Saturday, September 6, 2008

Primer on Pattern

The fashion magazines this month are full of dresses made of fabric that looks like it came straight from the early 1960s. The fabrics are festooned with large gold roses fading into a rose background, or a tone-on-tone brocade, or pastiches of four-inch blooms.

Pattern is wonderful, especially if you've been used to wearing practical solids. But if you're unsure about how to wear pattern, here are a few pointers:
  • Large patterns tend to look best on people with large or dramatic features. Otherwise, a person can end up swallowed by a pattern, or, worse, look like a couch.
  • Patterns with sharply different colors also tend to look better on people with dramatic features or coloring. For instance, vivid Pucci prints tend to suit brunettes and pale blonds--people whose coloring is almost as extreme as the print.
  • It can be chic to mix prints. Last week I dressed one of the dress forms for the window with a pansy-patterned circle skirt, a yellow mohair cardigan, and a wide, robin's egg blue belt. It still needed something. Liz handed me a leopard print scarf to tie around the neck. Perfect.
  • If you're wearing a print, avoid fussy jewelry. Small or elaborate jewelry can get lost next to patterned fabric.

Most of all, if you're looking for a dress or blouse in an early 1960s patterned fabric, come to the Xtabay before you try the mall. You'll end up with style (and money) to spare.


  1. Sandra @ Debutanteclothing.comSeptember 6, 2008 at 11:38 PM

    I'm noticing the brocade trend as well, and I am glad to see florals are going to be around in fall as well. Great tips on how to wear patterns! I'm going to link to it!!

  2. Thank you! We're not very web-savvy here, but eventually we'd love to link to your blog, too.