Some days I might mix a whole bunch of solid pieces, but what I really love is pattern. But we’ve all been there: you have two great pieces that seem to coordinate. Trouble is? They are both patterned. Do you dare? Do they “go?” There’s no exact science, but the following are some simple rules that should make getting dressed a little easier.
- Don’t wear two or more bold patterns together. The result is that they just compete with each other, and people will either think you got dressed drunk or in the dark.
- Mix patterns that are in the same color family. This is kind of a no-brainer way to change it up with more than one pattern.
- Don’t go overly matchy-matchy. Head to toe black and white polka dots in various sizes may seem like you’re following rule number one, but really you just look like you’re on your way to your prom. In 1986.
- Some patterns are neutrals: Think tweed skirts and trousers or a small houndstooth. They are so classic and understated, they become a neutral.
- Mix patterns of different weights. For instance, a cotton or silk blouse with a small dot or stripe pattern with a wool argyle sweater vest is a easy way to mix patterns. This look can even go with tweed and houndstooth for lots of visual interest, but no competing patterns.
- Distance: Sometimes patterns work well together if they’re not against each other. For example, the other day a stylish friend of mine wore neutral-colored trousers with a light stripe with a black tunic. The pattern punch? A lovely leopard-print belt. The key was not belting the stripe with the leopard.