Patterns. The very word can make you utterly shutter! But really, it’s not as hard as it seems to put fun combinations together. On the Feast of the Holy Family, I posted this picture on Instagram
One of the comments was on how it was a daring print combo and I have to agree. I was not always big on patterns in general and I for sure was NOT about to start mixing them, but after completing my first October Dress Project, I’ve learned a few tricks:
Identify your pattern
Generally, patterns fall into two categories: neutral patterns (think stripes, checks, dots) or color patterns (florals, batik, ikat, paisley, plaid.) Color patterns tend to be “busier” than neutral patterns and I would typically use the color pattern as the accent piece with the neutral pattern as the main.
Mix Like with Like
In the above pic, I am mixing two geometric patterns, stripes with blocks. Even though both of the patterns are neutral patterns, they work well because the colors are complemetary. You could do the same thing with florals, or horizontal stripes or vertical stripes… remember, like mixing solutions, like with like!
Watch the scale!
No, not the thing you step on, I mean the size of the pattern. Large scale patterns work on small items and vice versa. If you want to mix a large scale pattern with a small scale pattern (think large flowers and polka dots, try to keep them in the same color family.)
Animal Prints as Neutrals
Generally speaking, you are pretty safe beginning with Animal Prints. For some reason, animal prints act as neutrals, which make them the perfect palate to begin mixing with other patterns. They tend to be ordered and so can go with a floral better than say stripes.
Unite with a single color
If you want to pull together multiple patterns, it’s best to anchor them with a single color. In the picture below, you see that the common color is RED. I’m wearing a red dress, both scarves have red in them. I’m also using the animal print as another neutral and playing with the two different takes on geometry in the scarves.
Theses are by no means hard and fast rules… think of them more as suggestions. And in the end, the best way to determine if the patterns work is to judge for yourself! Pattern Mixing is like art and as Mickey Mouse says,
“There is no right or wrong when it comes to making art!”
Until next time!