The following four patterns are true modern classics and don’t seem to have an expiry date. Sometimes they become more trendy and fashionable, like bold horizontal stripes over the last few seasons, or the polka dot rage of a few years ago. But after the trend passes they retain their importance. They look equally good on men, women and kids every season, across all colour combinations, fabrications, and wardrobe items. They are also the easiest patterns to mix with other patterns


Broad StripeHorizontal StripeBrooklyn Stripe

There’s the bold high-contrast horizontal stripe, which has a graphic flair. The more low-contrast narrow stripe is chic and subtle. The diagonal stripe can be very slimming. The variegated stripe is interesting and sporty. The shadow stripe is pretty, and the pinstripe is retro and masculine. 

Polka Dots


There is something about the repetition of a perfect circle that is fun and pleasing to the eye. There are large bold dots and dainty pin dots. Dots that are equally sized, or change size across the pattern. Some dots are equidistant while others are randomly scattered. Some are high contrast and some are low contrast. Abstract dots are fun too.  

Animal Print


Cat prints like leopard and cheetah are very popular. Wild animal prints like zebra, and reptile patterns like snake, lizard and crocodile are also popular. Pony and cow patterns provide more variation. Giraffe patterns are less mainstream. And if you don’t like to wear animal print on clothing, sport the pattern in a bag, belt, scarf or shoe. 



In the US checks are called plaid. Tartan and gingham are the most popular check designs. Houndstooth is pretty popular too. Glen plaid is a slam dunk in men’s suiting, but has become mainstream for women too. Checks can be large or small scale, and in high or low colour combinations. 

I was going to throw in the ditsy floral as a fifth pattern with a high longevity factor but decided to leave it out because it’s not quite in the same league as the other four. Although florals, and the ditsy floral in particular are pretty classic, floral patterns can look dated at times. 

I have very classic pattern preferences because, of all the patterns in the world, I like these four patterns best and never seem to tire of them. I do tire of other patterns. I used to prefer dots to stripes, but moved over to Team Stripe last year. I rarely wear animal print clothing but love animal print footwear, belts and bags. And tartan makes me smile. I also love the occasional water colour floral because it’s fresh, pretty and reminds me of my late Mum. 

Over to you. Do you like and wear these classic patterns?