Mixing Patterns


I’ve been wanting to do some more fashion related posts and took pics of an outfit that I love to wear a couple of weeks ago. I’m a serious clothes and shoe horse (are you at all surprised given my propensity for PJism?) and may one day take pictures of my closets … yes plural … to reveal my issues. I’m also a bit obsessive about my closets and drawers in that things are organized by color and type of clothing and the color of the hangers even. My stuff can be all over the place in my room, on chairs, chests, hanging on dressers, doors, etc. But, once it’s in the closet, it better be in the right place and on the right color hanger or I get really annoyed (to which my youngest sister can attest). I think this is just a factor of the fact that I have so many clothes and I picture what I want to wear in my head while getting ready each day. I know exactly where everything is and can quickly get to it.

Anywho, what I hope to do is share some little fashion tips that I’ve picked up over the years. I don’t really read fashion magazines, but Lucky used to be my junk! Back in the day, it was a great source of ideas (not so much anymore :(.). I also think I’ve always expressed my creative/artistic side through fashion, so I often put things together that make people say, “I would have never thought to wear that together, but it looks awesome,” “You’re in the wrong profession! You should be a stylist,” or “I could never pull that off, but you look great!” I did want to be a fashion designer at one time (and have the sketches to prove it). But, regretfully, I never learned to sew despite the fact that my mom was an amazing seamstress, whipping outfits out of remnant fabric and old curtains for my sisters and me! She would make her own patterns out of brown paper bags! So stupid for not learning that from her when I had the chance. Oh well, let’s move on!

To get to the point of this post, just wanted to share a little tidbit about mixing patterns. Many people are afraid to do this because they believe it will look loud or uncoordinated or … you know … just tacky. But there are a few of very easy ways to mix patterns. And here they are!

  1. Mix patterns with the same colors/color family.
  2. Mix similar patterns, like florals, but chose one pattern that is large and one that is small.
  3. Think of certain patterns as solids, such as houndstooth, very small polka dots, thin and closely aligned stripes and fine checks. These are patterns are subtle enough that they read as solids, but still add visual interest to your ensemble.
  4. Choose patterns that compliment each other, such as florals and stripes. If this seems too wild, start by following 1 or 3 to venture into this mix.
  5. If you want to be very daring and bold, try mixing the same pattern in different colors.
  6. Mix multiple pattern pieces, but space them with solids or neutrals. A patterned shirt can be worn with a solid skirt and patterned shoes. Or, a patterned shirt and skirt can be “broken up” with a solid and/or neutral sweater/sweater vest. Using solids or neutrals in mix patterned ensembles give the eyes a space to “rest.” (Hint: Shoes and accessories are solids/neutrals too ;).)

So, here are some close ups of my outfit, which illustrates three of the tips above. I started by mixing patterns that shared the same colors (olive green, pink and lavender). The shirt, because of the fine pattern, follows tip 3 because it almost reads as a solid. Finally, the belt and wide solid band of the sweater create a “break” in the pattern.

By the way, I’m also a bargain hunter (I live in Marshall’s and TJ Maxx) and thrift shop lover!! I got the top from a thrift store in Orange, NJ many years ago for less than $5 (unfortunately, the shop closed, but not before I got a few great pieces). I think the belt was from H&M, but more seasons ago than I can remember. The skirt was definitely from H&M and I got it last year for $9.99! I recently got a great tweed suit, high-waist wide-leg wool pants, a long tailored skirt and a rain coat from the Goodwill one town over. I’ll be sharing those finds with you in the weeks to come:)!! Don’t sleep on the thrift store!! I have a feeling I’ll be making bi-weekly or monthly visits there, time permitting! Wei found a pair of almost brand spanking new brown wingtip shoes there for $5.99! The soles were flawless and they were the same brand and style that he had been looking at on ideeli earlier in the day for $50!! Score!!


Do you like to mix patterns? If so, how do you mix yours?

7 responses »

  1. Can I just say that I love your style Shelli. I like that you are displaying more of it on your blog (it is helping out the fashionly challenged *raising hand*). This outfit is great! Our local thrift store is not all that so I might try other towns to see what they have because many people have said that they find great buys in thrift shops.


    • Awwwww, thank you so much Miche’al!! As Tiffany said, you have to hit the thrift stores in the “well to do” towns! The Goodwill near me is pretty new, but it’s supplied by a mix of towns, so I’ve been able to find some decent stuff. But, I’m going to start googling to find where some others are located in the “high end” towns:).


    • Exactly. Though, I have gotten some nice stuff from middle class/regular towns … if those Goodwills/Salvation Armies service large areas. NY is great for awesome finds at low prices too! And, I go thrift … not consignment or “vintage” or “new again” type shops that still want to charge you a pretty penny for second hand items;)!


    • Awwww, sorry I can’t offer you any insights on where to find them. I haven’t been shopping too much lately! The blog takes up all of my weekend time!! LOL!! But, this is the thing, a lot of the long skirts I wear during the winter, tend to be Summer skirts!! That’s going to be one of my next fashion tip posts! How to Winterize those summer pieces! So, if you have some long summer skirts, this will be the post for you;)! Oh, and for blazers, hit TJ Maxx and Marshall’s! Oh, and try JC Penny’s too. They’ve really come up!!


  2. Pingback: More Pattern Mixing « hairscapades

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