Fall Winter Fashion Formula #6: The Power of Pattern

February 12th, 2009

Omiru Fall Winter Capsule Wardrobe: #6
Feeling the love for this set?  Here’s more information about it.


If you’re interested in playing with pattern, but your closet is full of solid colored clothing, you’re not alone.  We get tons of questions from women asking how to start to integrate pattern into their wardrobe.  The good news?  Though the prospect of patterns can be pretty daunting, the reality of patterns is that they’re really easy to wear.  The key is to match the size of the pattern to your personal architecture.  If you’re petite, opt for patterns that are smaller in size–and vice versa.  Here’s a fashion formula that shows you how to start wearing pattern:

1.  Start with the basics: a plain white button down shirt and a pair of high waisted grey pants.
2.  Against this basic backdrop, add the key to the outfit: a statement yellow and brown patterned shell.  Let the collar on the white shirt peek out from under the patterned shell.
2.  Toss on a brightly colored coat in a complementary color.  Because yellow and green are next to each other on the color wheel, they pair together nicely.  Also notice how the 3/4 sleeves on the coat allow the lower part of the sleeves on the white shirt to be seen.
4. Slip on a pair of heels.  The brown color of the heels echoes the brown in the belted green jacket.

How do you wear pattern?  Share your style with us in the comments!

Entry Filed under: Ready Made Outfits, Women

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sal  |  February 12th, 2009 at 8:15 am

    So true - sometimes a little dab will do ya when it comes to patterns. I tend to steer clear of lots of pattern, but am drawn to it in button-down shirts for some reason. I love me a busy printed shirt!

  • 2. Susan D  |  February 12th, 2009 at 9:31 am

    I envisioned the printed shirt under the white button-down - but you are saying wear the printed sheel over the white shirt correct??

  • 3. Christa  |  February 12th, 2009 at 11:46 am

    I LOVE PATTERNS! I’m surprised some find it hard to integrate patterns, maybe because I’m so used to wearing them.

    My rule that never fails is only 1 piece in the outfit can be patterned, and that includes accessories. ie even if it’s small like a patterned bag, patterned tights, or even a headband, everything else is solid. And just as you say, build the outfit by drawing out 1-2 (max!) colors that match/complement the pattern.

    This outfit is so lovely! And happy to see the green… green doesn’t get enough play in fashion, I think.

  • 4. BigSister  |  February 12th, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Isn’t that the blouse Michelle Obama wore on the Tonight Show? She wore it with a gold cardigan and it looked great!

  • 5. Manja  |  February 12th, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Usually love the suggested outfits, just not feeling the patterned shell over the white shirt and the green coat, too much going on for me

  • 6. iz  |  February 12th, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    I don’t think the fabric of the patterned top would look good layered over the white button down, and I agree that there’s too much going on. Maybe if the white button down was eliminated altogether… but then it wouldn’t be very warm.

  • 7. ellen  |  February 12th, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    I made a sample set of how I generally wear pattern. It’s a more casual look:
    http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/set?id=6504878

    I like pairing complementary colors, but since purple and yellow are a bit loud, I kept the bag to just a small clutch.

    I love playing with patterns and colors. It makes dressing so much more fun in the mornings :)

  • 8. DawnB  |  February 12th, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    Yow, I’m usually the conservative one when it comes to blogger fashion, but I really like this outfit. And you haven’t even added the purse or accessories yet. I’m still just barely catching onto all this fashion mixing and matching (or not doing the matchy-matchy). I think the biggest thing about mixing patterns for me would be the colors; using them like you did w/complimentary colors. Also, the size of the print combinations is a consideration. The blog “Of a Certain Age” just did a post regarding mixing patterns w/some great pictures of patterns combinations which I found very attractive. I agree w/Ellen that playing w/patterns and colors is great fun.

  • 9. Trisha  |  February 13th, 2009 at 12:28 am

    So happy to hear that you guys are exploring mixing and matching with pattern. Wearing pattern may seem daunting at first, but it really opens up whole new avenues of style.

    Ellen - great set! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. I love the color combo–and the elegant herringbone pattern on the sweater.

    Sal - the red and white “wiener dog shirt” really agrees with you :)

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