Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Patterns Are Your Friends!

Or How to Make Your Wardrobe More Lively by Adding More... CHAOS!

I don't know why but for most of my young adult life I wore nothing but plain colors. Black, beige, brown, forest green, maroon. All of those shades are great on their own but when muted by the intensely dense weight of another, they become heavier than stone. They weigh us down. They make us seem unapproachable. They create a rift in the world. A rift between our weary selves and fashion's entryway.

Somehow all of that looks amazing together! It just WORKS!

It took me awhile to admit that I secretly loved fashion. Being surrounded by peers that spent hundreds of dollars on their messengers bags and whiskey collections but refused to care for their clothing was maybe one of the reasons. We all aim to be cool in this world. I get it. I've been there.

Sequins can definitely be considered into any fashion equation.

Which is why I am offering you some insight into PATTERN PAIRING. Some think of it as daring and cutting edge while others find it completely confusing and bothersome to the eye. But despite what your take is on it, I am here to guide you in the right direction. Because if there's anything forthcoming this fashion season, it is The Art of Keeping It Interesting!

Patterns can turn you into a work of art!

Now, you can't go all 90's on everyone's ass and start layering flannel shirts with daisy leggings. And don't you dare go all fugster urbanite on folks by putting three different shades of denim over three types of stonewashed jean things. Risks like that are just mistakes. Ones made by kids that listen to noise shows in warehouses on the southside of Chicago. They have rat tails and weird mini-braids and it's fantastic but it isn't going to last. So why not try your hand at something that DOES!?!

The Elements of Pattern-Pairing:

1. Polka dots can go with pretty much ANYTHING.

Are you there, Fashion? It's me, Polka Dot.

Polka dots may very well be where this tale of fashion begins. So simple yet so adorable, the quaint starkness of these little circle bits can be easily paired with almost any pattern. And are a great place to start if you just wanna get your toes wet in the big pool of pattern-pairing...

Plaid becomes the base here while the polka dots scream excitement!

2.Most stripes can ALSO go with pretty much anything!

Think of stripes as trees. They can go for miles, blend well in the background and tend to draw the eye upward. And then think of your ensemble as a forest. And what forest doesn't need a few (dozen) trees in it? Plus: stripes are a sleek and sneaky way to make yourself appear a tad more slender than normal... I've been using this trick for years!

3. Leopard print is now a NEUTRAL!

Even cats are wearin' it!
I didn't realize how versatile leopard-print was until I found myself surrounded by it on a daily basis. And I remember the day I bought my first piece of leopard-printed clothing. It was a little grey cardigan and it went with EVERYTHING. I still have it and it remains one of my most important pieces. I don't know what it is about this pattern that works but it does. And what person doesn't want to feel fierce from time to time?

This is givin you some ideas, isn't it?

2. Unless you want to be Olympian Chic, pairing a flannel anything with any other sort of pattern is not your best option. Flannel can sometimes looks great with snowflakes though! (Flannel is not to be confused with plaid...)

These lasses look alright now but wait until they get up off that log...
Flannel has been trying to make a comeback since 1995. I remember. I was there. And I also remember being in middle school when girls dressed like they were obese boys and boys dressed like they couldn't afford belts or clothing that fit. And alongside this style came the ever important Flannel Button-down Shirt: The staple for American youth.
Kurt Cobain's second skin.
Paul Bunyan's overcoat.
The essence of a laid-back generation.
Gargantuan grunge incarnate.
Followed closely by grown out bowl cuts and carpenter pants, this piece of clothing was one that told stories and held onto dreams. It also probably smelled like cigarettes and Grand Slam breakfasts from Denny's but the bottom line is that the relic that was once the flannel shirt is now simply an innuendo of a past that remains in the heart of American suburbs, deep in the neck of log cabins and is now tied around the waist of a few fine stragglers that aren't sure which anti-fashion trend to cling onto next.

This is not me but whomever she is, she sure makes that shirt look classy!

I still have my favorite flannel tucked away for those frosty nights when I need it most. And in no way am I knocking it. I get its necessity! I understand its pleasure, the warmth it brings to many! I just think that sometimes... when you love something... it's best to just... let it... go...

3. Stockings are a fantastic way to add a bit of fantasy to an otherwise boring story of a costume.

Damn, girlz.
Okay. This is where my closet really thrives! Stockings!
Since having been a shopgirl, much of my paycheck goes towards keeping my wardrobe up to date. Replenishing my fashionable demands. (It's tough being in the Hot Toddy spotlight, kids.) And what has most of my earnings gone towards?
Dresses? Nope.
Hats? Haha no way.
Jewels? Bling ain't my thing.
Shoes? I wish.
The Fashion Thing I've invested most in over this past period of time has been... TIGHTS!

Leggo my eye-oh!

It's hard to believe but it's true. In fact, when I start my day I choose the stockings before all the rest. It serves as a base for my entire outfit and it makes for a fun little game upon waking.

Now, keep in mind that when I say 'tights' or 'stockings' I am in no way talking about anything boring or mundane. No, sir! I am talking about a piece of clothing that will be keeping my legs warm WHILE snazzing up my entire ensemble. Like I mentioned earlier, 'Keepin It Interesting' is the key.

Hello, Interesting!

And there are so many options in that department. Any pattern you can imagine is bound to be possible for you to put on your legs! Works of art, photographs, animals, stripes, paisleys, polka dots, lace and ruffles: it can all be yours, baby.

You're so VEIN! You prolly think this post is about you...

The reason that stockings are one of the essential elements to pattern-pairing is because if you've got the right pair on, they can make that drab dress super dramatic. They can jazz up any old thing!


Take the pair of tights below for example. At first you may think: Oh boy, The only thing I can wear with those is a plain boxy miniskirt. But, oh darling. You are definitely mistaken! Those tights can go with polka-dots, with stripes, with a mild floral print and many other things. It's because within that pattern are several other bits of patterns. Notice the circles and the blocks and the arrows. Those are all pieces of something greater, something that you can ideally pair it with. Just make sure not to go overboard and to avoid looking trashy. That's all I ask of you in the Leg Art Department.

And below is an example of how I created a complete outfit around a single pair of tights: (I'm pretty proud of that one!)

Wallpaper tights and a polka dot blouse work wonders together because of that bright red belt!

4. Pattern on top of same pattern? Whoa, it can definitely happen and when it does MAGIC ENSUES!

Welcome to Stripe Town. Population: one.

I tried this risky situation a month or two ago and came upon fantastic results. I received many compliments and gazes. Maybe some in confusion but probably most in adoration for my dangerous dive into the world of Twin Patterning.

She's smiling because she knows how awesome she looks.

Twin Patterning is the element of style that happens when one type of pattern is placed beside or on top of another type of pattern from the same pattern family. Thin stripes below thick stripes. Big circles atop small spheres. Faint houndstooth against bold houndstooth.

Houndstooth on top of Houndstooth? You better believe it, babe!

In the end, everyone wins and you've made a supposed fashion faux pas into an iconic fashion success!!

5. Floral has been creeping its way back into the scene like an annoyingly beautiful little moon flower vine. And that's quite alright with us!

Quite possibly the most gorgeous outfit I've seen in a long ass while.

Because flowers are usually quite beautiful. Just like us. And why not pair a pretty lady with a plethora of
pretty floral patterns? Flowers also look smashing with a simple stripe. See below:

This girl may look stuck up but her outfit is RIGHT ON.

And if you're over the striped thing (since I keep talking about it) then why not try flowers and dots?! I did so below. Took a typical little summer frock, tied a dotty sash around it and stuffed a blouse underneath to create a whole new look.

I apologize for the creepy mirror photo but the lighting was weird, okay!?

6. Stop dressing like you're destined for boredom and start livening up your wardrobe!

Scarf, hat, glasses, OH MY!

Piece by piece, bit by bit you can totally do this. You can turn what may be a bland bunch of clothing into a remarkably versatile and funky fashion show! All you need to do is start taking some risks. Let more patterns into your world. Don't be afraid of animal prints and scarves and hats. Accessories are an easy way to open up the door a little bit and inch your way into the wonderful world of exciting fashion.

Solange takes the cake for best pattern-pairer of the year!

Even at work, there is no excuse for dressing boring! Unless you're a prison guard, of course. If you work in a restaurant where you must wear all black, I'm sure you can sneak in a little pop of color somehow. Try a unique pair of earrings or cute little neck scarf. If you work with children, the more patterns the better! Turn your body into a collage of color! Whatever the job and whatever the uniform, keep it interesting.

Blair Waldorf: one of fashion's favorite fictional characters right now!

And again! Perfect Pattern Placement: Bravo!

Life is so short, why not stand out!?

Like this chick. She knows wazzup!

And always remember: wear your patterns wisely, never act boastful and be nice to everyone you meet. 

Andrea and KT