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A psychedelic motif breathes life into an otherwise unassuming shirt at the Dries Van Noten fall 2018 runway show.

Catwalking

I’d like to turn things up a little for fall. What are your tips for wearing a loud shirt, especially in a dressier setting?

There’s much to be said for wearing bold shirting; it’s less of an investment than a dandy suit but exudes more confidence than a punchy pocket square or tie. Belgian designer Dries Van Noten’s eclectic fall collection featured patterns reminiscent of liquid light shows of the 1960s. He paired this standout shirting with tidy tailored pieces, and the effect was groovy but grounded.

In addition to wearing brassy shirts with more traditional garments such as wool slacks in a neutral tone (top with a solid-hued tie and tidy oxfords to bring it all together), your best bet – if you’re newer to nervy style choices – is to look for patterns that allow the eye some rest. Reiss’s wine-hued floral shirt features well-spaced blooms; less is indeed more in this case. A more adventurous option is Ted Baker’s take on the de rigueur leaf motifs we’re seeing in all manner of design lately; its light blue colour set against monochromatic foliage is pleasingly pronounced. Another route is to seek out patterns that are minimalistic but set against a brighter background, such as Frank and Oak’s dizzying dots splashed across a crimson-coloured shirt.

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You can also wear a bold shirt for a casual occasion, of course. I would recommend darker denim instead of a light wash, which will create competition in terms of where the eye travels. If you’re wearing your shirt tucked in, add a belt to further break up the busy effect of a patterned shirt. And remember, an upbeat attitude is key – wear the shirt, don’t let it wear you!

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HANDOUT

Balleter floral printed shirt, $195 at Reiss.

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Ramseys leaf print cotton shirt, $209 at Ted Baker.

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Andover stretch polkadot shirt, $69.50 at Frank and Oak.

Have a style query that needs solving? Send your questions to oparker@globeandmail.com.

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