appropriate For Office Wear
The recent resurgence in floral ties has primarily been associated with dressing relaxed dapper or for wedding situations. While floral ties are not typically associated with office wear, floral ties with adequate spacing and a higher degree of formality can certainly be worn for daily work.
If strutting a floral tie to the office, opt for a silk tie in a traditional width, which is typically over three inches.
A Floral Tie with a more tightly held together pattern is suitable for daily work wear! Courtesy of www.gentlemansgazette.com
Floral Ties that have been trending in recent years have tended to lean towards the casual end of the spectrum. These ties are typically manufactured using cotton, resulting in a matte finish. If these ties are to adorn one’s torso at work, they are best reserved for more creative workplaces with a more casual dress code. Unfortunately, these ties would be considered incompatible for more formal office settings.
Lapel Width Considerations
Floral Ties with a tighter knit pattern that are wider are best suited to more formal settings such as work, given that these ties will be proportionate to your suits lapel width (office wear will typically have slightly wider lapels).
Conversely, a more business casual suit could be offered with narrower lapels, which would best complement a narrower floral tie (typically in cotton) that has a louder, more colorful pattern scheme.
Ok, so that was a lot of kale (sorry, florals) to digest. In summarizing this article, we would like to point out a general guideline of do’s and don’t’ with respect to incorporating floral patterns into your attire:
When incorporating floral prints into your attire, there are some general guidelines that will help you pull this off in the most seamless fashion possible:
Do’s Of Wearing Floral Patterns
- Floral patterns are ideally worn during the spring / summer months. While a tighter, more subtle floral pattern can be worn year round, and potentially in business casual settings, florals in general are associated with warmer weather, and hence, are best reserved for the spring and summer.
- As an exception to the above, floral prints in darker colors, such as navy, burgundy, or potentially even an olive green, can be worn year round. Colors that are darker or have more resemblance to fall foliage are prime candidates for year round dapper-dom (yes, that’s a wordish phrase we just coined here).
- Floral Prints can be incorporated into your attire through a myriad of options, whether it be a necktie, pocket square, dress shirt, jacket lining or even your favorite pair of colorful socks!
- Floral patterns, given their intricate design structure, are best worn with non patterned, solid articles of clothing e.g a floral necktie with a solid shirt, or a floral shirt with a solid suit.
- If you are opting for patterned clothing elsewhere in your attire, selecting subtle patterns will perfectly complement your floral prints. Given that floral prints are louder in nature, a subtle patterned dress shirt, for example, will provide that ideal level of contrast, that allows your tie, jacket lining or pocket square to pop off, without creating an overtly gaudy look!
- Wear floral patterns with solid fabrics. Smaller floral / tighter knit floral patterns can be worn with another patterned fabric. However, floral patterns in general are best worn with solid fabrics, given the busy nature of these prints.
- Floral Ties with tighter prints work best in more formal business settings, where as larger, louder floral prints work best in business casual or casual settings. Ties that are three inches or greater in width will complement your business attire, given the more formal nature of the pattern. Additionally, a slightly wider floral print tie will complement the larger lapels typically seen in a more formal environment (versus skinnier floral ties with larger prints that best complement more casual attire).
- When pairing a floral tie with a pocket square, it is best to opt for a solid or subtly patterned pocket square. If you are opting for a patterned pocket square, go with something that is in a different scale (e.g a smaller foulard pocket square pattern against a larger spaced floral tie).
Don’ts Of Wearing Floral Patterns
- Don’t wear floral patterns with other floral patterns. Floral patterns are inherently busy, and hence combining one floral pattern with another will make you look like the focal point of a kaleidoscope.
- Avoid wearing floral patterns with other busy fabrics, such as tweed or glen plaid, as your items of clothing will clash, resulting in a look that is blatantly excessive and incongruent.
- Don’t rock a floral item with a pout. Pouting and floral pattern strutting are incongruent. Period. End of Story.
And that’s a wrap for this one! We hope that you have enjoyed reading this as much as we did writing it!
Please feel free to view The Dark Knot’s latest range of exquisite floral print cotton ties!