Despite my whinging, the solid polo actually doesn’t not work with my style. My modus operandi tends to be insanely patterned thing + slightly less patterned thing + solid thing. Or alternatively incredibly patterned thing + several solid things that may or may not go with patterned thing.
If done correctly, this is actually a great way to build a wardrobe or work on refining your personal style. You can spend a little more on basics that fit well and will get a lot of wear, or special items that really capture your style. Look for jeans that fit well, an awesome pencil skirt, a fitted blouse, or a great structured jacket, or comfy tees in fun colors. Then you can add trendy or patterned things as you please for experimentation purposes. Thrift stores are a great place to find unusual items for little money. Since trends tend to cycle, you can also find items with a current feel for much less money. (Have I mentioned I love thrift stores? I feel like I should mention I looooooove thrift stores.) For example:
Is this coat weird and totally me? Yes! Is it something that is going to get a lot of wear? Probably not, honestly it’s purple and has giant flowers and fake fur. But I got it for about $15 at a thrift store, so I won’t feel so bad if my style keeps changing and it’s not my thing in a year or two. (For now, I will wear it and rub my face on the collar constantly. So soft!)
If you want to work with what you have, consider the effect of color and pattern to make things look different and new. Pinstripes can look sophisticated with a solid blazer or funky with a fun floral. (I am awesome at alliteration, ha!) Animal print can look timeless as a scarf with a dark pencil skirt or young and fun with bright green boots and light jeans.
Pattern mixing is one of my favorite parts of sewing and dressing. It might seem daunting, but starting with some basic rules can help keep you from looking like you fell in your closet and wore what stuck. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) Vary the scale and type of pattern. It’s pretty hard to go wrong by pairing an organic pattern like a floral or paisley and a smaller scale geometrical pattern like a stripe or check. Small, subtle pattern like dots or pinstripes are great for adding a little interest to solids and for mixing with bolder patterns. Pairing a small scale stripe with a floral is one of my favorite combos. Don’t think you have to be matchy, try finding a main pattern with several colors and maybe pulling a polka dot in one color and a stripe in two others. (Or just wear all plaid
like Kasmira, this lady is seriously masterful with pattern mixing.) Try things together that you wouldn’t think of, they may end up looking great together. Throw some coordinating solids together, like several different shades of sherberty colors or jewel tones. ColourLovers.com
has a ton of inspiring color combos available to browse and search.
Interested in pattern? Small bits of pattern are a good jumping off point. If you’re fond of your waist, you might try the belt tutorial I just posted. This takes pretty minimal sewing skills and even less fabric. Fabric cuffs are also simpe to make; sew together two pieces of fabric large enough to go around your wrist with some overlap then turn and add a closure. Mer Mag has an awesome scarf tutorial
. Tights are also a good way to bring in pattern. Now is a great time to hit discount stores like Ross or TJ Maxx for tights, and Target has some great colors and patterns for $5. Make your own patterns by tie dying
white cotton tights or printing your own design
. Find some cute scraps and a bit of elastic and make this simple headband
. The Moda Bake Shop has instructions for a necklace made from fabric beads
. I’ve made one and it’s very simple and fun (also a great way to use up teeny scraps).
The weather is getting chilly and gray, I want to see how you bring pattern and color into your life!