So, this outfit post is about a few different things:
- Transitional Dressing
- Pattern Mixing
- What is just the right amount of kooky??
Transitional dressing is making clothing items work for more than one season…like putting tights underneath and a cardigan over a sundress to carry it into fall…or wearing a slouchy sweater over a short skirt or leggings to get a little more use out of it in the early spring.
Pattern mixing is, well…mixing patterns. And while I’m a strong advocate for “rules are made to be broken,” I think they can also provide guidelines when trying to decide yay or nay on pairing up two or more items into an outfit. People can be intimidated by too much pattern and color and choose to stick to an entire wardrobe of solids. Solids are safe. So are training wheels and crash helmets. But, at least once in a while, I hope you’ll dare to ride free, wind in your hair, creating a magical rainbow in your wake for all to behold and enjoy!
Until that day, here are some training wheels for your pattern mixing debut.
- Stripes are easy – mixing stripes is the baby steps of pattern mixing
- Try to ignore the prints themselves and just match/coordinate the colors
- Choose one bold print to dominate and a “lighter” one as an accent
- Add a neutral (solid) to create separation between two different prints (this can be as simple as a wide belt)
- Use opposites: a black stripe on white combined with a white stripe on black
- Use different scales: a wide navy and white stripe paired with a narrow (like a pinstripe) navy and white stripe
- Think of a color + white stripe/polka dot pattern as a solid then just add a patterned piece that goes with that color
- If you’re uneasy about all this, start slow, just add a second pattern with an accessory, like a floral scarf or striped tote
- There’s really no wrong. If YOU like it, if YOU feel good in what you’re wearing, that’s *really* what matters.
Again, these are just guidelines. Make note of them, ignore them…just give it a try!
I did that with this outfit. It’s a transitional outfit, in that the penguin (yes, penguins) dress is really a lightweight sleeveless summer dress. But I paired it with black leggings, a black and white polka-dot blouse underneath, and a black knit longline vest over top, and I was super cozy and warm on a cool day.
As far as pattern mixing, the penguin print really reads as a stripe…black, white, and pink. I could have put it over a black and white striped turtleneck, or a pink pin-dot for the same sort of mixing effect. But I’d been looking for a new white blouse for a long time and when I saw this in the sort of hand-painted polka-dot print, I thought it would be more interesting than a plain white blouse, so…dots it was. And I used the black vest to sort of give the eye a quiet place to rest and to somewhat separate the two prints.
Annnnd…I like just a little bit of kooky. I like a fun print. What do you think? Penguins and polka-dots: too much? Or just the right amount of kooky?
Many thanks to my new photographer buddy Amy Frushour Kelly. If you’re looking for portraits, author photos, band pix, or editorial images, check out her website.
What I’m Wearing:
- Isabel + Alice Geometric Print Penguin Dress, 3x. Via GwynnieBee
- WhoWhatWear polka-dot blouse, 3x
- August Silk Woman black knit longline vest, 3x, TJ Maxx
- Maurice’s black footless tights (probably not available again til later summer)
- Vintage 1960’s pink purse
- Black vegan suede wedge booties via DSW