Thursday, June 5, 2014

In the mix

From Moda Operandi
In the mix

My mother recently reminisced that as a child I never liked to wear matching clothing sets.  She reminded me that I had a closet full of many cute coordinating shorts, shirts, and sweaters but rarely wore them together.  Apparently, as soon as I could reach for my own clothes in the morning I would have none of matching and preferred to choose the pants from one set, the top from another, and accessorizing with perhaps a sweater from a third.  This is a preference I have not outgrown.

Mary Katrantzou
Dressing is all about finding the mix.  Coordination is great, and a matching suit definitely has a place in life.  However, if I can mix a few unexpected patterns and make it work, I just feel good.  I am not alone.  This love of the mix is currently in celebration on runways all around.  With laser and digital printing capabilities, prints are having a moment and they are having it in triplicate, all at the same time. 

The mixed print trend is exciting but it can also be intimidating.  While I love the thrill of a successful mélange I often take pause before stepping out into the day.  Perhaps that is part of the fun. 

If mixing patterns makes you nervous start small.  Here are a few tips to help ensure a successful pattern mix:

-Keep patterns in the same color family for a cohesive look.  Picking coordinating colors from within the pattern or combining patterns that have similar a similar tone helps avoid distraction from one to the other.  Many designers are also using graduated colors for the same effect.
-Keeping patterns scale similar also creates a cohesive look and keeps the eye moving. 
-Utilizing prints of contrasting color and scale must be done strategically.  The eye will notice a break from one to the other.  This can work to your advantage or disadvantage so position carefully.
This Peter Pilotto for Target dress is a great example of mixing print scale with a purpose.  The small print on the side panels creates a slimming effect as a color block with similar placement would slim. 

-A tone on tone pattern is an easy way to introduce mixing patterns to your life.  Tone-on-tone can read as a texture to create visual interest but in a subtle way that does not compete with another pattern.
-Natural patterns (from nature) can be used as neutrals.  A leopard does not think it is making a statement it is merely blending in with its surroundings.  Leopard or other animal prints can be used as a statement alone.  When mixing a natural colored animal print with bright colors the animal print acts as a neutral.  Try mixing an animal print with a contrasting color and then a print in the same color family as the contrasting color if you are feeling sassy.  Similar to animal print, grass or foliage prints can be used to ground an outfit as well. 
Tone-on-tone pearl patterned sweater.
Peter Pilotto for Target dress.

This outfit is a little unexpected.  With a tone-on-tone pearl patterned sweater, vibrant fluorescent print with both stripes and flowers, a large ruffle that looks like it could go dancing, and gold accents there is a lot going on.  The texture, color, pattern combo however makes me feel alive! 

Have fun mixing it up!

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