Thursday, June 27, 2013

mixology 101 // combinations

Today we shall be talking about combining both patterns and colors in outfits. If you're just tuning in, be sure to check out the previous posts: intro//color//prints

We will also be discussing different types of fabrics and how to mix them (though I'm not as knowledgeable on the subject so I will be somewhat limited) as well as different structures of clothing.

So now you have all the knowledge (that I know) about colors and patterns individually; and now it's time to combine the two! Let's look at a few examples of mixing prints with color in mind.

Liz of Delightfully Tacky provides a great example of easing into mixing multiple patterns. Because the colors in the print of her shirt are so closely related to each other, the print almost acts as a solid color. She works that to her advantage by allowing the subtle print act as an accent print against the main print of the stripes in her cardigan. The cardigan also has the outfit accent color of blue. By choosing one print with one accent color and incorporating other prints with the main color (in this case orange), Liz really shows how you can begin mixing prints with ease.

I almost forgot to mention her polka dot hose, but that's just the point, since they are not only a neutral print but also a neutral color, I didn't even notice them at first! To add any sort of interest to an outfit, the easiest way is to add a neutral print in a neutral color.

Speaking of neutral colors, take a look at how Connie of K is for Kani (left) and Alex of Great Plain Style (right) both used neutral colors in their awesome outfits. Connie paired a geometric, neutral colored skirt with an organic, bold colored shirt. Her green jacket is the focal point because it is the brightest color, and the bag is a nice complement to the jacket.

Alex combined two organic prints, but since the leopard print contains neutral colors, it goes with the galaxy skirt. Technically, the pattern of the shirt is invisible because of its neutrality, allowing it to be paired with literally any skirt in existence.

Question: I've noticed, that sometimes it's not only a question of patterns and colors, I think from time to time it's about the materials too, and I find it problematic (what a strange word, used with this "primitive" topic :D). Sometimes I just take a really nice skirt and I think with that blouse it might look awesome, but when I try them on, it's a bit of disaster - because of different fabrics. Anyway, I may am too much choosy :D :) What do you think about it?

Perhaps my above statement of being able to pair any skirt in existence isn't exactly true. There are a couple other aspects to outfits, such as type of fabric and structure of pieces that affect how an outfit look. As a general rule, I would say similars work well and opposites work well. In the case of fabrics, I envision a fuzzy sweater working well with a leather skirt, or a leather skirt working well with a leather jacket. To take it a step further with structure, the fuzzy sweater could be tight fitting, and the skirt could be a flair skirt. That way you have two opposites, both in fabric and structure. I think Le Blog De Betty is one of the best blogs out there to gain some insight by way of observation about different fabric types as well as structure. Definitely scour her archives and see how she works the fabric and structure of clothes to their highest potential.

In my own outfit, I'm sporting three different patterns: the geometric pattern in my shirt, zigzags in my dress, and stars on my tights. Because the zigzags are a small print, they complement the large geometric print. Because the zigzags feature a yellow similar to the geometric print, they match each other well. The red and blue are the same shade, so they both work together and are therefore my accent colors. The yellow, because it is the most prominent and a much brighter color than the red and blue, is the main color. It's good to note that the shirt and dress are both made of a soft feeling fabric (I'm guessing cotton, but I really don't know off the top of my head), and both have a nice, flowy structure to them.

Marlen of Messages on a Napkin is one of the best when it comes to mixing prints and patterns. In fact, she's starting up her own mixing series, Layered Like an Onion! In this outfit specifically, she paired a geometric zigzag print with an organic floral print. Both colors on the prints are tints of red and blue. She then added a beautiful pastel green belt (an opposite of the red and a complement of the blue).

Here's another example of how any color within the same tonal range will work. You can see that even though I change the hue of the dress, it still complements the colors of the rest of the outfit, which just goes to show just how versatile colored prints really are. Even though any color works, the original blue-green color of the dress, or the red color in the gif above work the best, because one is the opposite of the red floral print, and one is the same. You should either be matchy-matchy or contrasting. (But really, any color works and any color would look great.)


1. To ease into mixing prints, choose a bold print with an accent color, as well as a subtle print that matches the main color.
2. Think in opposites or matches--in terms of everything: color, texture, structure, pattern.

If you have any questions, please let me know! Tomorrow we will be putting your knowledge to the test (don't worry, it will be easy) by remixing my own pieces! So be sure to check back here tomorrow to join in on the fun!

Have a fantastic day.

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