In drooling over the Spring/Summer 2013 looks that have been barreling down the runways over the last couple of weeks, the continuation of print-on-print concoctions caught my eye (are you fawning over J.Crew’s presentation too?!) and determined that now is the perfect time to hone our pattern playing skills with the muted palette of Fall before going full out with Spring’s pastels. Below I’ve boiled down the art of pattern pairing to three easy steps…
Step #1: COLOR Getting this right is essential. You want the colors of the garments you wear to harmonize with one another not clash in that I-got-dressed-in-the-dark sort of way (if this sort of eccentricity is your bag, far be it from me to deter you). The easiest way to ensure hue harmony is make sure there is a unifying color (which may or may not be the dominant color in either garment). In this outfit, both the stripe in the skirt and the polka dot in the top are navy which creates continuity between both pieces and is further enhanced by the navy accessories.
(Note: On the topic of color, it’s also important to consider the saturation and brightness of the colors you combine. Juxtapose a vivid floral next to a quiet stripe and the former will make the latter look like it was soaked in dirty, dingy dishwater for the last couple of days- EWWW.)
Step #2: SCALE Matching similarly sized prints will be a very bold look (here’s looking at you, Marc Jacobs) that can run the risk of making you look like one enormous, over-stuffed piece of upholstery- a risk that increases the bigger the print you use. (To any armchairs reading this, please do not take offense; I would be lost without your cushiony floral displays). In today’s example (writing that I suddenly feel like a school marm…oh dear!), the polka dot is much broader than the stripe which creates visual variety, helping to break up the look so that I’m wearing it rather than it wearing me.
Step #3: SILHOUETTE If color and scale are the trees, silhouette is the forest it’s easy to lose sight of in this sartorial endeavor. Sure, you may find two prints that look nice sitting next to each other in your wardrobe but whether they look good on you will come down to how well their proportions and fit marry. My sweater has a slightly relaxed fit so I balanced it out with a slim skirt to keep the overall look neat and (hopefully) casually chic.
That’s really all there is to successfully pulling off prints. What do you think?! Will this help you take the plunge into passionate prints? For those pattern pros out there, does my process match up with your own or do you take a different tack? Time to hit the comments!