The Style Report

    Style Insider: How to wear prints

  • Billy Horschel was on point with his patterned pants and solid polo pairing at the 2014 PGA Championship. (Warren Little/Getty Images)Billy Horschel was on point with his patterned pants and solid polo pairing at the 2014 PGA Championship. (Warren Little/Getty Images)

There isn’t a bigger trend in the world of golf fashion than prints. Chic camo prints burst through clubhouse doors last fall and now polka dots, checks, houndstooths, florals and jacquards have made it to the fairways this spring.

Prints are bold and fun, but they are also risky. There is a fine line between eye-catching and an eye sore. Here are eight dos and don’ts for wearing prints to help you stay on trend rather than going off the rails this season.

DO keep it simple
As with most things in life, keeping things simple is the best approach, and wearing prints is no exception. When wearing a printed article of clothing, keep the rest of your outfit simple and balanced. For example, if you are sporting a floral print polo, pair it with solid pants or shorts in a complementary color. In this case, the shirt should be the showcase piece of the outfit. Your pants, belt, shoes and hat should all play supporting roles. Don’t worry, though. They’ll get their time to shine.

DON’T combine prints…
Less is more. Count the number of printed pieces you are wearing. If you need more than one finger, then you are in danger of causing your playing partners to go cross-eyed. As a general rule, limit the number of printed pieces to a single item. However...

(David Cannon/Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

If your name happens to be Ryo Ishikawa, or you fancy yourself as a sartorial expert, then GO FOR IT! Mixing and matching prints is a boss move when done right. The key, though, is to properly scale the prints by pairing a micro with a macro print, as Ryo does. Keep the two prints in the same color family to help balance and blend the look, and never, ever wear three prints.

DO go for a dip
Like tie dye? Can’t wear it to the club? Then check out one of the trendiest prints in the game of golf — the dip dyed print. Also, known ombre prints, dip dyed fabrics give the appearance of being, you guessed it, dipped in a bowl of dye. They are chic and trendy and a bit more Rodeo Drive than Haight-Ashbury. When wearing a dip dyed polo, pair it with a pair of solid pants or shorts in the same color family, as Rory McIlroy did at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.

(Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

DON’T forget about the legs
If we’ve learned anything from Billy “Crazy Legs” Horschel, it’s that pants can have personality, too. While John Daly may have been the first to bring wild patterned pants back to the fairways, Billy Horschel’s octopus trousers at the 2013 U.S. Open went absolutely viral. Whether it’s slithery snakes, colorful camo frogs or bold madras prints, Billy Ho’s pants are a sartorial success because he pairs them with simple and solid polos. Many labels, like J.Lindeberg and RLX Ralph Lauren, have a variety of stylish printed pants and shorts in their spring collections to liven up your legs.

(Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

DO keep it slim
Slim is in and it is even more important to keep your gear well-tailored when wearing prints, especially macros. Baggy fits and excess material make us look bigger than we actually are. Add a large print to the mix and this is magnified. Keep in mind, though, there is difference between slim and tight. If you require a spatula to slip on your gear, then it is time to size up.

(Michael Cohen/Ian Walton/Getty Images)

DON’T forget about the accessories
For the most part, accessories will play supporting roles to patterned polos or pants. Choose belts, shoes and hats in colors and textures that blend with the rest of your look and allow the printed piece to stand out. However, printed accessories can be used to spice up a fairly pedestrian outfit. Check out Matte Grey’s vibrant Aloha Press floral print hats, Wolsey’s camo print belts and Biion’s wildly patterned kicks. Just keep the rest of your outfit basic.

DO match prints to your personality and game
Your clothing should make you feel confident and comfortable. If you are a quiet person by nature, start with micro prints (think micro checks and mini polka dots) or tonal jacquards. The great thing about micro prints is that they wear like a solid. You won’t distract the foursome in the adjacent fairway, but up close, they will add an element of interest and texture to your look. On the flip side, if you have a bold game and personality, like Morgan Hoffmann, then live it up! Be aggressive and rock a courageous macro print, as Hoffmann did at the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

(Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

DO take into account locations and seasons
Let’s be honest. In January, a loud floral print doesn’t play as well in Boston as it does in Honolulu. The same can be said in reverse for a heavy fair isle pattern. One of the reasons why Ryo Ishikawa’s flamingo-and-palm-tree print polo worked so well at The Honda Classic was due to the location of the tournament (Palm Beach Gardens). Just as climate and season drive our choice of colors and fabrics, these factors should also drive the types of prints we wear.

(David Cannon/Getty Images)

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