over50feeling40: Purposeful Pattern Picks
Fashion and Lifestyle Blog for women over 50 to help achieve strength, confidence, joy, inspiration, and, of course, head-turning personal style!

Apr 26, 2011

Purposeful Pattern Picks

Jacket: Marshall's
Traveler's Blouse: Chico's
Scarf: Forever 21
Skirt: Lane Bryant
Shoes: Target

“Her eyes must be going…poor dear…and so young!”…. One of the lines I imagine teachers saying in the teacher lounge on the days I show up for work in mixed patterns! It’s always risky, because so many people do not get it…however, I do find that it is mostly men who do not seem to like the look.

Another thing Stacey and Clinton from What Not To Wear taught me is that it’s fashionable to mix patterns as long as they are in the same color family!! That helps a lot if you are just not sure…check the colors. At first I looked for a necklace to wear with this outfit, then my eye fell on the scarf (hanging on my scarf tree). Do I dare? Well, I am glad I did…I liked the look and it was well received! At least I do not know for sure if I was discussed in the teacher’s lounge!!

From Beyond Beauty Basics, an article by Jennifer Long-Levy gave the following guidelines for mixing your look up:

1.Don’t wear two or more bold patterns together. The result is that they just compete with each other, and people will either think you got dressed drunk or in the dark.

2.Mix patterns that are in the same color family. This is kind of a no-brainer way to change it up with more than one pattern.

3.Don’t go overly matchy-matchy. Head to toe black and white polka dots in various sizes may seem like you’re following rule number one, but really you just look like you’re on your way to your prom. In 1986.

4.Some patterns are neutrals: Think tweed skirts and trousers or a small houndstooth. They are so classic and understated, they become a neutral.

5.Mix patterns of different weights. For instance, a cotton or silk blouse with a small dot or stripe pattern with a wool argyle sweater vest is a easy way to mix patterns. This look can even go with tweed and houndstooth for lots of visual interest, but no competing patterns.

6.Distance: Sometimes patterns work well together if they’re not against each other. For example, the other day a stylish friend of mine wore neutral-colored trousers with a light stripe with a black tunic. The pattern punch? A lovely leopard-print belt. The key was not belting the stripe with the leopard.

Have a Wonderful Day!


  1. I'm so not a pro of pattern mixing. In fact this morning, I combined patterns and then chickened out. My rule of thumb about an outfit is that if I'm not sure, I don't. I know...no guts, no glory, LOL but I want to feel good not pave a fashion trail! You look exceptional in this and your pattern mixing skills are spot on! Hugs to you! ~Serene

  2. Great job with the pattern mixing!

  3. I don't mix patterns much, but you do so with such grace - keep it up!

  4. You crazy girl...I'm sure everybody loved your outfit. I just love it, the colors would be of my choice. Hope you have a great day.

  5. Your eyes are super fab girlie....dont worry about what anyone might think...you are rocking this outfit..go you!

  6. I think you chose some great patterns to mix!

  7. I am proud of you for being daring. There are already enough boring people in the world.Whoever doesn´t get it is their loss.

  8. I think size/repeat of the pattern is a factor as well as the weight of the fabric. Both your skirt and scarf have similar sized pattern designs.

  9. Great post. I love stripes with leopard print. You did it right with that skirt and scarf! Love it.


  10. Thanks for the great pattern mixing tips!

  11. I laughed at the first--her eyes must be going, poor dear! lol!!! So true--I worry now about being the crazy old lady with my dressing! Great suggestions--and your pattern mixing worked to perfection, GF!

  12. These are good tips! I am just beginning to experiment with this pattern mixing. I find it helps to cross my eyes a bit and to see the pattern as a color.

  13. I say MIX IT UP GIRL!!!!!! Looks great!
    Have a pretty day!

  14. I love pattern mixing! I hope your coworkers start to look at you as being chic and not crazy!

    Chic on the Cheap

  15. I realize I probably break every rule, but have a poet's eye, and seem to pull off the pattern-impossible.
    I love mixed prints and for me the secret is a rhyme scheme. If you play with scale (small dot, large houndstooth) and color (not just matching but complimentary color schemes) you can pull off with panache the punch of pattern.
    the Citizen Rosebud

  16. I love the pink + green mix!


    P:S: I´m having a beautiful jewelry giveaway, I´d love for you to come by! :)

  17. I totally agree with Sacramento. Enough boring outfits in the world. You look great!
    How sad about what the study shows. I always tell this story when I talk about age: when I turned 20, I felt a bit sad (I guess since I was not a teenager anymore?). But my sadness did not last too long. I quickly realized how silly it was to worry about your age; how when I'm 25 I'd be wishing I was 20, and so on. I thought worrying about your age was ridiculous wasting of time. Ever since then I embrace my age. I am actually excited to be hitting 40 this September.
    Also, our attitude to age I think depends on our genes and our general outlook in life. Probably (and this is just my own theory) people who are strong, cup is always half-full type don't worry about their age but embrace it. Such a drastic difference between men and women. Wonder if testosterone has anything to do with it? We need to learn from their example.
    Pam, thanks so much for your comments. I really appreciate them.

  18. p.s.
    it's me again... sorry, i commented to a wrong post. I meant to comment on your post about a new study, about age...


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