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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How To: Expertly Mix Patterns

Classics are great but sometimes you want something more daring to don in the morning. Mixing patterns is one way to accomplish this. It can be daunting to the novice but with a few guidelines in place you can begin to clash your prints with class.

Try easing yourself into the process. Trial and error is a great way to learn, but you want to avoid as many errors as possible. So, until you get a firmer grasp on the concept try mixing with a monochromatic palate. In other words, if you have a light blue checked shirt on pair it with a dark blue striped tie or pocket square. The linchpin of mixing for beginners is a solid pant or jacket to hold it together. Below are some examples on the runway.

Above, Moschino, has subtle details which add interest. His red striped tie competes with the checked trim rescuing a potentially boring upper half with a battle for your attention.

Below, Etro, the ultimate mix master, has competing fabrics on nearly every portion of the model. A paisley shirt with a textured tie, a checked suit jacket with bold lining are all anchored by neutral, solid pants.

Now, here are some examples of how to take it from the catwalk to the sidewalk. Photos by the Satoralist.

Choose a theme and stick to it. Above he layered casual flannel checks of varied color and size keeping it easygoing but far from bland.

Below he has avoided a clownish appearance by tying his accent pieces to his jacket. The navy jacket serves as an anchor to his striped tie and checked vest.
Vests are a great accent and are small enough to be constructed of bolder patterns.

Start off with a custom vest in a bold check or pinstripe. Then check out Etro for a great paisley tie that mirrors the colors used in the vest. Then bring it together with solid pants.

Keep it easy going. You don't want to look like you tried too hard to get it perfect. Part of the charm of mixing patterns is looking a bit unkempt. The key is to avoid looking like you dressed yourself in the dark.

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