“Dressing well is a form of good manners” according to Tom Ford, and I’ll have to say that I agree. Now I am not telling you to wear what is represented on the mannequin in your local department store or Forever 21, however I am inspiring you that while you have your own self represented style one should compliment your selections well!
On that note, lets talk about patterns and prints. There are probably over a million different fabrics out there representing just about everything from food all the way to rainbow color schemes and so on. I think I’ve even seen a money print blouse and pants that carried anchors on them. Animal prints are a thing of the past and even they’re trying to overlap into the future with neon leopard scarves or pink and purple zebra’d gloves, the massive amounts of creativity is explosive. Heck I work at Victoria Secret and the stuff they come up with to put on panties is just ludicrous. That also factoring that we get shipment every single day and new panties in almost every third day.
Getting back to our manners on the runway of life I was watching a segment on JustFab! and I was a little taken aback by what they were offering guests who wrote in to cure their fashion mishaps; combining patterns for instance. Disappointed because all the people who represent that show are pretty on point with all their outfits and I am never thinking that they should take a time out and do a quick wardrobe change on a commercial break. The put a young lady in a dress with a solid background with a traced print in black over it. To me thats not helping her understand why her previous outfit….plaid pants and a overly flowered shirt did not work. I mean that woman probably has a few patterned items in her closet and very little basic clothes. She said she LOVED patterns for crying out loud. And quite frankly her make-over was a disservice to her and what she loves.
But enough about the technicalities, let me just show you what I am talking about and give you my take on how to mix match your patterns so that you come off looking stylishly sophisticated and highly fashionably creative!! It is my intention that we all get it right no matter what our style preferences are. I am the main one that will go from shabby to chic in 24 hours and make the best out of both those worlds!!
Lets start with a visual:
In the illustration above it is a clear representation of two outfits of the same degree. One of these two choices works better than the other and it is do to a few minor details. Personally I prefer the look on the right because it is subtle in its boldness. First off we have the color yellow portrayed and we all know that’s a statement hue. I particularly like that there is a solid, that breaks up the stripe and leopard print, in her purse and her blouse. Not to mention that the stripes are wide and the animal print big, yet is tighter.
The photo on the left just looks very comically put together. The tightness of the stripes and the pattern on the skirt do not compliment one another. I am also noticing that there is no breakup between the patterns as well. Given she has a yellow button up underneath it is not enough to create balance in this ensemble. Had the shirt been left out at the bottom there may have been some differentiation between the two heavy prints I might have felt otherwise. In any case even a black shirt would have done some justice. Teaming up extremely heavy patterns are not always the best way to go, nor the fact that they are in the same color family! Something to keep in mind if you are a match-y color person trying to break free from the familiar with prints or patterns.
Can I get a wow!! I just love both of these photos in their own special crazy awesome fun flavored way! Who says too much print is a no no? Not me, you just have to make sure its complimentary. Yes opposites do attract and it ain’t nothing wrong with that and you can see why here. The young woman on the left has gone crazy with her a-line look! There is a theme of obvious stripes and a pop of whimsy in her skirt selection which softens the stripes. That being said they are carefully chosen in complimentary colors that not only break up what could be considered overpowering but give dimension to the entire unit. And I’ll admit this was not a first choice but I grew into it the more I studied it! So consider going beyond whats normal and create a new set of rules that changes up the game. Obviously stay away from GIANT flowers on top of GIANT flowers but otherwise have a go at it!
The second recommended print creation speaks volumes. It radiates with vibrancy and one pattern or print does not overshadow the other. The blue and green basic color scheme sets for the perfect marriage, throwing in the pink patterned hints of pink with the yellow floral accents and boom this group of pieces steals the show. She is not overwhelming in any way. The bagginess of the material even makes this feel lighter even though it could be portrayed that the tight leaves on her pants and navy blue undertone of her scarf would say otherwise! Encourage yourself to team your tightly printed pieces with something you have that’s more light and flow-y and see what happens! As you can see here light and dark colors accent each other pretty phenomenally!
Last but not least another favorite of mine that I happened to run into on this journey of pattern to print discovery!! These are just stunning! I mean lets face it, who doesn’t like black and white with a hint of grey? Or the lovely Solange Knowles in her polka dotted pop of color? These two outfits truly defy the convention of what mixing and matching looks like. The model on the left has great depth and dimension in all the crazy patterns she is wearing, yet somehow it fits. I’d say that not only does the color scheme help but the fact that all her pieces are of different shapes sizes and scales all sexily presented on a basic white backdrop!
The outfit on the right gives a vintage feel throughout and is so tailored and precise in its appearance. Everything matches and are just the right color to embody one another. the shoes that return to the white polka dots is priceless. Here we get to see that the buisness side of life doesn’t have to be so cookie cutter and card board cut out! Think outside the box ladies and gentlemen and wear your personality on your sleeves, legs, and back!! If you can pull of any of these miss-match-to-match outfits you are well on your way to fashion success!
In this blog of Style Files we have tackled what it means to switch things up a bit. Its okay if your closet gets turned upside down and the only two things you find are something that would cause someone with no fashion sense to look at you like you have three heads, work it out with what you learned form my critique and these few additional tips:
Combine large stripes with a smaller print
Offset a floral print with polka dots
Leopard goes with everything
Polka dots and stripes always work
Double up on the same print
Gingham serves as a great base
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