Need to add some pop to your outfits? Add some life with some fresh floral print!
The floral print has been around for a long time. We’ve seen them on Hawaiian shirts in the 40s and 50s, on button downs in the 70s and 80s (ugh the baggyness) and on disgusting ties in the 90s (silk anyone?). Thanks to their “vintage” nature and presence in local thrift stores, the floral print has been hijacked by hipsters and added to their style. However, the menswear community has seen this trend and has brought back the floral print in a way that isn’t related to the ugly looks of the recent past or the ironic hipsters. We have commandeered these thrift castaway items and created better made and better fitting floral pieces that we can wear both casually and with our suits.
Now there is nothing wrong with thrifting floral pieces; I do it all the time. However, many of the ones you’ll find aren’t wearable today thanks to fit standards being different 10 years ago. If you know a tailor or know a little bit about alterations, some quick work to take in a shirt (make it tighter) or to slim down a wide tie may be worth it to you! But more often than not, it’s just better to buy it new, especially if you’re lazy like me! As the hot weather rages on, lets add some diversity to our wardrobe with two wardrobe essentials: the floral tie and the floral shirt!
The Floral Tie
Most guys out there like to have their tie be the main focus of their suit, and a floral tie is the great way to achieve extra pop! A floral tie provides color and an asymmetrical pattern that you don’t get with the typical striped or dotted neckties. My favourite types of floral ties are the ones that look like they’re literally cut from wallpaper. Its the look we went for when designing our REVO line.
I suggest wearing neutral colors around it to really make the tie stand out. Since floral ties are literally fresh (since th ey have plants!), I would also recommend that you wear the tie with summer or spring clothes. Khaki, white, and blue are great ways to build the tie around, just like Kayon (pictured above). With that said, there are also some fall floral ties (often green or brown) which can be combined with their seasonal palettes.
With this outfit, I wore a khaki and white to evoke some summer vibes. Since the tie is patterned, I paired it with a plain shirt in a close enough shade so that the ensemble is really simple. If you look closely, the print isn’t symmetrical; it stands out amongst other ties that follow a certain system like stripes or dots. This particular tie was bought from a Canadian store called Dolbeau. Most of their ties are sold out, but their floral ties are a great guide to base the look of your future purchases! Now floral print ties weren’t always from the 90s; we’ve had them since the 30s! Gents would most often wear their floral ties with summer fabric suits, like linen or summer wools. Here’s some of my vintage examples! I think they’re much more fun than my modern ensembles, since they’re often much more complicated and bold in their patterns.
Many, many, many people will tell you that a floral tie is much too casual to be taken seriously, but I tell you that they’re wrong. Close up that floral print with a full suit and you’ve got a suave yet fresh look that you can definitely wear to the office. However, I’d still recommend wearing a more dark and subtle print tie like the one Tim has below.
Keeping it classy with a dark suit and white shirt is a great way to keep your florals corporate. The black base of the tie provides a semi-conservative take on the floral print that could easily be worn as an edgy outfit to a formal party. You could even wear the tie under a vest, if you’re concerned that the print is a little too much! Just make sure you keep the palette the same! For example, Tim wore his dark florals with a dark navy suit and I wear brighter tie with a lighter royal blue suit!
The Floral Shirt
Floral shirts are awesome because they look so good on their own! Just like the “rules” for the floral tie, this piece should be worn with other plain colors just to be sure you don’t have “too much” going on. When rocking the floral shirt casually, try just a simple pair of jeans or chinos. It’s a great way to stand out in an even bigger way even if its a casual ensemble. It’s better than just sticking to the uniform of OCBDs. For you guys who don’t know, that stands for “oxford cloth button down”. It’s not bad, but i find it rather cookie-cutter for guys who want to look “dressed up”.
Another look to try when donning the floral print shirt is to go straight up tropical. Even though the shirt is super casual, I tucked it and combined my signature panama with it to give it an awesome “50’s guy on vacation” vibe. I loved the look.
However, the real expert move of pulling off the floral shirt is knowing how to wear it all classed up. Since most guys prefer to have bold ties instead of bold shirts, wearing a floral shirt with a tie is a sure kickass move. Here’s an example I’ve been waiting to show you guys for a longtime! Big thanks to my pal Jon Hwang for shooting it.
Now this is a freakin’ loud shirt. It’s almost reminiscent of those ones you find at Goodwill but not quite the same. Don’t worry, these aren’t like those ill-fitting, ugly, floral 70s shirts you see on Tobias Fünke on Arrested Development. Our current floral shirts have a stiff enough collar meant for ties and are cut very slim. For future reference, any patterned shirt you wear must be slim and fitted, or else you’ll end up looking bigger than you are. But lets get back to the the shirt.
Even though floral print shirts are loud (have a large pattern), you can still class it up with a tie. To do so, just follow the tips for floral ties, but just in reverse: keep the tie simple. Don’t put patterned ties on florals; it’ll definitely look too crazy. If you like the floral print shirt but still too scared to rock it on its own, don’t worry: pop a blazer on it and cover it up! Now the collar is pretty much the only part others will see! Even though most of the shirt is covered, you still have that small pop of color and pattern right by your tie. It’s a perfect look to try out for your summer suiting! But what about for your classy gents who don’t always like to wear ties?
Simple, just don’t wear a tie! Even tucked in with a blazer, a floral shirt can stand on its own. It doesn’t have to be a “casual only” piece. If you noticed, I always wear these prints with blue, white, or khaki since those are the best to bring out the floral print. Think of it this way: flowers need soil, sun, and water to thrive. There’s your color partners.
Lastly, try and get some floral print pocket squares. They’re a great piece to wear if you’re not wearing any other florals in your outfit! In fact, any patterned pocket square is a better choice than a plain one (unless you want to go formal or conservative).
I hope you guys will try out the floral print in your wardrobe! I confess I only have the three shirts I’ve showcased in this post, but I definitely want more. Like I’ve said over and over, its a great way to break free of the plain, dotted, or striped shirts all guys tend to wear. The same goes for the ties! Take a chance and bring new life to your wardrobe with floral print!
Always a pleasure,