I’m following the Wardrobe Architect series to help me build a well curated collection of hand-made clothes. You can find all my Wardrobe Architect posts in their own category. I’m very keen to see and talk to others working through this series, so share with me, if you are.
This week I tackle pattern and prints. Probably my favourite thing about clothes. I have used these five terms to describe my core style.
Unique, creative, comfortable, active, eye-catching with a love of pattern & colour
So, obviously pattern is something I’m not shy of. I probably get the most joy out of outfits that have lots going on. I would love to wear these looks.
Wearing this much pattern though, requires a large wardrobe or a limited palette (like the centre picture) to pull off. I probably deserve to have some outfits like this, that make me feel great, but I don’t think I can afford a whole wardrobe of crazy patterning.
This is where I diverge from the Wardrobe Architect series a little. Sarai Mitnick has us think about what percentage of our wardrobes are plain and patterned and which types of pattern we like to wear. I will get to that in a future post, but for today I wanted to explore how and where I wear pattern.
The way I wear pattern most, is in one or two stand out items. If it’s in a shawl or other accessory, I want a quieter background for it to stand out against.
That doesn’t mean no pattern in the rest of the outfit. The dress on the left has a small check, embroidery and contrast panels. I also love Gudrun’s polka dot undershirt; it looks great with the t-shirt on top, to show off the colours and patterns in the scarf.
Where Do I Wear Pattern?
Around my neck
In a scarf, necklace, cowl or shawl. This is an easy way to add pattern to an outfit and I have a large collection of shawls. I can wear them with patterned bags and shoes too. I love to knit my shawls but I love a beautiful woven or embroidered shawl too. I think I could sew some interesting shawls.
In a large piece
Such as a dress, tunic or coat, with plain legs. I would love to wear patterned tights but I never find them flattering on me, so it makes sense to steer clear of them and use my dress or coat as a large patterned area.
As an underlayer, peaking out
Such as an undershirt with a quiet tunic on top or a longer length slip dress. I have mostly plain undershirts because I find it easier to get the fit I like in them. But I could add some patterned undershirts underneath some of my quieter tunics.
I like them to fit really tight; no added bulk. This combination at Gudrun Sjorden looks great but would look sloppy on me. I usually buy my undershirts but I think I will make a couple in patterns for this winter.
Handbags, shoes, brooches, necklaces. In these small areas, I think they can clash happily.
Where I prefer to avoid Pattern?
Tights, trousers and leggings. I love this look but I am self-conscious of my short, full legs and feel that pattern attracts too much attention to them. Instead I prefer to keep a selection of jeans and coloured tights on hand.
That’s a lot to think about.
I had been considering finding a trouser pattern that I liked the fit of, so that I could have patterned bottoms.
But, that will distract from the areas that I’m happiest wearing print. I think I’ll avoid patterned trousers now.