Can I Pull This Off? Clashing Patterns

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There are very few sartorial geniuses out there, and I won’t ever claim to be in that echelon. (That revered space belongs to the Karls and Annas of the world.) But I have a good way to fake it till I make it: Scouring for inspiration outside a Pinterest board and trying EVERYTHING, especially the strange and incongruous. (I’ll admit that certain trends never make it past the privacy of a dressing room.)

But sometimes, an experiment just works. A week ago, I NEVER would have paired this jacket and shirt together.

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Jacket: Luella Bartley x Target | Plaid Shirt: Tommy Hilfiger | Pants: Madewell | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban | Handbag: Alexander Wang

Typically, I’ve paired the blue shirt with a navy sweater (SNOOZE) and the red striped blazer with chambray or white blouses.

But mixing the shirt and blazer together? Revelatory — and I’m not being sarcastic. (I get giddily excited about unusual combinations, like the first time I had brie and strawberries together.)

But I can’t take all the credit. This pattern mixing was inspired by Jun Takahashi, a Japanese designer who has collaborated with everyone from Nike to Uniqlo.

My inspiration came from this Vogue pictorial.
My inspiration.

For this skirt, which was featured in Vogue, Takahashi combined a traditional tartan pattern with a Betsy Ross-esque striped print. Rather than run out and buy something similar, I remixed items I’ve had for years.

It’s a nice stab at the pattern-on-pattern trend that’s been cropping up the past few seasons. The key to making this work? Finding pieces with a unifying color. For my look, it was the navy, which plays prominently in the plaid shirt, but also features in the blazer’s stripes and buttons, as well as the cocoon coat that tied it all together.

Coat: Maje | Loafers: Isabel Marant (Barneys)
Coat: Maje | Loafers: Isabel Marant (Barneys)

We had a cold snap over the weekend, and the oversized coat silhouette is the savior for this look — if I had tried layering a shirt and blazer underneath a typical peacoat, my arms would be squeezed to the point of losing circulation. (And with marshmallow arms, I’d be as dextrous and graceful as a T-Rex.)

Would you mix these patterns? And if you’ve tried a pattern-on-pattern look, I want to hear about it!

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  • Andrea Billups

    Looks adorable on you. Someone larger? Perhaps less so. But the color pops nicely against one another — the patterns compete less bc of the colors.

    • http://www.TheStylePragmatist.com/ Diana @ The Style Pragmatist

      Thanks! I actually think this could work on other body types and ages — think of Lynn Yaeger! http://fashionpopqueen.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/LynnYa.jpg

      • Andrea Billups

        Obviously Lynn Yaeger is a force of nature and must be honored. So it this a LY homage — rock it out! 😉

        • http://www.TheStylePragmatist.com/ Diana @ The Style Pragmatist

          I want to be her when I grow up.