Showing posts with label patterns. Show all posts
Showing posts with label patterns. Show all posts

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.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

mixology 101 // prints

Today we are talking all about patterns! Every image on this post can be viewed in its original color when you hover your mouse over it. It is essential to look at the patterns without color to distract, but more often than not you will see how impactful color is to the success of wearing multiple patterns at one time. Today I will talk about combining patterns themselves, and tomorrow we will focus on both colors and patterns. Be sure to check out yesterday's post on mixing colors here.

The topic of patterns is a bit harder, not only because patterns include color, but also because there isn't as much of a science involved with patterns. But today we will focus on the patterns themselves.

When I was younger, I wanted to be an interior designer when I grew up. Even though I probably won't do that for a living, many things from interior design coincide with creating outfits. In fact, I don't think there's anything that isn't related between the two. This is a great article about mixing prints that you should definitely read (it's short!), and I will translate a few them to the clothing world.

A lot of people are nervous to mix prints together, and for good reasons. There's a fine line between a good mix and a bad one. One good thing to keep in mind is that like colors, there are neutral patterns. Polka dots and stripes are the two most basic patterns, and can be combined with any other pattern, including other neutral patterns. They are also great geometric patterns and work excellently with organic patterns like florals.

Jo of Lost in the Haze (left) and Keiko of Keiko Lynn (right) both show this idea of neutrals. The stripes and polka dots don't compete with each other. Even the bolder stripes on the bottom of Keiko's dress don't immediately draw your eye. Mixing these two prints are an easy way to incorporate mixing patterns into your outfit without fear of going overboard.

Liz of Delightfully Tacky takes this idea one step further by instead using hearts as a neutral pattern. These are neutral because they are very similar to polka dots. Generally, any repeating pattern could be considered a neutral pattern. Also since both of these patterns are the same height, one doesn't outshine the other. If the hearts were smaller, then the stripes would be the focal point, and vice versa, which certainly isn't a bad thing.

Size of the pattern does play a part, and I've always heard that you shouldn't mix two big, bold prints together, or two small prints together, but instead have one big pattern and one small pattern. A lot of time, however, I've found this not to be accurate. Patterns are similar to colors in that similar patterns often mix well, as well as opposite patterns.

A good example of similar patterns mixing comes from Jana of Bekleidet. Both of these patterns are big, but they have a lot of similarities. They are both pretty geometric, with circles and straight lines. In fact, the lines and circles in the pattern on the bag play off of the neutral stripe and polka dot idea.

That's the great thing about patterns, most of them link back to their hue, if you will, of stripes or dots. And that's the reason every print works with every other print--because of its origin (where people go wrong is with the color of the prints, but we will discuss that tomorrow).

You may also notice that her boots have a pattern on them. Even though this isn't a fabric print, it still affects the overall look. But because the pattern also has geometric lines like the other two, it works well for the entire outfit.

Ali of The Drawing Mannequin shows how a neutral print on her socks works with the big print of her dress. The pattern on her shoes also works because the organic shape matches that of her dress.

Olivia of La Voyageuse utilizes the lace texture of her shirt to act as a print alongside the neutral polka dots on her pants.

In my own outfit, I have a leopard print shirt, a floral dress (as a skirt), as well as polka dot tights. Floral is an organic print as well as animal prints, so they both work well together. Also, and I will give more examples of this tomorrow, since my leopard print shirt is in a neutral color, it automatically goes with my floral print. While it is necessary to look at the patterns in black and white to see how they respond to one another, if every print were in black and white, no one would have trouble mixing them. It's because of the color that gets people hung up.


1. Polka dots and stripes are neutrals. They go with any other print, including other neutrals.
2. Prints that are similar (two organics or two geometrics) go together, as well as prints that are opposite.
3. Basically, any print goes with any other print. Where people fail is in the color of the prints.
4. To slowly incorporate more prints in your outfit, wear either two neutral prints or one neutral print with a big print.

I do realize that this post basically gave no help because I said that all prints go with all prints, but as far as I know it's true. If you have any questions about this post or anything about mixing prints, please don't hesitate to contact me! I would even be more than willing to help you pair prints together in your own outfits and give advice where I can.

Tomorrow we will be looking at how color affects prints, which will be like the finishing touch on this post. I'm also going to talk a little bit about different types of fabric and how that affects outfits as well, so stay tuned!

Have a great day. :)