Did you watch the eighth season of Project Runway?
I know this a very specific reference, but it's for a reason, I promise! One of the designers, Mondo, inspired my love of mixing and matching different patterns. I had been taught for so many years, "You always match a pattern with a solid!" but when I watched Mondo's designs walk down the runway, I knew that there were times that it was okay to break the rules.
So when Jacob and I decided to go to the zoo the other day, I decided to pull out my pattern-mixing expertise and put together a cute menswear-inspired outfit with a little added femininity thrown in. I knew that I wanted to wear these pants - they have such a loud pattern even though they are only black and white - but I didn't know what shirt to pair them with. It was then that I looked into my drawer and found this polka dot top and knew I just had to put them together.
When mixing patterns, there are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Color. When you're wearing two different patterns, you want to find at least one matching color in the two patterns that will pull the look together. For this outfit, I mixed black and white. Here's why it works. The background color of the pants is black - the background color of the top is white. They don't clash because the patterns themselves are not in the same color, so it doesn't look as if they're competing. But if you're wearing a flowered skirt with blue, yellow, and orange flowers, a polka dot blue and white top would be perfect!
2. Size. Mixing patterns works best when the patterns that you're mixing are different sizes. If you have one really big pattern and you match it with another really big pattern, all of a sudden you'll look like a tablecloth. You want to work with proportions!
3. Shape. Lastly, the shape of the patterns makes a real difference. You generally want to match a structured pattern with a more rounded pattern. Instead of stripes and plaid, for example, think floral and gingham. One of the pieces should have a squarer feel, and the other should be more flowy.
Now moving onto the rest of the outfit, I turned to my footwear. I hadn't worn these shoes in a while, but I think they are absolutely adorable with an ankle-length pant. They can look really severe with the wrong outfit but men's oxfords look great with either a skirt that comes above the knee or a pair of ankle-length cigarette pants.
Then to soften the look, I threw on a little jean jacket with some feminine beading and I tied this scarf around my neck. I wanted a little pop of color - and notice that there's a subtle pattern on the scarf as well! But because the noticeable part of the scarf is its bright color, the pattern doesn't really attract attention.
I think mixing patterns can look really modern and cool, if done right. What do you think? Would you ever mix patterns? Let me know down in the comments!
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