Notice a Pattern

Old heritage prints – check, plaid and houndstooth – get a new lease on life this summer. 

From formal to casual, subtle to standout, patterns are having a moment. We take a closer look at the patterns of the moment and discover how to style them.

Written by Afrika Bogatsu

Print vs pattern, what’s the difference?

Before we get into it, it’s probably best we start with clearing up the difference between print and pattern, which are often confused or interpreted as synonymous. They’re more like siblings, or fraternal twins, at best: the two are distinguishable. All prints are patterns, but not all patterns are prints. 

A pattern is any repeated design that is woven into a fabric. Whereas a print, think florals, for example, is a more abstract less organised pattern, that isn’t woven but applied with dye onto the fabric through either screen printing or digital printing. You can tell whether a garment is printed by flipping it over to its inside, if you can’t see the pattern, it’s most probably a print.

So now that we know the difference between a pattern and a print, let’s look at this season’s top patterns.


Houndstooth is a symmetrical, broken check pattern formed by the weave structure of the garment. The jagged edges that flare out from the sides of the squares resemble the back teeth of a dog – hence the name. The pattern is most commonly seen in black and white but this year we’re seeing it in fresh hues of blue. And instead of it being on heavy wintry fabrics like wool, but this season we’re keeping it light for the summer.

How and where to wear it: Houndstooth can be a bit busy, it is after all a maximalist kind of pattern, so if you don’t wanna go over the top, pair this smart houndstooth T-shirt with black slim-cut jeans for a sleek date night look. 

Hero item: If you’re trying Houndstooth this season, we suggest you go for something bold and unexpected like houndstooth swim shorts and a bucket hat sporting the pattern for a standout look by the pool.

Check, please!

The checked pattern consists of horizontal and vertical stripes making it look like a chessboard. Checks come in all sorts of sizes and colours, from simple squares to lines creating unique patterns. It’s a timeless and universal pattern that’s pretty easy to pull off, making it a staple print in any closet. 

How and where to wear it: Perfect for climbing the corporate ladder, a check suit paired with formal lace-ups is bound to say you mean business without you saying a word. 

Hero item: You can never go wrong with a pair of check trousers, but check shorts are just as smart with added comfort for hot summer days.

Plaid to see it

We can thank the Scots for this pattern: they call it tartan and it’s symbolic of family heritage in the British Isles, dating back to the 16th century. Typically, the pattern consists of two or more colours, woven in horizontal and vertical bands. Like checks, you can find plaids in small tight or larger scale patterns in various colours. Plaids are most common with a thick stripe surrounded by thinner stripes to create a large repeating pattern. While they’re most common in woven wools for handsome winter jackets, we’re seeing the pattern on everything from shirts to accessories.

How and where to wear it: These plaid slim tapered joggers will look great worn with a plain white tee and crisp sneakers for post-work drinks.   

Hero item: A plaid shirt is an essential in any stylish man’s closet. 

For the longest time houndstooth, plaid and check have been confined to the formal boardrooms and stuffy coat rooms, but this year’s breathing fresh new life into these heritage patterns. Wear them your way and make sure you stand out this season.