“I’ve got a question for you – how do you gauge which patterns work well together across the tie, shirt and jacket?”

“I’ve written about that before, it’s all about the density of the pattern.”

“Well I didn’t see it, you should write about it again.”

One of the inherent disadvantages of a blog is its lack of an easy way to view the archive. Most questions I am asked my friends and readers have already been answered somewhere, previously (and I’ve only been doing this two years). There are exceptions, of course – a friend asked recently which side the buckle should go when you wear your belt, and I honestly don’t know.

But most of the time it’s been dealt with already. So to deal with this, and avoid the dull repetition that would result from following my friend’s advice above, I’ve created a list of useful answers by topic.

How do patterns go together?

Well, it’s all about how dense they are – how large and how close together. Just keep them in balance.

And it always helps if the tie has the largest, boldest pattern. If you want to play safe, to be honest, just separate tie and suit with a plain shirt.

How do you wear a pocket handkerchief?

Well, the default should be white linen, cotton if you find linen hard to wear or arrange (or indeed a mix, as Hermes ones often are).

Then and only then should you experiment with harmonising colours.

A good way to illustrate this is by looking at the way autumnal colours can go together.

The handkerchief is also a way to anchor an entire outfit, allowing more adventurous colours or patterns elsewhere.

As to how to wear it, this is often hard to do without looking pretentious. Go for a straight line or fold with the white linen default. For silk, I prefer the Lazy Fold.

This is an refinement of an earlier post regarding some general tips on stuffing.

How do you tend to wear waistcoats?

Well, I’m a big fan of wearing waistcoats with trousers on their own, as a way to avoid the difficulties of working all day at a computer in a jacket. This has been christened the Logical Waistcoat Theory.

This can mean changing the way you have your waistcoats made, if you have that luxury.

And I do like the odd waistcoat, though this is fiendishly difficult to do well, outside of formal events.

I hope this was useful. If it was, suggestions for similar references please.

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Edu Coelho

Great post. The topic about which side the buckle should go remembered me when I was a boy I had the same question regarding which arm should I wear my watch. I’m lefty, so I chose wearing it on my right arm because when I write it doesn’t bug me. I guess that’s why righties wear their watches on the left arm. Just a guess, because when I ask people why they wear their watches on the right or the left arm they usually don’t know why, they never thought about it. I guess it is because someone told them to do so, probably their mothers when they were kids.

Max Gibson

You continue to offer excellent insight in this space. Eventually when I have the clothing, I will surely be using your advice and guidance. Thanks always.

Max Gibson


I always put my belt on counterclockwise (as seen from the top), because That’s How Men Wear Belts. Women wear them the other way.

Or at least that’s what I was taught, and have observed.

Interesting thought about switching directions to prevent the belt from bowing, but I consider a bowed belt to be a better fit than a straight one.


“Just a guess, because when I ask people why they wear their watches on the right or the left arm they usually don’t know why, they never thought about it.”

As a righty, i’d say most watches are made to be worn on the left wrist, as the crown is on the right side of the watch, making it possible for one to adjust the time or use the functions of a multi-function chronograph with the right hand without removing the watch from the left wrist.

Edu Coelho

As a lefty I always need to take off the watch from my wrist no matter which arm I wear it. Because I don’t have a precise coordination to perform this task with my right hand. 🙂

I’m glad you a gave a thought about it.


Simon, I love your blog ad your practical approach to style. I know I’m late to this topic, but perhaps I can still contribute a solution for your searching quandry.

Google has a special keyword, site: that restricts results to a given website. People that wish to search for an article about matching tie patterns to jackets could do a google search for:

site:permanentstyle.blogspot.com tie pattern match jacket

Your Density of Pattern article is the second result to that search. If you like the idea, we could pretty easily add a search bar to your blog.