Vasil’s Guide to Style: Mixing Patterns

When asked about assembling an outfit, some fashion experts might say to stick with the basics: one solid, one neutral and one pattern. But, here at ModCloth, we equate not taking risks with not having fun! (Really – how can you express yourself if you’re limited by rules like that?)

We’re also willing to admit that, despite our adventurous spirit, we still get a little nervous about taking certain fashion leaps. This season, plaid is rad and we have a hankering for trying new patterns and styles; the problem is that mixing patterns seems counter-intuitive and that gives us anxiety. More than one pattern looks messy and over-the-top, right?

Vasil says: “Wrong!

Luckily for us, our fearless stylist has some more advice on taking the mixed-pattern plunge – he  even explains why mixing patterns is actually a very easy and practical way to incorporate a little adventure into your wardrobe!

For Vasil’s tips on mixing patterns, keep reading!

Most people shy away from mixing patterns, but are perfectly comfortable with layering colors or textures. Vasil says you shouldn’t limit possibilities by always making a pattern the lead of your ensemble and working colors around it. Instead, use color as your lead.

Choose some brightly-colored accessories to begin, such as the Yellow Submarine Bag, Thin Lizzy Belt in Red or the ever-popular Peacock Feather Tights. Choose patterns that correspond to these accessories and you’ll be surprised at how easily they fit together!

Contrary to what you may think, mixing patterns can be quite pleasing to the eye and can take an outfit from mediocre to magnificent. You might think the patterns of the Through the Seasons Coat and The Venice Dress would clash, but the black, white and red in each actually pull the outfit together (and the bag, too)!

The combination of vintage-inspired accessories, such as the Ubiquitous Snood and progressive pattern-mixing (such as pairing the Sociable Chevron Skirt with a plaid coat) adds balance to this outfit.

Similarily, the Wholesome Cardigan provides a classic touch to this modern, spirited ensemble. We love how the bright hues of the St. Martin’s Summer Tunic, tights and The Sari Booties play off of each other.

Like what you see? Have any questions for Vasil? Let us know!

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  1. Olla 12/19/2008 at 12:47 pm #

    this is wonderful exciting advice, thanks!!!!

  2. Liz 12/19/2008 at 1:17 pm #

    Vasil you should have a guide to style book!!!

  3. Chelsea K. 12/19/2008 at 1:34 pm #

    Yay! Now I don’t have to feel weird about wearing a plaid scarf with an argyle sweater! Thanks 🙂

  4. Lora 12/19/2008 at 1:56 pm #

    I have a very hard time not being to matchy-matchy. This really helps. Thanks 🙂

  5. Kriss 12/19/2008 at 5:57 pm #

    Very awesome ideas; love the diversity and coolness of the outfits. Great job!

  6. Eboni 12/19/2008 at 10:48 pm #

    Yay, black model! Black model! Black model!

    Thanks Vasil!

    Now I know what else to do with my Maude coat!

  7. mik 12/20/2008 at 9:42 pm #

    I dont get rules on wat to wear. normally if i like a dress and i like a coat ill wear them together even if the outfit by some people standards is said to clash. i mean i liked them separately and i liked them enough to buy them, why not wear them together? but ive started to back peddle abit. when you guys first put the Cherry Blossom Jacket on the site i absolutley loved it, but…. normally i dont go for jackets with sleeves longer that the middle., they always look abit restrictive. i love the outfit you’ve put together, its a very contemporary look but i personally see that jacket as a classic piece. i mean im no expert and im not trying to be rude but the pattern, colours, buttons and collar seem very traditional…like the little description says. when jackets like these where first made they were considered modern and contemporary for their time. i like the skirt its with on the site, but how could you wear this jacket, and other jackets that have a longer body than the sleeves with a dress that is not the same colour as the jacket itself for a more classic look? (you could wear it with white or red or black, what about other colors)
    i would love to get a experts point of view! 🙂
    thanks, i hope that all made sense 🙂

  8. NAdinn 12/21/2008 at 4:22 am #

    Well,I think these ideas are very good, the colours are the style, Vasil, you have an interesting view……. and the models are nice,very nice….. I’ll be back!!!


  9. Dido 12/21/2008 at 4:36 am #

    Tova sa hubavi suveti i mislq che taka e po lesno da izrazqvash sebe si chrez tova koeto nosish bez da se ogranichavash v cvetove i materii…bravo Vasko…!!!

  10. Vasil 12/21/2008 at 9:36 pm #

    mik: The fashion and pop culture today allows us to be ourselves and go beyond any fashion rules and/or limits; therefore, we can wear whatever makes us happy and shows our individuality even if it is by wearing a dress and a coat that might not perfectly go together according to some.
    At ModCloth, we have quite a few coats and jackets that are short and ¾ length sleeved. If you missed our winter guide to outerwear, you can see how we have styled them,
    Also, I agree that the Cherry Blossom Jacket has a very classy feel to it, but as we state in the post, at ModCloth we are not afraid to take risks, break rules, mix styles, colors, and patterns (which is the theme of this post) as long as we have fun with it and the outfit reflects who we are.
    I believe that having a long sleeved garment under a shorter sleeved coat/jacket might be tricky, but it also enables you to demonstrate your layering techniques and showcase some of your cool accessories. You should not be afraid to mix patterns; technically, it does not matter if you will see the body of the under-the-coat garment from the waist/hips/elbow-down. Therefore, you do not have to stick to single color garments under your outerwear. Making a single color or a couple accent colors, which in your eyes go together, the lead of your outfit will enable you to be creative and mix patterns and never look monotone or boring.

    Hope I covered all of your questions/concerns.

    Be cool…Stay in style

  11. Nina 12/22/2008 at 8:53 am #

    thanks for the helpful hints!

  12. Valerie 12/22/2008 at 9:26 am #

    this is great, I have been very scared to mix two or more patterns together. Now, I am excited to try your suggestions
    hope they work 🙂

    thank you ModCloth

  13. Shay 12/26/2008 at 5:09 pm #

    Great advice Vasil. This is a ton of what I have seen people experimenting with, particularly in the West Village. So excited to see patterns stake a claim in everyday fashion!


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