July 25, 2018
I was in Pittsburgh for the weekend… it was lovely! Of course I was thinking about you, and The Vivienne Files, while I was there… As I was waiting for my cab to the airport, a woman walked past me wearing a royal blue and white striped tee shirt, with a royal and white paisley print skirt – it was amazing! And it got me to thinking about how this might work for all of us…
If you have a color palette chosen for your wardrobe, it’s entirely possible that you already have these kinds of pieces in your closet! Pick a neutral from your wardrobe – or even an accent color – and look for pieces that have prints in “scales” that are compatible. By that, I mean that a teeny floral print skirt might need a smaller, narrower striped tee shirt, while a big, boisterous print might look better with wider stripes. But this is just a guideline, and certainly not a rule!
Would you wear any of these outfits? Or is this too challenging for you?
I’m on the fence…
Although the following outfit isn’t in colors that I wear, I really like the look of this…
This might be the easiest outfit of the 10 I’m showing; navy and shades of blue are easy to find and match.
Although I’ve got to admit that this skirt and top appeal…
This is fun!
Yep, I’d wear this in a heartbeat!
What do you think? My eye was immediately drawn to the woman that I saw in Pittsburgh – you have to be willing to embrace a certain amount of attention if you dress this way…
Linda M says
I’ve been looking for an outfit like this for some time, but so far I haven’t found a top and bottom that I feel looks good on me. However, a pattern shirt over a stripe top, with a plain bottom, seems to work. Some of your examples look lovely, I especially like the nude pink/yellow, and the black stripe top with paisley skirt! I think, looking at these, I haven’t been getting the scale right, so thanks for that thought!
I’ve seen the mixing of patterns in the shops and catalogues for quite a while now, but haven’t followed the trend myself as it always looks too jarring and attention grabbing – I guess that’s the whole point. Some of the pairings that you have shown do look tempting, especially the navy striped tops with the blue shorts and with the patterned Land’s End skirt, but I’m not sure if I would make it out the door.
Taste of France says
I see this all the time, but it’s usually stripes with florals. I love it. My favorites here are #2, 6, 7 and 8.
I don’t have any florals in my wardrobe, so I’m limited to stripes with stripes. I have a longish navy and white skirt with 1cm-wide stripes on the diagonal. I like to wear it (when it’s cool enough) with a navy sweater that has three 1cm-wide horizontal stripes at the top (there’s a nice, plain swath of navy between them). And I will put a navy-and-white Bengal striped shirt under it, with just the collar showing–those stripes are even, very thin, like the classic men’s shirt. It sounds busy, but it isn’t.
Chris from Indy says
I think stripes are charming with florals! some of the thin or low contrast stripes read as a solid, so I think they would be easy to wear.
I don’t have florals, and few striped tops, so maybe not for me. Thanks Janice!
SUZANNE GHOSH says
I mix patterns with a black striped top and small patterned black pants and a the same combo with a navy outfit. I’m not a spring chicken, but it looks quite chic and I’ve gotten compliments when I wear them. I am willing to venture into it with very neutral pieces. I own very few floral items (except my beloved scarves) as I think they make me look frumpy at my age. The queen of the mixed patterns IMO is the beautiful Olivia Palermo if anyone is looking for inspiration.
I love these outfits! I would wear them if I had them. I really like prints on skirts and shorts, but I hadn’t considered wearing them with stripes–a look that seems very updated to me and easy to accomplish. #1,2,3 and the green outfit are my favorites.
These are great and cute as casual outfits. Polka-dots can also be used paired with stripes or prints. Betsey Johnson has mixed prints like this for years?
Mary Lou Green says
I do like this idea and think that our eyes will take a bit of time to get used to seeing it brought to life. I immediately thought of the fact that interior decorators combine what we in the US call toile prints with gingham checks, and to my eyes it works very well.
I could warm up to this idea. I’m drawn to the combinations with the more subtle stripes on top and the larger scale print on bottom.
I have a b/w polka dot top that I wear with a b/w striped skirt. Every time I wear it I get compliments. I’ll have to branch out to florals and paisleys.
I wear stripes and polka dots together. Love the look.
I wear stripes and polka dots together. Love the look. I liked all the options you showed.
While I admire someone who can carry off the look, my bottom heavy body build would not accommodate this style. This calls for a slender person, which I am not .
I never in a million years would have thought I would be drawn to mixing patterns, but seeing the combinations as you have paired them is really calling to me. I think it is because you have shown me that proportion and color are essential to getting a wearable look for everyday. Thank you, thank you!
Vancouver Barbara says
Love your selection, especially the giant paisley print skirt and the very bold striped shirt.
I agree with Mary Lou, interior designers combine patterns all the time, and it brings life and interest to decor. Scaling the pattern/stripe size down for fashion is a great way to add interest without screaming “look at me!”. I see the stripe on floral or plaid a lot here in Minneapolis. Even on the guys, and I love the look.
I am surprised how much I like the combinations. Janice, you have picked a lovely selection that has made me think about giving this a try. My son will laugh when I show him. I used to say “plain on one half, patterned on the other” (when he appeared wearing a striped top with checked shorts!)
I love this idea. I saw several cute mixed-pattern outfits in Europe last month, where women there are wearing a lot more color than here in CA. An easy place for me to start is a small polka dot top and narrow stripe pants, both in black and white. Maybe it will make me bold enough to go further!
Scottie Kersta-Wilson says
Love love love mixing patterns and textures – especially like #4, 8, and the final one (I lost count) :-) xoxoxox
Angie over at YouLookFab.com has a fabulous floral skirt and striped shirt combo. I wonder if it was she that you saw!
I think it’s a terrific look and have envied the young women in my local art-supplies shop who pull it off with vintage clothes. Thank you so much for the tips on how to make it work. I’m definitely going to try now, after decades of being a “one plain + one pattern” dresser.
Lisa Ham says
Interesting! I love the olive green (or is it brown?) combination with the paisley pencil skirt from Dorothy Perkins – though those are not my colors at all! I tried mixing patterns in a travel capsule wardrobe to Phoenix last year and made a terrible hash of it. Of course, that was before I discovered your website! I’ll have to reconsider the idea. Thank you for these inspired examples.
Kylie Hillman says
I love stripes with everything – stripes are pretty much a neutral/solid for me! That said, I tend not to do stripes with other angular, geometric patterns and I don’t wear florals (just a personal preference) but I love stripes with animal print and my daughters are usually in some combination of stripes and another pattern with a shared colour palette.
Boden usually provide some great inspiration for stripes with other prints.
Thanks for all the eye candy you send to my inbox!
ML Meier says
Pittsburgh resident and first time commenter here–just want to say so glad you made it to the Paris of Appalachia and hope you enjoyed your visit! Stripes and prints together are a mainstay of my wardrobe, and the combinations you’ve shown are fantastic. I enjoy your blog, which has helped me think more carefully about purchases and impose a little discipline on my closet. Thank you! ML
beth byrd says
Oh I love these outfits! I never would have thought to mix the stripes with other prints. Fabulous!
First, welcome to Pittsburgh (a little late I suppose) and glad you saw something interesting. I love this look on many young women here this Summer. I find many of them to be very attractive and others a bit not. At my age I would need to tone down the look but I find it refreshing in Summer prints. Not sure how that would work in Fall fabrics. I am joining with the Seamwork (for ladies who sew) wardrobe challenge for Fall and I would love to see Your take in cooler season styke!
Mixed patterns can be so fun! Of these, I like 2, 3, 5, 6, 8 and 10. The navy ones don’t strike me and I don’t know why. I am a pattern person; the majority of my wardrobe seems to be checks, polka dots, or stripes, with some florals thrown in, so I should be able to put something together. – nancyo
Count me as another one who was surprised to discover she loves these looks. The mixed patterns feel so fresh and modern – I’m going to have to be brave and give it a try! Great job with such beautiful examples of how it’s done.
I love all of these. They make me want to take more risks with my clothes. Last month a friend wore colorful floral shorts with a fitted white top with tiny black polka dots. It sounds weird when I write it, but she looked like a model.
This post is so inspirational! I already own the LL Bean blue madras shorts and the J.Crew navy and white striped tee. I think I’ll try them together this week.
Janice, have you considered building a wardrobe that includes Liberty of London prints? I’m a huge fan. J.Crew uses the prints a lot and Dillards currently has a collection.