Saturday, 27 August 2011

Art of Pattern Mixing

Why hello there! I'm Florrie and I blog over at Intrinsically Florrie. When I'm not blogging or obsessing over florals I'm working on being an artist as a career, painting away to my heart's delight.

Pattern mixing is a tricky and somewhat intimidating art. When it comes to shopping I must admit block colours usually bore me compared to the delights of intriguing patterns that call to me from across the store. I have come to acquire a lot of patterns through the years and the daily challenge is to put them in new and exciting combinations. I love it when it comes to washing time and patterns that have never seen each other before suddenly cross paths and just have to be experimented with.

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If you're stuck in a complete colour blocking rut the first step in pattern mixing could be to add in accessories, for example a scarf or bag. Then, almost as simply, why not add in a snuggly but smart cardigan in a patterned fabric? Whether it's animal, floral, paisley, geometric, abstract, gingham, stripey or spotty print this is a simple way to add pattern into your existing wardrobe over dresses and tops. What's more, the high street shares my love of patterned cardigans at the moment, having crept them into the rails over the last year or two.

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A good way to go about pattern mixing is to put like with like. Look for colours which run throughout your wardrobe. White is an excellent colour that can help pull prints together, as it is often found both as a base for and within patterns. For example within spotted patterns it is really common. Then in florals green is common within the foliage. Cohesive colours throughout the rest of your outfit help too. 

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Then there are the patterns themselves. If, for example, we continue with florals, you could try mixing ditsy prints together, tropicals or romantic roses in shades of pink. They just seem to mesh well this way. Once you get the hang of it try mixing up the pattern size or the colours.

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Actually within garments designers sometimes mix stripes up and you can too in your outfits. Here you can experiment more with width and size, but is it advisable to stick to a colour palette. You can go crazy with vertical and horiztonal ones though. Why not try a nautical mix of red, white and blue? Then why not try mixing up your stripes with a leopard print accessory or some polka dots? Right now I'd love a stripey little top to put with full floral skirts.

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When I buy patterns I look for ones that make me happy, from my beloved florals to a whimsical dove print. Subtle or bold, they have to please your eye. Go for beautifully fitting dresses, tops, and skirts and perhaps the odd slouchy tee. Whatever you feel good in.

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Patterned trousers are tricky territory, even I'll admit it. They take one hell of a lot of confidence to pull off. If you find a pair you adore- hooray! I've seen some gorgeous floral print trousers around, but the sad fact is they just haven't been the right cut for me. In fact I'm not much of a trouser person all round. If you have got the figure for them, lucky you! The usual pattern mixing principles apply but I'd stick to classic cuts or simple tees for the top half of your outfit, or maybe a plain tee with a fantastic brocade jacket.

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My three top things to think about when it comes to pattern mixing: the size of the prints, colour and instinct. Mixing patterns is fun! So have a play and see what works for you. Maybe start off collecting a few things in your favourite colours and work from there, one day you could even end up with a wardrobe as crazy as mine.

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2 comments

Temporary:Secretary said...

You combine prints oh so well, everything you wear looks fabulous - you have great style, F! x

Caroline said...

It can be so hard to mix patterns but you do it so well! Great tips will be taking them on board! x

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