Performancing Metrics


The Pattern Effect

One of my hopes for this blog is that it can be a place for conversations, so I really love hearing from readers!  One reader commented last week that she was going to try mixing patterns in her own wardrobe (Yes, Mrs. G!). This is something you can try without having to purchase anything new – everybody has printed clothing in their closet, all it takes is a little time to think about it differently!  So I thought I’d post some tips to help you along the (primrose printed?) path…

Step One: You can think of some patterns as a base. Houndstooth, stripes, tweeds, dots or bouclĂ© can all work just like a solid when building your outfit.  This is particularly true when they are neutrals, but colors can work, too - this olive and cream bouclĂ© skirt works to anchor all of the other prints in this outfit. 

Step Two: Make sure the patterns share a common color. This helps to visually tie all the pieces together. Here, the skirt, blouse and sweater all include the same olive green color. The shade you match doesn’t have to be a bright color, though; you can also match the background or the neutral tones in your patterns. If you want to take it up a notch, you can match prints in the same color family. 

Step Three: You are looking for patterns that are a different size or density – this further accentuates the contrast. This sweater has a large, splotchy print, while the blouse has a smaller, more uniform print. 

Step Four: Tie everything together with accessories. Are black tights and shoes universally flattering and practical? You betcha! And along with black sunglasses and a belt, they help to create some consistency with the entire outfit. 

Step Five: Don’t think you have to go for broke and mix patterns on every item of clothing you wear. Wear a printed skirt, a plain top and a patterned scarf! Or try a blouse with a large print, a plain trouser and a pair of floral shoes. 

Give it a try – I think you will be amazed at how many more combinations you will find in your own closet once you start mixing patterns.  I’d love to see what you come up with!

See more How To's on the TBF How To page!

Blouse: Liberty of London for Target
Sweater: J. Crew
Skirt: LeSuit
Shoes: Aldo
Bracelets: Collected over the years
Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters
and, due to popular demand....
Clinton the Cat - He was anxious for this shoot to be over so that we could get on to the important business of strings and snuggles. Thanks, Animal Rescue League of Boston, for helping me find my feline companion!


  1. Anonymous3/22/2011

    You need to add Clinton - Animal Rescue League, Fall 2006 catalogue

  2. Anonymous3/22/2011

    Too funny - I wanted to mention the "no photo credit" for Clinton as well. ;)


  3. Anonymous3/22/2011

    That blouse is absolutely gorgeous! It would look good with anything.

  4. @Anonymous

    The cat steals the show! Very well, photo credit: Clinton The Cat, formerly of the Animal Rescue League of Boston!

  5. @Anonymous

    Thank you for the kind comment on the blouse! Target is just now doing a "greatest hits" of their Go International line, but I really wish they would have included the Liberty of London collection - it was filled with all kinds of beautiful prints.

  6. I LOVE mixing patterns. It's my favorite and you did a great job with it!

  7. @the clothing menu

    Thanks, Kristen! And friends, check out The Clothing Menu (

  8. Love the classy!

    greetings from germany,


  9. great outfit! love the shades

    following you on blog lovin, found you on my group at IFB! excited to follow your blog :)

    brittany from xx

  10. Uek -- thanks for the step-by-step instructions on pattern mixing 101. I am definitely feeling more confident about embracing this! I do need to actually obtain clothing with actual patterns. I'm very solid-oriented. I will also add that Step 1 had me singing an SNL-inspired tune in my head. I think we all know which one. Thanks again for your blog and the inspiration! xoxo

  11. I love those patterns together! and is that peacock feathers??? I love it!

  12. @Darina
    Danke, Darina! Deine Blog ist sehr schon! Ich folge jetzt Ihrem Blog.


  13. @brittany leigh

    Thanks, Brittany! I love your blog, too! Thanks for stopping by, and I'd love to hear any suggestions you might have! Cheers, K

  14. @Mrs. G

    If you like that - you'll love this Step One:

    And! I am glad the post was helpful to you! I'd love it if you suggested other topics :)

  15. @Caitlin

    Hi Caitlin! Thanks so much! I see you are also a MA lady - awesome! I love your blog and am following you now on Bloglovin. I'd love to hear any suggestions you have for me!
    Cheers, K

  16. this outfit is gorgeous! i should be mixing patters in the same color family!

  17. @Andrea Mildred

    Thanks, Andrea! I am loving your flying kitties and spiny-backed women:

    You've got some talent, lady! Let me know if you try out a pattern-mixing outfit - I'd love to hear how it turns out!

  18. I want your shades!!! Looking fabulous!!

  19. Thanks! You can get them at Urban Outfitters for a song :)I posted the link above...

  20. Love the mix of patterns and textures! Very cute!

  21. @The Blonde

    Thanks! I am in love with these blue shoes in your post. I am a new follower!

  22. Anonymous3/29/2011

    I love pattern mixing. Your outfit looks great! All of the shades of green work so well. I love your shoes by the way.

  23. I love that cardigan!