Back 2 Basics: Adding Pattern to Your Wardrobe

Do you have a copy of our Basics Checklist: The 33 Wardrobe Items You MUST Own, yet?  Get in on the fun and download your free copy.

Now that you have your Best Basics in place, you might be ready to get a little adventurous with your wardrobe. One of the best ways to jazz things up is to introduce patterns to your closet.  But how exactly do you add patterns without falling prey to trendy pieces?

"Of course I'm wearing plaid today - it is the 1990's!"

“Of course I’m wearing plaid today – it is the 1990’s!”

With so many wild patterns out there, and patterns available in different forms, it can be daunting to try to add a pattern to your wardrobe that won’t be a “one hit wonder”.    Think of this post as Pattern Wearing 101. These easy steps will help you get started on the road to being a pattern expert!

Start Small!

swiss dot top

A small, swiss dot pattern in the same color as the top is the perfect way to start experimenting with patterns.

Just as you would start a new hobby or sport, you want to start out small and get comfortable with the basics of patterning. You don’t want to jump right in and purchase a big, bold pattern that you might not feel comfortable wearing.  Instead, start with something subdued or neutral to help you get used to this new form of styling.

For example,  you can opt for a pair of pinstriped pants or a blouse with a small polka dot pattern (as shown above). Items that have subtle patterns can also double as a great Basic.  This will help you see how pattern can work with what you normally wear, and will feel like less of a change.

Print Accessories

print scarf

A bright patterned scarf is an easy addition to any look!

Instead of buying patterned clothing, try a patterned accessory! A brightly patterned scarf can take a simple look and elevate it to the next level.  Or try tights in a wild print to wear with skirts and dresses.  Because of the versatile nature of these accessories, it’s an excellent (and affordable!) way to experiment with adding new patterns to your wardrobe.

Summertime too hot for scarves & tights?  Turn to patterned shoes and purses to get your pattern fix!

Coordinate Colors

Tip: Look for patterned pieces that will match several of the Basics in your closet.

Once you are comfortable adding patterns in small doses, you may be ready to start adding patterned clothing to your wardrobe.  They key here is to add patterned pieces that compliment the colors that already appear in your closet.   For example, if you look great in the color blue and own several tops, skirts, and dresses in blue hues – find a great little patterned cardigan sweater that incorporates the color blue.   You will be able to pair it with any of those basics and create several different outfits!

Branch Out!

This dress is a great example of an oversize pattern.

This dress is a great example of an oversize pattern.

Maybe you’ve already got some patterns in your closet. If you find that you have mostly classic patterns like stripes or polka dots, why not try something totally different? Mix it up with a more abstract print, or a print of a different size.  A larger (or smaller) print than normal can add a totally different look and feel to an outfit. Or, if your patterns tend to be the same color, try a new one.  Instead of another black & white striped top, why not reach for pink & blue stripes instead?

Trying new patterns doesn’t have to totally change your style. With just a few pattern tweaks, you can make an outfit feel fresh and trendy!

Cathy Benavides

Cathy is a native Austinite, and writes a plus size style blog called Austin Slave to Fashion. She is a blogger and the social media manager here at Fling Fashions and hoards lip gloss, owls, and fine point Sharpie markers.

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