It might be easier to coordinate a patterned bow tie with a shirt in a solid colour (or the other way round) but for an equally elegant and more playful look, the combination of a patterned shirt with a patterned bow tie is an option to consider. Of course, it will only work so long as the combination doesn’t result in a psychedelic concoction. Here’s how to avoid just that.
Key to coordinating two patterned pieces successfully is to keep them distinguishable and for this, you’ll need to aim for contrast between the two.
First, consider the shirt and bow tie’s background colours. Whilst these needn’t be completely different, they should differ in intensity, with one being considerably lighter/darker than the other.
Second, for best results, opt for different patterns altogether, with one being denser or more elaborate than the other. Similar patterns, even if one is denser than the other will simply cancel each other out, when what you want is to have one of the two pieces (typically the bow tie) as the centrepiece, with the other complementing it.
Although your shirt and bow tie should be distinguishable from each other, for one to complement the other, there should be a link that ties in the two with each other, just as the two together should tie in with the rest of the outfit.
The best way to achieve this is to opt for a bow tie in a background colour that is identical or very similar to one of the colours in the shirt’s pattern – ideally that which stands out the most. Alternatively, you could also introduce another colour into the scheme while keeping one of the bow tie’s pattern’s colours similar to the shirt’s background colour.
If your shirt only contains two different colours – that of the pattern and the background colour – and especially if these are neutral colours, you could also consider a bow tie in a completely different colour scheme, as long as it contrasts and pairs well with the shirt.
Mixing two different patterns needn’t result in a chaotic look. Just keep the shirt and bow tie distinguishable yet complementary.