Windowpane is a bold patterned suit that has come in and out of style over the decades. Windowpane is a member of the plaid family and it’s named for the wide-open squares on the fabric. The lines forming the squares are usually light-colored and set against a dark backdrop, which makes them look like window panes. If you’ve considered wearing a windowpane suit, start by selecting a shirt that will create the desired effect. Then, choose your pants and shoes, and customize the look with additional accessories.
Styling the Suit
1Bring out the windowpanes with a white, bright, or pastel shirt. Look at the lines on your windowpane suit and select a shirt that is a close match or go with a bright, bold color for an even stronger effect. The light-colored lines on a windowpane suit are not always subtle, but this will emphasize them even more.
- For example, you could wear a pastel-yellow shirt with a windowpane suit that has light yellow lines on it, or amp up the volume with a bright yellow shirt.
2Opt for a print shirt to contrast with the windowpane pattern. Small and large print shirts can add quirky appeal to your windowpane suit, so feel free to experiment. Try a polka dot shirt, paisley, or even another type of plaid to contrast with the windowpane suit.
- Make sure to choose prints in colors that will match or complement the colors in your suit, such as a light green print shirt with a forest green windowpane suit, or a black and white print shirt with a black and white windowpane suit.
3Wear windowpane pants with a windowpane jacket for a bold look. This is a lot of windowpane print, so some people shy away from the full suit look. However, it can be a great way to stand out and make a bold fashion statement. Still, you may want to save this look for formal affairs and other situations where you want to make an impression on people.
- For example, you might opt for a full windowpane suit for a wedding, an awards ceremony, or an important date with your significant other.
4Include a white or light-colored pocket square if desired. Although it’s optional, a pocket square can help to make your look seem more formal. Include a pocket square in your blazer’s breast pocket if you’re attending a formal event.
Tip: Cloth pocket squares are ideal, but you can use a white paper napkin in a pinch.
5Limit yourself to 1-2 additional tasteful accessories. If you want to wear an accessory other than a tie or pocket square, choose carefully. The windowpane suit does not need much in the way of accessories since it is already so bold, but you may select 1-2 additional tasteful pieces to wear with the suit if desired.
- For example, you could pair a nice watch with your suit, secure your shirt sleeves with gold or silver cuff links, or accent your tie with a tie clip.
6Go with black or dark brown shoes. Stick with a simple pair of black or brown lace-up or slip-on dress shoes to avoid clashing with the suit. Avoid bolder shoe designs, such as black and white wingtips, unless you’re trying to make an even bolder fashion statement.
Wearing a Windowpane Suit to the Office
1Pair a dark-colored shirt with your suit to tone down the pattern. Choose a shirt that matches the darkest color of the suit’s fabric. A windowpane suit is a bold fashion statement on its own, so it’s fine to choose a dark, solid-colored shirt if you want to tone down the look a bit. This can even help to give the look more of a formal vibe.
- For example, you could pair a navy shirt with a navy-colored suit or a black shirt with a black-colored suit.
Tip: This is also a great option if you’re going out on the town later the same night or if you have a formal event to attend after work.
2Tone down the pattern with dark, solid-colored pants. Similar to how you can tone down the look with a dark-colored shirt, you can pair dark-colored pants with the blazer instead of windowpane pants to bring it down a notch. Opt for a pair of pants that match the darkest color in the blazer.
- For example, if the blazer is dark brown, opt for dark brown pants.
3Select a subdued tie for a work-ready look. Avoid print and bold-colored ties unless you want to draw more attention to yourself. Stick with a solid-colored tie that complements your suit.
- For example, if your windowpane suit is dark green, then a dark green or brown tie may be the perfect choice.
4Select 1-2 tasteful accessories if desired. Too many accessories may cause the suit to appear too formal for the workplace. Stick with a watch or a tie clip to avoid making the look too dressy.
5Choose black or dark brown dress shoes. Stick with a simple pair of black or brown lace-up or slip-on dress shoes to wear with your windowpane jacket. Steer clear of bold shoe designs for a wear-to-work look, such as black and white wingtips.
Dressing the Suit Casually
1Try a windowpane waistcoat instead of a jacket for a subtle look. If you’re not ready to try the full windowpane suit or even a blazer yet, you might consider pairing a windowpane waistcoat (or vest) with a solid color blazer or suit. This will allow you to test out the look without making such a bold fashion statement.
Tip: Adding a waistcoat under a jacket can also provide extra warmth in cold weather. A waistcoat is also a good option if you don’t want to wear a blazer at all, such as in warm weather.
2Pair a windowpane jacket with a pair of jeans or loose chinos. If you want to look casual chic, then pairing a windowpane jacket with a nice pair of jeans or chinos is a great way to pull it off. Select pants that fit you well and are free from rips and tears. You can wear any color jeans you like, but you may want to pair darker-colored blazers with darker-colored pants and vice versa.
- For example, if your windowpane blazer is navy blue, then opt for indigo jeans. If your windowpane blazer is robin’s egg blue, then opt for light blue jeans.
Tip: If you don’t want to wear jeans, khakis and linen pants are also good options for making the windowpane blazer look more casual.
3Pair the windowpane suit with casual leather shoes or sneakers. Pairing sneakers with a suit is not something most people do every day, but it can work out well depending on the overall look and situation. The combination also works really well to elevate the sneakers to be more formal and tone down the seriousness of the suit at the same time, making this look perfect for occasions that are semi-formal.
- Sneakers can also work well if you’ve chosen to wear a more casual pair of pants, such as jeans or khakis.
4Skip the tie and leave your collar open. If you’re trying to wear a windowpane blazer in a casual way, then a tie may not even be necessary. Try the look without a tie to see if this gives you the desired effect.
- Unbuttoning your shirt by 1-2 buttons from the collar can also help to make the look seem more casual if that’s what you’re going for.