With spring and summertime coming around and the sun returning, it’s time to move away from the all-black rain boots and overcoats and don something a bit fresher.
As someone whose wardrobe has consistently been a black mass, I’m always looking for nice prints and patterns to add a bit of flavor to the otherwise dark and dreary palette. In my search I’ve gone beyond the current-season options and have curated an assortment of patterns throughout the years that struck me as particularly beautiful. People say patterns often fall victim to fast-moving trends but there are many here that have mesmerized me years later:
Let’s start with some current season options that are a bit easier to find
I’ve never really paid much attention to Phillip Lim but this season’s Hawaiian-digital hybrid pattern is simply too good to ignore. With the pattern predominantly being composed of rich teals, the shirt automatically seems a bit “cooler” than traditional florals, whose vibrant red and green elements take over. There is no absence of variety though, as other shades of navy, green, and red peek through as well. All of that taken into consideration, the real reason this pattern is so nice is the administration: it’s subtly spread out amongst a backdrop of solid black and uneven white gridding with a well thought-out clean white shoulder panel and collar. Get yours here.
I’m always proud to rep newfound Taiwanese clothing brands and it seems I’ve been overlooking Wisdom for quite a while now, considering they started production in 2009. This season’s lookbook stunned me and one of the patterns that caught my eye was this beige and navy floral vest. This color combination can never go wrong and the balance between the tones is perfect with even a hint of violet on the plants’ veins. As a vest, too, this piece really lends itself to versatile spring-summer wear as you can easily layer over and under to either tone down the pattern or reveal it in full (floral) force.
Cav Empt reigns as the streetwear king of 90s digital simulacra and this shirt exhibits all the strengths of the brand whose founders were also integral in the development of Bape, Billionaire Boys Club, and Wtaps. It contains a slightly more subdued color palette, with the streaked (and slightly gradated) deep army green and mauve making an excellent backdrop for the hazy printed eyes. As a darker print this piece would do well in the transitioning stages from the dark winter. If you’re eye-ing this piece you can pick one up here.
Maybe you’re just the type of person that wants to wear all-black year round or wishes winter never left. If that’s the case, this cloud-print tee by Trinitas might be for you. I can personally attest to the quality that this brand’s hand cut-and-sewn approach brings. The cut is slim and long, the neckline wide, and sleeves slightly cropped for an all-around flattering and fashion-forward fit. Check out more designs on the brand’s website.
If you know me you haven’t heard me shut up about this piece. With this self-described “botanical” print, Japanese brand Diet Butcher Slim Skin has produced the single best pattern this season (well, in my eyes). Strikingly and mainly…verdant in its color composition, there are nonetheless moments of shimmering teal and orange that create brilliant visual interest amongst the otherwise dark colors. The perforations give sufficient visual (and literal) breathing room and the mix of navies and blue-tinted blacks sit as wonderful complements to the other dark greens. If you want to pick this piece up, you may need a friend in Japan to pick one up for you but you can always visit Diet Butcher Slim Skin’s website to look at more of this season’s amazing printed, embossed, and patterned pieces.
And now, a blast from the past:
Here are some patterns from previous collections that are still some of my favorites
Also released in Autumn/Winter 2008, this Ann Demeulemeester floral is still so striking and holds so much depth in its color. Produced in many different variants (pants, gilet, jacket, coat), it is admittedly extremely feminine. Would I still wear it? Definitely. I’ve actually found a pair of the corduroy pants for-sale but it’s two sizes too small for me. Would I wear it? I only wish I could.
For their Spring/Summer 2010 Collection, Undercover printed photos of forests and water onto a variety of Dieter-Rams influenced garments. At first I didn’t really enjoy the prints but as time passed I came to love the realism in them and now own a pair of the shorts in forest.
Undercover is also involved in this one but these pieces and patterns are actually produced through their running-focused collaboration with Nike (aptly named “Gyakusou,” or “reverse running”). I recall it made it to quite steep sales later in the season when it was released but I wasn’t wise enough to pick anything up.
Last but definitely not least:
This marble print has probably been copied a thousand times since the Jil Sander Autumn/Winter 2008 + Spring/Summer 2009 show, but Raf Simons still did it best. Angular, cracked, and full of beautiful contrast, this print has held up for 5 long years and people are still ripping it off now. If you find any of these pieces snatch them up quick, because they won’t stay up for sale available for long. Actually, just let me know. I’ll buy them.