February 26, 2014
I saw mixed patterns in almost every window display in New York – along with color blocking, it was the ubiquitous fashion suggestion for spring.
You know perfectly well that I’m not a big believer in the following of trends, but sometimes a fleeting style element might catch your fancy. There’s nothing wrong with buying one or two things that clearly demonstrate your connection with the here and now, and that indulge your love of the trend in question.
Pattern mixing is tough… It requires a pretty astute eye to pull together different garments in different patterns. That’s why I really like the idea of buying one garment in which the patterns are mixed for you. Let the designers figure out the hard part!
So, depending on what your overall wardrobe “theme” is, you might indulge in the following. For those who love black and bright colors, one of these tops would be easy to wear with black trousers or a skirt. And the easiest way to handle pattern mixing is just find a dress!
If taking out a second mortgage for a garment doesn’t worry you, definitely look at the brand Etro. One of their signatures is the mix of patterns that they use. Their garments are gorgeous, made like works of art, and might last a lifetime…
For those of us who live in the black and white world, any of these choices would easily integrate into our core wardrobe of neutrals. I’m rather digging this tee shirt… it combines really attractive pattern mixing with a flattering placement of the patchwork, which brings attention to one’s face and away from the torso…
If our favorite things are denim, here are some choices…
Do you love earth tones? Any of these might integrate beautifully into a wardrobe containing brown, khaki, or ivory neutrals.
Devoted to flowers? Here you go…
And if you love pastels, these are easy ways to integrate a touch of pattern mixing without going overboard.
Green is a favorite too…
Please note, if you’re interested in these great tops from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, they run very narrow – great for layering, but if you want to wear it solo, consider sizing up a lot.
What bliss! A two blog day! Thanks for this unexpected bounty, Janice.
The patterned Tees would be still in my comfort zone, but then again I am pretty happy having my pattern confined to a scarf. But I agree that most pattern mixing should be left to the experts. However, I have always liked the subtle pattern mixing that is found in men's clothing. Maybe because it does not scream at me?
This is a trend that I can comfortably pass by. I find patterns difficult and mixing them would not suit my taste. How nice to be at a stage in life where I can love and follow a trend or just say, "No thanks." It took me years and many mistakes to get here.
As a lifelong lover of pattern-mixing, whether it's a current trend or not, I thank you for this post! Apparently my comfort zone is huge, and gives me plenty of space for experimentation, but I do understand that you have to think it's fun before you'd even want to attempt it. Finally, a trend I can sink my teeth into! Still waiting for skinny jeans to go away…
Even though these may have been chosen by a 'fashion expert', most of these 'mixed pattern' garments remind me of the sales rack at Walmart. I truly hope this trend passes quickly!
Intellectually I get how pattern mixing could be fun and creative and look good, but in the execution the wearer of mixed pattern garments and/or outfits ends up looking like a Shabby Chic-style room: too much going on, no peaceful place for the eye to rest. This is one trend I will happily ignore, but thank you for putting this post together. It's good to know WHY one responds to things in certain ways, and a focused discussion of the trend like this helps readers respond thoughtfully to shopping choices.
Is there a way to pin things from your blog? If not, that would be a great feature.
Janice Riggs says
If you hover over the images on the blog, a Pinterest button should pop up in the upper-left corner of the image. Or so the Pinterest people have promised me!
With this new format, I don't see a way to search by topics of my choice, only by given labels. I also find the gray colored comments hard to read. Am I the only one finding the new format a little less user friendly?
I'm sorry, I hate to complain, but I am not a fan of the new format. I find it hard to read, and I loved having the "magazine, classic, flipcard, etc." options at the top.
Niki Whittle says
I LOVE mixing patterns but you're right, it can be tricky to get right…wearing a piece that is already mixed makes life so much easier. I love the moschino dress, it's pattern clashing at perfection!
Pam @ over50feeling40 says
I love pattern mixing…my husband hates it…doesn't get it! But I really enjoy looking at your selections, Janice! I usually do this for work when I know I won't see him during the day :)
Love the new format!
Love the MSGM green dress! Reminds me of my stylish Swedish cousin Eva in the sixties! Still my inspiration.
One good think about patterns is that they can hide a world of sins, like the spaghetti sauce or olive oil that jumps to your chest at lunch. Even if you wear a dark top, that oil spot is going to show and may never come out in the wash. Scarves can come to your rescue, but the spot's not always in a good place for a brooch or necklace to hide it. One bad thing about patterns is that they can hit you in the wrong places to flatter your figure. That great diamond shape that looks so good on the size 2 model online or in the store may not look so good on you if in your size, the points go out at the waist instead of in. Still, I love patterns and prints and will always wear them in some form, but probably not like these.
Ah, yes…pattern mixing. This will never fly with me. It always reminds me of a poorly planned project where one runs out of fabric and has to make do…or where one is using up all possible leftovers. Sorry. Yuk!