Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mixing it Up!

Mixing patterns is a daunting and scary task for most.  And for good reason! Because if its wrong, its reeeeaaaaally wrong! (Picture orange floral Bermuda shorts with an argyle sweater vest!) But when its done right its a highly effective look that is polished, fashion forward, eye catching, and frankly, it makes you look like you know what you're doing! The trick to mixing patterns is to find a color correlation between the pieces. Choose patterns in different sizes for the best effect. Let's take a look at a few pattern combos in action!

I'll start with Ed Westwick. For those of you who don't know, he's an actor on Gossip Girls, and his stylist is continuously dressing him in bold and daring combinations.  His on screen looks are great to watch for fresh ideas. The picture below is actually a fairly muted ensemble for him. Note the wide striped shirt with the multi-colored check jacket.
Ed Westwick/
This is a fairly easy look to pull off. He left the color contrast to his accessories--pink tie, dark blue pocket square. Although the shirt and jacket are both bold patterns, they are comprised of the same exact color palette. The light blue ties the two pieces together.

The next picture shows a somewhat tricky combo--check on check. I found this picture on It features Wallace Chan from the gentleman's shoe store Tassels in Hong Kong.
This pairing is brilliant. He started with the jacket. There is an accent color of a light sage green in the jacket's check. He found a shirt with a check in the same green to pull the two together. Note that the overall check in the jacket is pretty small, while the shirt features a larger pattern.

That gives you two great examples to work from. But if that is too bold for your style, don't throw the baby out with the bath water! Here is an easy way to wear this trend using wardrobe staples. Every business man should own a Bengal striped shirt. Its a classic in charcoal or deep navy. Just to be a little different, I've chosen a plum version by Canali, available at Nordstrom's.
Pair this with a classic hounds tooth sport coat and you've mixed patterns! The great thing about hounds tooth is that it acts as a solid. In fact, from far away it even looks like solid gray. Throw this combo on with some dark clean jeans or gray trousers and you've got a winning look! The jacket shown below is a vintage Ralph Lauren found on, but this timeless staple can be found in many men's shops.  You could achieve the same effect with a black and white mini check or a birdseye pattern.
Do you mix patterns? If so, please share what you mix together. Would you try this look?

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