The Fresh Prints

We’re not going to lie – prints and patterns are tricky. If you’ve built a classic, timeless and versatile capsule wardrobe, it can be difficult to know how to stylishly incorporate busy details into your outfits on a regular basis.

Thankfully, the latest crop of seasonal prints offers simple motifs that even the most aesthetically conservative guy can get on board with. So, while we’ve seen everything from Italian brocade to animal transfers on the SS15 runways, these are the five basic prints and patterns we think every man should try in the coming season:

Windowpane Checks

You’ll probably recognise this pattern as the suiting check of choice favoured by some of history’s remarkably refined, including Clark Gable and Frank Sinatra. At once understated and bold, the windowpane is able to make a statement without shouting.

While it’s definitely still a strong contender in contemporary tailoring, this season the windowpane was extended past its formal wear heritage to more casual, everyday pieces, as seen at labels like 3.1 Phillip Lim and Emporio Armani.

Forget the slim cuts of the past, one of the chief ways we saw this check applied on the SS15 runways was across relaxed-leg trousers. Take tips from Kris Van Assche and Etro, where looser-fitting styles were combined with preppy polo shirts, unstructured blazers and bomber jackets for an effortlessly chic aesthetic.

If you do opt for statement legwear, you’ll want to keep everything else minimal. And if you’ve already invested in a pair of Stan Smiths – or similarly minimal white trainers – then we suggest you use them as a blank canvas to let your legwear do all the talking.

If you’re the type of guy that wears a lot of lighter tailored trousers in spring, a checked windowpane pair in white will be one of the most versatile items you’ll buy this season – not only do they make a great substitute for your chinos, but you can also smarten them up with a sharp, peak lapel blazer for summer events.

Remember, the key to nailing this trend is in keeping the colour palette low-key; stick to styles that have neutrals and darker hues as their base, set off by a contrasting check.

Lookbook Inspiration

reiss ss14 new look ss15 digel ss15 reiss ss15 suitsupply ss14 el burgues aw14 asos 2015 asos 2015 asos 2015 Etro SS15 Le-Chateau ss15 Le-Chateau ss15

Key Pieces
  • American Apparel Check Sweat Bomber
  • Libertine Libertine Bomber Jacket Mono Large Check
  • New Look Check Shirt With Grandad Neck And Long Sleeves
  • Jacob Coh?n Casual Trouser
  • Reiss Beluga Checked Cuban Collar Shirt White
  • Topman Navy And Red Check Stretch Skinny Fit Chinos
  • Collezione Tailored Fit Window Pane Check Jacket With Linen
  • M&s Collection Luxury Linen Blend Tailored Fit 2 Button Windowpane Check Jacket
  • Steven Alan Button-down Collar Windowpane-check Cotton Shirt
  • Ami Window-pane Check Linen Trousers
  • River Island Navy Window Pane Check Handkerchief
  • Christian Louboutin Dandelion Woven-check Loafers 1001947
Statement Stripes

The stripe is probably one of the few patterns that most men are already comfortable with wearing. However, this season is all about retiring the classic Breton motif and bringing something bigger and bolder into the mix.

Start by introducing a colour-blocked, horizontal striped T-shirt to your wardrobe. Not only will it provide a suitable, statement alternative to a button-down shirt under your suit, but it will also pair well with your favourite jeans on your downtime.

If the idea of a striped tee for summer has you snoozing, try upping the ante with a chunky striped jumper, bomber jacket (as seen at Giorgio Armani) or button-down shirt (à la Acne Studios).

Alternatively, if your office isn’t the type that favours dress-down Fridays, take tips from Gucci, where bold navy vertical stripes were applied across slim-cut, lightweight tailoring – a solid option for smart dressing in warmer weather.

A head-to-toe striped outfit definitely won’t work for everyone, but Gucci also showed subtler ways of introducing the motif to tailoring this season – via detailing on lapels and sleeves – for a look that’s more James Bond and less Beetlejuice.

Lookbook Inspiration

zara ss15 L.B.M SS13 Ede & Ravenscroft SS13 Hentsch Man ss15 minimum express 2013 suitsupply ss15 Minimum SS14 gucci resort ss15 tommy hilfiger denim ss13 reiss ss14 allsaints ss15 Boglioli ss15

Key Pieces
  • Ps Paul Smith Jumper With Multi Stripe
  • Toast Bee Stripe Jumper
  • Cheap Monday T-shirt Alexei Stripe Melange
  • Topman Navy Stripe Hooded Mac
  • Allsaints Breton Crew Jumper
  • Urban Renewal Vintage Remnants Stripe Co-ord Shorts In Navy And White
  • Austin Reed Boating Stripe Jacket
  • Blue Harbour Notch Lapel 2 Button Striped Jacket With Wool
  • Hentsch Man Button-down Collar Striped Cotton Shirt
  • Gant Malibu Madras Stripe Shirt Multi
  • J.w. Brine Drake Striped Cargo Chinos 1005696
  • Faherty Striped Cotton T-shirt
Camouflage

While camo print has been on the menswear agenda for the past few seasons, designers were pushing abstract versions of the military motif for spring/summer 2015.

On the runway, Givenchy fused two trends together by extending a sublimation camo made up of florals across utility jackets and vests, while Viktor & Rolf applied a digital iteration in tonal colours to a lightweight mac and baseball jacket.

The key to mastering this print is simple: employ it sparingly. Camo is very easily overdone, so we suggest you start with just one printed piece – a bomber jacket, jumper or T-shirt, for example. Not only will all of these team well with plain colour jeans or chinos, they can also be paired with neutral shorts and white trainers when the weather gets warmer.

If you’re searching for an easy way to incorporate this trend into your look without too much head-scratching, try camo accessories. A backpack, pair of trainers or pocket square (not all at once) will add a splash of interest to any of your go-to outfits, and even the smallest details, such as your phone case, can be updated accordingly.

Lookbook Inspiration

zara 2015 zara 2015 zara 2015 club monaco ss14 bershka march 2014 espionage ss15 el burgues ss15 mango man fall 2014 bal ss14 allsaints ss15 j crew ss14 Scotch & Soda Amsterdams Blauw ss14

Key Pieces
  • Ps Paul Smith Shirt With Digital Camo Pattern Slim Fit Short Sleeves
  • Allsaints Cale Bomber Jacket
  • Zara Camouflage T-shirt
  • Allsaints Forray Knit Tee
  • Asos Chino Shorts With Camo Print
  • Asos Slim Chinos With All Over Camo Print
  • Valentino Camo-print Cotton Polo Shirt 1015254
  • Zara Camouflage Faux Leather Bomber
  • Herschel Supply Co. Crosstitch Pop Quiz Backpack In Woodland Camo
  • Saint Laurent Camouflage Mohair-blend Crew Neck Sweater
  • Chimala Camouflage-print Cotton Jacket
  • Valentino Camouflage-print Leather And Suede Sneakers
Neutral Florals

Although florals are considered a perennial spring/summer trend, this season we have seen a move away from tropical brights towards muted neutral palettes and monochrome styles.

If you buy into this trend with one piece, make it a short-sleeved shirt or tee. If you followed the menswear shows, you’ll have seen iterations of the former pieced together with linen shorts and relaxed-leg trousers at Dunhill and Valentino, respectively.

Not only can you layer each of these underneath your tailoring during the week, you can also team them with a denim or leather jacket if you’re heading to a gig at the weekend.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to make more of a statement, a floral bomber jacket nails two of this season’s key trends in one and will team well with a plain T-shirt and chinos for a look that’s both casual and effortlessly cool.

Lookbook Inspiration

zara ss14 zara 2015 mango man ss14 selected homme aw13 zara 2015 reiss ss14 matalan ss15 mango man ss15 river island high summer 2015 allsaints ss14 allsaints ss15 river island ss15

Key Pieces
  • Allsaints Landscape Crew T-shirt
  • Allsaints Ashbury Shirt
  • Allsaints Otis Bomber Jacket
  • Ted Baker T-shirt With All Over Floral Print & Pocket
  • Ted Baker Sweatshirt With Floral Print
  • Zara Floral T-shirt
  • Zara Poplin Short-sleeved Shirt With Palm Tree Print
  • Ted Baker Junglo Small Printed Leather Document Bag
  • Topman Black Floral Snapback Cap
  • Reiss 1971 Martian Palm Print Shirt Black
  • River Island Black Floral Bomber Jacket
  • River Island Blue Indigo Floral Shorts
Typography

While you probably haven’t touched typography and slogans since your teens (or the rise of the Louis Vuitton graffiti print), this season the writing really was on the, er, clothes.

Christopher Bailey was one of the most prominent advocates of the trend, covering denim jackets, scarves and portfolios with literature-inspired lettering at the Burberry Prorsum spring/summer 2015 show. Keen to prove just how gentlemanly this type of print can be, Bailey was clever to introduce it sparingly into his looks – as should you, starting with just one piece.

An all-black jeans, T-shirt, blazer and Chelsea boots combination will be instantly livened up with a typography portfolio in a bold colour, such as the claret, turquoise and mustard versions seen at Burberry. Or if you’re more likely to be wearing a bomber jacket and shorts, try hunting down a slogan-covered tee, sweatshirt or backpack for a sportier take on the trend.

Remember: the key to mastering this look is keeping the print to a minimum. Christopher Shannon’s Sex Pistols-style slogan separates might not be suitable for everyday wear when paired together, but a slogan tee will serve you well under your best blazer when you want to add a definite talking point to an otherwise discreet outfit.

Lookbook Inspiration

m&s ss15 h&m ss15 zara 2015 H&m 2014 mango man spring 2015 pull & bear june 2014 PULL AND BEAR DAILY STANDARDS 2015 ti for men spring 2015 scotch & soda ss14 el burgues aw15 mango man blacksmith & co ss15 h&m 2015

Key Pieces
  • Topman Black Slogan Bomber Jacket
  • Zara New York City T-shirt
  • He By Mango Message Cotton Sweatshirt
  • Neighborhood Printed Cotton-fleece Sweatshirt
  • Undercover Printed Cotton Sweatshirt
  • Acne Studios Casey Slogan Printed Cotton Sweatshirt
  • River Island Grey Marl All Night Slogan Print T-shirt
  • River Island Grey Marl Whatever Slogan Print T-shirt
  • Paul Smith Accessories Love Freedom Scarf
  • Rxmance Printed Cotton-jersey T-shirt 1011946
  • Burberry Prorsum Book Cover-print Leather Covered A5 Notebook 1014409
  • Burberry Prorsum The Writer-print Leather Document Holder 1018208
Final Word

With such a broad range of prints and patterns populating menswear stores this season, there’s guaranteed to be at least one style that’ll work for even the most ardent of minimalists.

Which of these five key prints and patterns will you be picking up this spring/summer? Any particular favourites you’d like to add?

Let us know by commenting below.