Go Bold or Go Home: A Guide to Wearing Graphic Prints

Grown up fashion can be bewildering at times. On the one hand, if you’re brave enough to wear anything, go for it. On the other, if you want people to say, “that guy’s got style,” you need to put the work in.

Ultimately, you need to follow your own rules for style in order to look sharp. Donning a well-tailored suit will make anyone look good but doesn’t necessarily make you stylish.

Nowadays, there are so many style icons for men, that it’s hard to decide what’s on trend.

Contrast the styles of some of the 21st century’s best dressed men:

  • Harry Styles – Considered the epitome of style and beloved of Gucci, Harry can wear a frilly dress and make it iconic.
  • Kanye West – Say what you like about his behavior, but the man knows a thing or two about cool outerwear.
  • Alex Turner – The Artic Monkeys frontman has had a sartorial evolution, from skinny jeans to velvet wide-lapelled suits.
  • A$AP Rocky – Blending streetwear with catwalk, this hip hop star broke all the rules and reinvented them.

Going Bold

Graphic prints are no longer a passing phase, they are here to stay. Some men think that these items should only be worn in their youth, but that’s an unfair assumption.

The world of fashion would be dreary if men just stuck to trainers and jeans. Don’t throw out your bold prints, just learn how to work them.

Choosing some bright and bold pieces can really reflect your personality, so you can cast off that “boring Ben” title.

Three cardinal rules apply with loud pieces:

  1. Do layer with block colors
  2. Don’t mix too many patterns
  3. Don’t get all matchy matchy

You can discard the last one if you’re a multi-million-dollar wrestler or hip-hop star, as rules don’t apply.

So Where Do You Begin?


If you want to start off gently, just add some pieces that you can get away with anywhere. You can actually have some fun with a nautical theme:

  • Buy shirts with a bigger, bolder stripe
  • Choose ones in different colors – bright green, yellow, even pink
  • A polka dot shirt is playing it safe, but you can get some styles that are a bit cheekier.
  • Pair with a tailored blazer and some navy trousers, and you’re good to go.


Black and white doesn’t have to be boring, in fact it can really make an impact. Big prints can look really modern in black and white – see Karl Lagerfeld’s designs for inspiration.

Large prints

If you’re ready to make a splash on a sunny day, then you can go wild. Quirky graphic shirts have made a big comeback for date nights.

  • Go crazy, choose prints like:
  • Tigers on a jungle background
  • Speech bubbles on a blue or red background
  • Abstract prints with three or more colors

The sky is the limit. Just ensure that it’s a good fit around the shoulders and not too baggy. 

If you’re brave, you can pair it with some brightly colored slacks. If you have many colors in your shirt, match your trousers to one of those for a smooth transition.


No longer the preserve of bands or brands, logos are always in style.

When choosing an item with a logo, follow these rules:

  • Ensure the logo is large in just one place – back, chest or arms – not all over
  • Don’t choose something you don’t understand, it could haunt you
  • If it is a band, then make sure you’re a fan, not trying to be ironic/cool

Be Brave

Men’s style has become more casual over the past few decades. If you’re in a creative role, then it’s likely that formal wear isn’t the norm at work.

Don’t shy away from personal expression through your clothing, it can be a lot of fun. Take some chances and find your style.