Want a no-brainer, falling off a log, way of mixing patterns?
To kick off the start of the Spring section of my Seasonal Skinny Style Challenge, we’re following on from last week’s foray into pattern mixing (Tweed & Pearls), but this time round with a decidedly more, laid back attitude.
Some people can find pattern mixing to be a daunting affair. They don’t know where to start and done badly, it can be too much for the eye and brain to process.
How can you successfully pattern mix so that it doesn’t feel like visual noise and discordant visual noise at that!
One of the easiest ways to start your pattern mixing experience is to take a bold, graphic tee and wear a printed shirt over it. The graphic tee will bring a flavour of personality to your shirt and the shirt, a slightly cooler vibe than a cardigan.
To begin with, stick to a fail safe print for your shirt that won’t pull the focus from the graphic print of your tee and it doesn’t come more classic than
The Pinstripe Shirt.
A boyfriend style, striped shirt is perfect. Even more perfect if the shirt does actually belong to your boyfriend/husband/partner! Sadly, I cannot trawl through Tall Brown Fox’s wardrobe to steal a pinstripe from him as
a) he doesn’t own any.
b) And if he did, it would be a nightshirt on me, down to my ankles! The Wee Willie Winkle look is one for children’s book illustrations only!
When buying a graphic tee, choose a design that really means something to you.
That obscure, Icelandic heavy metal band t-shirt is fine and dandy, but only if you’re an avid fan of said obscure, Icelandic heavy metal band!
I bought this t-shirt a couple of summers ago, because I liked the minimalist design and the black and white photographic central panel.
Paris is one of my favourite cities in the world. When I *cough* win big time on the lottery, one of the things I’ll be doing with my moolah is buying a flat in the centre of Paris!
New York is a city I’ve had the great good fortune to visit twice in my life and if someone gave me a plane ticket to go again, I’d be packed and ready in a heartbeat!
Toyko, the third city, is not one I’ve been too – not yet! From what I know, it sounds like an incredible place to visit.
I always like an element of playfulness in my clothes and I was, I must confess, amused that the ‘i’ in Paris, is actually the Eiffel Tower. What can I say? Yes, I am that easily pleased!
So, the graphics of the tee resonated with me in a number of ways.
As this type of mixing does all the work for you, I only needed to keep the accessories to light touches – like a cherry on top of a cake! The shirt and the tee are the cake, the patterns the icing and the….
Ok, so you get the gist of the metaphor! Let’s stop talking about cake please, as otherwise I’ll be popping away from my laptop to pop the kettle on because you can’t possibly have cake without a brew!
Anyway, back to the accessories! Light touches, but nothing fey or twee. Two studded bands sandwich a metallic bracelet in shades of silver and grey, complementing the colours of the t-shirt. My simple, jet black beaded choker I wore recently in my What to Wear to a Gig at 40+ post is the ideal necklace, without distracting from the pinstripes or the design of the tee.
Once you’ve mastered the pinstripe and graphic tee pairing, why not explore other combinations? Personally, I think shirts with a regular pattern work best with graphic tees, especially if the tee is more abstract in design.
When the patterned shirt and tee are both abstract designs, worn together they can end up tumbling down that dreaded ‘visual noise’ route, unless you’ve a deft hand at pattern mixing.
Patterns can easily compete against each other, knocking each other out, with the end result that you can’t appreciate either print for what they individually are. Neither have space to shine.
Most of us will have a plaid, tartan or checked shirt in their wardrobe. They’re a great staple which can be given a style boost when teamed with a graphic tee.
Kristin of DressedandFed effortlessly demonstrates how a graphic tee can add pizzazz to a red checked shirt, than if paired with just a white t-shirt. The soft, almost grey lines of the shirt tone perfectly with the graphic of the tee.
Finally, for the more adventurous amongst you, upgrade to camo!
Here, Debbie, my blogging pal, from over the pond at Fashion Fairy Dust gives us a master class in how to rock a Long Camo Shirt with a Graphic Tee. Even though it’s a longer length shirt, it doesn’t swamp because everything else is streamlined, from the sleek boots, to the dark blue denim picking up on the blue in the shirt, to the vertical wording, creating a column effect.
And yes, I concur, she is fabulous! I love the rolled up jeans.
Dorothy Perkins Petite Skinny Jeans
Camaieu 3 City Graphic Tee (old)
TKMaxx Pinstripe Shirt (old) Boden Petite Cabin Stripe Girl Fit Shirt or Topshop Petite Contrast Striped Shirt. Regular H&M Striped Shirt
Jet Black Beaded Choker (e-bay) old
Bracelets (old) from the Emporium of I Forget!
Joythestore Fringe bag
And when you’re ready to step out, slip on a leather jacket. I decided to wear my waterfall style faux leather one, as it’s more in keeping with the soft style of the outfit and the neckline allows the shirt collars to fall over the folds of the jacket.
To avoid the teenage, emo look, stay away from pairing with distressed jeans, unless of course you fancy reliving your hormonally charged, ‘the whole world is against me’ angst stage of your adolescence! My red skinny jeans are more grown up.
If you have to dress more conservatively during the week or have to wear a uniform, this look allows you to let your hair down a little at the weekend. To go even more casual, opt for Converse, Vans or Stan Smiths instead of suede boots.
How do you like to wear your graphic tees?
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