Seasonal Skinny Wk 27: Pinstripes & Graphic Tee | Easy Pattern Mixing

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
Boden Boots

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?

Linking with #iwillwearwhatilike /  Creative Monday  / Confident Twosday / Turning Heads Tuesday / Garay Treasures / PowerstheFlower / RedClosetDiary / ThrowbackThursday   / Thursday Moda / High Latitude Style / FashionShouldbeFun / Fashion Friday / FlashBack Fashion Friday /


  1. April 25, 2016 / 11:26 pm

    Wooo, from a distance you are totally channeling Bill, the Doctor's new assistant in this!!! You even have the hair!!! I like the tee! Please let me come and stay in your post-Lottery pad! Oh and there is some good news for you on my blog!!!

    • April 25, 2016 / 11:43 pm

      You absolutely can come and stay in my post-Lottery pad! Ha, ha, and I'm not so sure about the hair. Mine's not quite a bouffant as Pearl's but she is wearing an awesome tee! Looking forward to this new pairing.
      And I'm pleased as punch at winning the brooch! I meant to check who the lucky recipient was and now I know it's meeeeeeee! Thank you!

  2. April 26, 2016 / 10:16 am

    Thanks for the shout out my beautiful friend! And you did a stellar job of print mixing…subtle and perfect. I agree about the graphic tees. All of mine were chosen for a specific reason and they have to mean something to me.

    • April 26, 2016 / 10:32 pm

      You're welcome. I remember the original post and thought back then it was such a cool look on you. I put it in the back of my mind so when that when I wrote this post I had to include it!

  3. April 26, 2016 / 2:56 pm

    That is a great way to do the pattern mixing—especially because your shirt looks like a solid color from far away!
    You are a smart cookie, Jacqueline!!

    • April 26, 2016 / 10:33 pm

      Ha, ha, I like to keep you on your toes, Jodie! Takes one cookie to know one!

  4. April 27, 2016 / 12:40 am

    I went through a graphic tee phase about 5-6 years ago, but haven't really done them since. I used to layer long-sleeved tees under them, then load on necklaces – it was a fun look.

    I like the waterfall faux leather with this – wonderful look.

    • May 2, 2016 / 6:08 pm

      That's a great idea, Sheila to layer long-sleeve tees underneath so you can wear them on chillier Spring days. I'll have to remember that tip!

  5. April 27, 2016 / 2:42 am

    I do love a good graphic tee. I can see why you like this one.

    The standout for me in this outfit is the red pants with the grey boots.


  6. April 27, 2016 / 11:59 am

    Hahaha hormonal angst. I plead to being in a perpetual state of said hormonal angst albeit not always manifested through ripped and/or distressed attire GRIN and here I thought that shirt was a solid, Jacqueline, you clever minx, you. I for one am always daunted by even the very idea of pattern mixing and so I thank you for this 101. It beckons me to (a) add red skinnies to my shopping list; (b) rehash memories of that trip to Tokyo (yes, it is a fabulous place, my friend); and (c) note how cool red + grey looks xoxo

    • May 2, 2016 / 6:10 pm

      The shirt does look like a solid – but I'm sneaky! Red skinnies are great and you would look fabulous in them, Sheela. Glad you second my thoughts on Tokyo – I do hope to go one day.

  7. April 27, 2016 / 12:31 pm

    I used to wear graphic tees with one-coloured shirts but never with printed ones. I guess I should try, especially after seeing how cool you look in your outfit! Love your red jeans and bracelets!

  8. April 27, 2016 / 3:01 pm

    A graphic Tee is a winner in my book.
    Yours looks great with an open shirt and skinnies.
    I have worn mine with various skirts…I think with short hair I need more femininity than my skinnies can offer.

    • May 2, 2016 / 6:11 pm

      Skirts are on my list – especially for the Summer – if it ever comes!

  9. April 27, 2016 / 5:07 pm

    A graphic tee is so much fun. I have a one that says 'Bored'. No, not wearing it to work (although maybe I should) but to the gym only…

  10. April 27, 2016 / 5:57 pm

    I think graphic tees are a great way to pattern mix with almost anything! They have visual interest, but only on the front so it isn't as bold and two patterns together!

  11. April 28, 2016 / 12:38 pm

    A great combination and perfectly styled as always – I don't think I have a graphic t-shirt. Will have to rectify that! I am with you on the lack of opportunity to pilfer from the other half's wardrobe – he is very tall and yes, anything would utterly swamp me! Didn't think of that when I said 'I do'! Love the red jeans too – need to get me a pair of those. I am impressed that you managed to get pictures OUTSIDE this week Jacqueline – hope you had your thermals on underneath! xx

    • May 2, 2016 / 6:19 pm

      How lovely to know another short/tall combo, Astrid! Red jeans are alot of fun and a great alternative to black for Spring.
      I was getting a few goosebumps by the end!

  12. May 1, 2016 / 6:28 am

    I don't own a graphic T shirt, but I really like this look and might just have to get me one. I like the colour of the trousers too.

    • May 2, 2016 / 6:15 pm

      I think you should try one, Laurie, especially as hopefully, Summer is on it's way.

  13. May 1, 2016 / 11:25 pm

    Graphic tees seem to go with just about everything! I love how you added this one to your ensemble for a layered look. There are definitely some great details in this outfit that allow for pattern mixing without too much "visual noise" as you say!


    • May 2, 2016 / 6:15 pm

      They are more versatile than folk think. I'm finding ways of pattern mixing without it being too shouty – quite a challenge!

  14. May 2, 2016 / 5:40 am

    I've been on the hunt for a graphic tee that suits me as well as yours suits you. You look fabulous and thank you for adding your post to my Powers The Flower link-up.


    • May 2, 2016 / 6:14 pm

      Well, it took me some time to find this one so keep hunting Rena and you'll find it.

    • May 2, 2016 / 6:13 pm

      Wow, what an amazing compliment, Dawn – thank you. Hop over and we'll go shopping together!

  15. May 5, 2016 / 10:30 am

    great advice!, love how you've introduced mixed prints, starting with a graphic tee and pinstripes shirt, such a cool and subtle combo!. Also love how your skinnies color looks outlined against neutral shades, and your booties and jacket look really perfect!

  16. May 6, 2016 / 7:48 pm

    Love your masterclass in this Jacqueline. I'm not a big fan of t shirts and shirts together, but that's cos I don't really do layering. I always feel too messy and that I thought was to do with my height. But you seem to pull this off with style. Perhaps it's cos you tackle the look with an air of confidence? Whatever, it all works and you look as cute as ever. Have missed dropping by lately, so it's good to see you again x

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