It’s 95 degrees today in Houston. So I know that you, like I, are thinking the same thing: What will I wear when the leaves turn this fall (or it dips down to a breezy 80 degrees)?
One of my favorite things to do in any season, but especially this fall because it is so on-trend, is to mix colors and patterns. Long gone are the days of the 1980s matchy-matchy suits/shoes/accessories. These days you can mix an assortment of colors and patterns and textures which will make you look both incredibly fashion savvy as well as high-end (if you pick the right fabrics and patterns).
Here are a few illustrations and ideas for mixing colors and patterns:
1. Mix colors and layers.
I love this! I want every piece. I know some of you are shaking your head, but it is hugely sophisticated. First, look at the genius of the oversized polka dots in her umbrella and the muted polka dots in her skirt. She started neutral. She has a black and white polka dot skirt as her base. Then she layered. She mixed a hot pink cotton blouse with a melon velvet blazer and a wool green coat. (Green is so chic this year, and I adore it, so I’ll probably do a whole fall fashion post on green.) Rich vibrant colors each in a different texture make this outfit read incredibly luxurious. Because her top half is so bold, her bottom half is muted and her hair and make up and accessories are muted too. That allows the entire outfit to be about the colorful top layers.
2. Don’t be afraid of floral.
Alright, so normally I would wretch at these outfits as floral pants can read dated or old. But this is lovely! First of all, they pair the blooms with neutral solid colored jackets and shoes. (For those of you who say wait, one is red, red is neutral.) Both jackets and shoes are clean and modern. For a little added texture, they each feature fur (hopefully faux) on their jackets. But they don’t let the outfit only be about the pants. They each feature a bold blouse under their jacket – one in bright blue stripes (a new color and pattern) and one in eye-popping yellow. The pants also feel updated because they are a skinny pant paired with a stiletto heel, so you know these are not your grandma’s duds.
3. Marry stripes and plaids – but don’t make them compete.
These are both beautiful examples of other tips too – they feature a mix of colors and fabrics and textures. But with plaids and stripes, you have to pick which pattern will lead. In the first example, she chose to let the bold navy and white stripes of her blazer lead over the muted lighter blue plaid of her blouse. Plus, her pants offer a beautiful contrast to the blues (and a camel wool overcoat should be a staple of every winter wardrobe). The second option is younger, note the socks with the heels which I wouldn’t recommend for my corporate friends, but she plays with the same concept. She lets the blue and pinkish-purple striped sweater lead over the muted oversized plaid skirt. She takes the plaid even a step further with a few peeks at the collar and neck of an oversized red and black plaid collared blouse. Interesting color choices and pattern selections that end up working when pulled together.
4. Find some confident pattern/color mixing friends!
Oh I love these girls. I want to meet them. That would be me on the far left. The bright blue sweater with a precious Peter Pan polka dot blouse AND a super fun (reverse color – smart!) smaller polka dotted blazer. I want this outfit. I need to lose a few pounds to pull off those skinny black pants, but the top half I’m on a hunt for now. The middle girl is my friend Julie. She’s a little more neutral than me, but I would totally be able to talk her into that adorable red sweater to pair with the striped skirt and killer long coat trimmed in leather. On the far right is my friend Mary. She can rock some pink and orange and this jacket features an absolutely KILLER pattern with those colors. Note that each of the buttons are a different color – what an adorable detail. The rest of the outfit is completely neutral. Dark wash straight leg jean, white blouse, and a muted patterned thin khaki sweater underneath.
Where are they going? Brunch? Work? Maybe the real me, Julie and Mary will bump into the imaginary us in Vegas tomorrow. (Though they look East Coast to me – or maybe San Francisco?)
With each of these ensembles, the key is neutral hair, make up and accessories. Select the bold item and let it speak. Don’t overdo it with loud earrings and heavy eyeliner. You can mix in other patterns and colors into your outfit, but find a singular emphasis area and don’t make everything loud or complicated.
C’mon, ‘fess up, what are you most looking forward to wearing this fall?