Ahh My favorite pattern, If Justin Timberlake can Bring Sexy Back, I can Bring Paisley back! Well it never actually left, it seems to be in a perpetual state of renaissance, as much of an oxymoron that may be. The Paisley pattern is one of the most enduring in textiles. Its name is derived from a town of the same name in central Scotland. Paisley (the town) was where a huge surge of textiles bearing the design were manufactured in the early 19th century, to meet the demand of the returning colonial soldiers who had seen it in the far east. It is English for a design of eastern origin. Resembling a twisted teardrop, the kidney-shaped the design is known as Boteh Jegheh and it has been used in Iran since the Sassanid Dynasty (AD 224 to AD 651).
Imports from the East India Company in the first half of the 17th century made paisley and other eastern patterns popular. It was thought to ward off evil demons. Paisley was also particularly popular during the sixties identified with psychedelic style and the interest in Indian culture promoted by the The Beatles trip to India in 1968. At that time Fender even made a pink paisley version of their Telecaster guitar, by using wallpaper on the guitar bodies.
Today you can find it in all sorts of great clothing and accessories for men and for women. It is so much more than just some design you once saw on your grandfathers handkerchief. contrary to what the uninitiated may think it is a very masculine design, representing strength and fertility. Although that thought never enters my mind when I wear it, I just like the look. A quite a few mens designers have incorporated it into ties, pocket squares, shirts and even jackets! And for women the options are endless.
A few designers have done a great job with this; Indochino has a nice assortment shirts, ties and accessories, and Bertigo offers some beautiful shirts with contrasting color cuffs, but one of my favorite conceptions of it is in the extra slim fit shirt from Express. It’s done in a black and white paisley pattern. Cut in a slim (athletic) fit and is 100 percent cotton, so it is comfortable and durable. The make it is a few patterns, and they are all great, and if you hit them during a sale (which seems like all the time) you can get a nice quality, great looking dress shirt for pretty little.
Along with the shirts, Express does a great tie to match, also The Cordial Churchman will custom make a bow tie or pocket square for you in just about any paisley print. Paisley is a classic print that is very sophisticated and belongs, if even as a small accoutrement, as part of your wardrobe. So have some fun and mix it up a bit, try a paisley in a solid with some bold stripes, or match some pattern colors on a couple of pieces. Be it a tie, a pocket square, or something more, if you are willing to embrace the paisley you will always look swell.
(Images courtesy of: premiergiutar.com, indochino, & express.com)
- The Looks & Trends – Paisley Print (uelfashion.wordpress.com)