Pulling off prints on prints

Match similar colours instead of prints and break up the look with solid colours

How do I pair a printed shirt with a printed bow tie?

With the festive season coming up, wearing just a plain shirt to a party will not cut it.

Find out how to pull off prints on prints with a printed bow tie to match with tips from Mr Ricky Rawat, 27, retail manager and fashion consultant at bespoke tailor The Bespoke Club, and fashion stylist Steven Kong, 41.

Tone down your bottom


If going for a print-heavy top, pair it with a neutral-coloured bottom. Wear a wider, plain belt and plain oxford shoes to break up the prints, and keep the look grounded with simple accessories.

Make sure the shirt fits

Menswear is all about tailoring, so buy or custom-make shirts that fit your body type.

How to mix prints

Match similar colours instead of matching print-for-print and break up the look with solid colours lest you look like a clown.

Ease into it

For those new to mixing prints, try pairing a lighter-coloured shirt with a darker-coloured bow tie, regardless of prints.

Wear a jacket

To avoid "looking like a geek", says Mr Kong, put on a solid-coloured jacket.

Hide bad hair

If you are having a bad hair day, hide it with a fedora so you still look party-ready.

How to accessorise

Wear a leather bracelet or metal neck chain, or add stylish accents such as sunglasses and cufflinks.

Life picks four shirt-and-bow tie combinations.

Look 1: Red and white striped shirt, $81.25, Brooks Brothers, and plum and white polka dot bow tie, $35.90, Benjamin Barker

This combination is an easy way to wear prints on prints.

Look 2: Poplin cotton shirt with multi-coloured cat prints, $259, Paul & Joe at Robinsons The Heeren, and orange satin bow tie, $28,

If your shirt has more than three colours, choose a bow tie in the brightest colour to match.

Look 3: Slim-fit cotton shirt, price on application, Paul Smith, and striped bow tie, $29.90, Zentlemen, from

When pairing similar patterns such as stripes, experiment with a different width or scale.

Look 4: Red checkered shirt with white pattern print, $59.90, Zara, and red and blue bow tie, $25,

It is okay to clash patterns as long as they are in the same colour family.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 19, 2015, with the headline 'AskStyle Pulling off prints on prints'. Print Edition | Subscribe