In the past, there have been a lot of rules when it comes to fashion. Don’t wear white after Labor Day. Your belt should match your shoes. Don’t mix black and navy, and don’t even think about mixing brown and black. And when it comes to different patterns, they shouldn’t be mixed. Well, I want to give you a new, let’s call it, guideline: forget all the rules and just let your personal style shine through.

This Fashionista broke the rules with her outfit and it definitely paid off. What first struck me about her outfit were the horizontal stripes set against the soft floral pattern of her skirt. The clashing patterns seamlessly worked. The colors of both the skirt and the top played off of one another with the ivory top emphasizing the cream flowers of her skirt. Stephanie toughened up the sweet patterns with a medium brown leather jacket and combat boots.

When mixing patterns, find common colors and draw them out. Having a similar color creates continuity and reconciles clashing patterns. As another example, check out the juxtaposition of Anthropologie’s Aunt Esther Cameo Top with Lilly Pulitzer’s Peggy Striped Pants. The bold blue of the pants is mirrored in the top and even the jagged pattern is slightly reflected in both pieces.

If you prefer less color, go for a graphic combination of black and white and play with size and proportion. Spring 2013 brings an influx of vertical stripes and polka-dots in contrasting neutrals. Wear the same pattern on both top and bottom, but create visual interest by choosing differently sized stripes. As a bonus, a narrow striped bottom with a wider striped top will elongate your legs and slim your torso.

Accessorize with neutrals to keep the emphasis on the patterns without overdoing it. A brown leather jacket like this Fashionista’s, or a nude platform heel, adds a dash of style and looks effortless, letting your pattern concoction take center stage.

Take a cue from Stephanie and mix and match different patterns. I encourage you to go crazy and break every fashion rule you know.


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