Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Pattern Mixing: Your Not-So-Basic Tropical and Windowpane

Pattern mixing again today! Some of you are a bit leery of doing this, but it's not as scary as it seems - really! 
You just mix a couple of patterns! No, there's a tiny bit more to it, which I will get to shortly, but that's the gist of it. Today, it's a tropical print and a windowpane plaid.


  • Shirt - Scotch &Soda by Maison Scotch, vintage store, Vancouver; last worn here (2nd outfit) in April with odd black pants
  • Trousers - Banana Republic, thrifted; first worn here in April with red circles
  • Shoes - Wonders; last seen here in June for a chilled-out Saturday


This shirt is one of my favourite kinds of patterns: a graphic print. This one has a flamingo, a couple of carp-like fish, water lilies and some greenery - it's very tropical. It's trimmed with a sporty black and white stripe around the edge and the blush pink sleeves and back are printed with a micro-dot and star design in black.
All the colours lend themselves very well to mixing with more colour. Of course, you could wear plain black pants with this top, by why be boring?

Do you know AllWays in Fashion*? Michelle is an expert in fashion and style, and writes excellent posts about her history in the fashion industry (seriously, she worked for THE fashion magazines for 38 years!), and often opines on the state of fashion, including a fun post today, "Basics are Boring."
*As always, linking 'cause I love! I've been reading Michelle's blog for years.

I tend to agree! For me, every single item I wear has to be special - where someone else might wear plain grey trousers, I'll wear a windowpane trouser.
These are fully-lined and are a fine summer-weight wool. Yup, a sweater yesterday, and now wool pants today. What kind of bogus August is this?

Do you know all the plaids? This is a useful post that I found, here, that explains them all. Wouldn't want to mix up our plaids, would we?
"Just mix them together" is not very good advice for pattern-mixing if you've never done it before, is it? So, here's a couple of guidelines that might help if you're feeling adventurous:

  • Make one of the prints a geometric pattern. This could be a plaid, stripes, polka dot. Here's another example of how I wore this top with a different, bolder plaid, and here's how I wore it with black-and-white (to match the neckline trim!) houndstooth trousers.
  • Make the other a more organic pattern, like a floral, paisley or a graphic print. Examples here (3 patterns!), here (two geometric patterns, but one is semi-organic looking), here (graphic print plus oversized gingham). 
  • Both prints should have at least one colour in common. In the above outfit, there's some grey in the pattern, but I could have also done pink, white, dark green, dark teal, bright orange. 
  • Two colours in common really sing, like in this outfit (a floral/polka dot mix) where both the jacket and the skirt have red and pale yellow. 
  • Don't be afraid to just TRY it. The worst that could happen is that you have a bad outfit day (we all have them). It happens! But if you never try, you'll never learn, grow and succeed!

Would you add anything to that? Do you have a trick that works for you?

The stuff:
 My love for these shoes is immense. Pink, shiny, white soles, wooden last, and very soft leather.

Intricate bling:
By picking out other, different colours in the shirt's pattern for the shoes and the accessories, it ties the whole look together.


  • Silver/aventurine ring - consignment
  • Crystal ring - Uffizi Gallery gift shop, Florence, Italy
  • Earrings - vintage fair


Of course, you could just go with black and white, like Vizzini.
"I match everything."

Well, he does have a point!

20 comments:

  1. This is great pattern mixing. So wearable yet interesting! Lise

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  2. I like the idea of mixing a geometric with something more graphic, that makes a lot of sense. Thank you!

    I should just be brave and try it for work; with no dress code, who's gonna care?

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    1. You're very welcome, Mim! Yes, go for it! Most people probably won't even notice - we always think others are paying much more attention to us than they actually are.

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  3. I love a bit of pattern mixing and you do it so well, my dear. Your tips are very useful too, although I must say that apart from trying to match one or more colours, I do not follow any rules. It's just trial and error with me, really. Thanks for the plaid link, which I've bookmarked for future reference, as sometimes I'm not 100% sure of the English term as I'm not a native speaker. I'm totally in love with your shoes and don't even mind the white soles on these ;-) xxx

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    1. I wondered if you'd have any tips! I don't follow "rules" but I noticed that when my mixed patterns were most successful, that these were the reasons why. I also follow trial and error!

      Isn't that a useful link? Your English is A+, and no one would know you are not a native speaker, Ann.

      I love these shoes - but I don't know if you'll love today's! More white soles! ;-P

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  4. love tropical prints because how how suggestive they are to me to pull out a color i normally wouldn't wear--like turqoise...loved when neon were included in prabal gurung's pieces for Target many years ago--it pulled me into yellow neon...btw, i thrifted prabal gurung's passe clothing from thrift shops

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    1. Me too - but pretty much any print is in my wheelhouse, Eva!

      Ooh, you thrifted Prabal Gurung? Awesome! I'm not familiar with his Target collection (I never shop there), but I'll check it out. Sounds like my jam!

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    2. Oh i only shop thrift...just remember seeing his collection at target...just takes a year or two for castoffs to get to thrift stores ; )

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    3. It takes a little longer here, and I don't think we get the full "for" lines at Target in Canada. Good for you, Eva! I looked up that collection and I love all the colours!

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  5. These are such great tips thank you! I tend to stick to pretty boring stripes and florals when I pattern mix, other attempts don't always work as well as I'd hope, so I need to save and refer to this list!

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    1. Thanks, Mica! I hope they work for you - just try stuff out (which I know you always do!) and don't be afraid to experiment.

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  6. I am admiring your pedi!
    and I am loving your take on this pattern mix outfit. Sometimes I am amazed at how garments CAN go together.

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    1. Lol, I'm still rockin' my one blue toe per foot from last week!

      I know, me too - pattern-mixing is such a "thing". Hard to believe we never tried it before!

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  7. Been awhile since I stopped long enough for a comment. But I'm glad to "see" you! And the Viz.

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    1. I am so happy to see you, Megan! Thank you for stopping in!

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  8. Thank you for the lovely shout-out and nod to the blog, AllWays in Fashion. I love pattern mixing and always feel like I'm breaking some "rule" (but of course there isn't any). Menswear has been mixing patterns for years-—striped shirts with foulard neckties with tweed jackets. Subtle but a good place to start.

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    1. You are so welcome, Michelle! As I said, I've been reading your blog (not always commenting, but often) for years. You are right: menswear has been doing this for a long time! We shouldn't be afraid to steal their groove.

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  9. lovely outfit!, you totally rock your tropical print t-shirt, love it with windowpane and loved it in previous outfits too, such a versatile piece. I think that your brilliant accessorizing and shoes make everything more fabulous!
    And also love your advice on pattern-mixing!. I totally agree that geometric+floral Works nicely, it's one of my favourites!
    besos

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    1. Aw, thanks, Monica! I know, I didn't think when I bought this piece that it would mix with so many things! Geometric + floral is a great way to start pattern-mixing!

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