3 Tips for integrating patterns into your wardrobe


This spring, patterned trousers were on my buying list. (PS: I recommend creating a buying list for every season’s shopping—I walk you through how to do this using Pinterest here!) After purchasing this polka dot pair from Zara and a striped dress from H&M, I realized they were my first two pattern pieces in my otherwise solid closet.

If you’re like me and wanting to add some playful patterns into your solid-filled closets, I’ve put together this post just for you!

(And I’m actually utilizing all these tricks in this single outfit!)

3 tips for integrating patterns into your wardrobe

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Coat: BB Dakota 'Regan' Coat, similar, or in leopard print Polka dot trouser: Zara White button-up dress: Forever 21, similar | Bag: Fossil 'Haven' Bucket Bag in Brown Shoes: Nine West 'Callen' Sandal via Hudson's Bay

TIP #1 Choose pieces that cover a lot of surface area

You might think that the easiest way to add in a print would be with a scarf, or a shirt—you know, something small—but I disagree! For the most wearability, go big with your patterned pieces—a pair of trousers, a dress, a coat.

Patterns already try to overpower solids in an outfit. So when you’re pairing a smaller piece like a scarf or a top, you need to make sure the contrast between it and the rest of your outfit is pleasing (and it doesn’t feel like the whole outfit is screaming at you!)

So instead of having to go through trial and error when you’re trying to pair a smaller patterned piece like a top to see what works, you can just go big with your patterned piece and let it be the star of whatever outfit you wear it in.

If you make a big part of your outfit a pattern, you can easily pair with with so many of your smaller pieces. Even a bright coloured or textured top won’t overpower a patterned coat or pair of pants.

I paired my patterned pants with a handful of neutrals and pastels. You can see in my outfit, the patterned pants create a clear focal point. It may be hard to picture, but give it a try: picture if you swapped the top for the pattern and the bottoms for a neutral, the focal point would be a lot less clear.

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TIP #2 Choose patterned fabrics in classic cuts

Patterns tend to get avoided for two fears:
1) fear that the pattern won’t be flattering on our body type
2) fear of looking too young and cutesy

Choosing a classic cut—a tailored trouser (like mine), an A-line dress, a crisp blazer—helps to conquer both of these fears!

Many classic cuts are flattering and sophisticated on all body types. The combination of a fun pattern with a timeless silhouette creates a very wearable piece.

PS: It’s a myth that all patterns make you look larger.


TIP #3 Choose patterned pieces in neutral colours

A stylist trick: a pattern that’s made up of neutral colours can be worn as a neutral. Makes sense, right?

I find neutrals to be white, grey, black, beiges/tans, and navy.

So a navy and white striped top will match all your bottoms from blue jean to marigold.

And a leopard print shoe (one that is more beige-y than orange-y) can be thrown on with any outfit.

If you want the most wear out of your new patterned piece, make it one made up of neutral colours.
(like a navy and white polka dot!)

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Are patterns something you're looking to wear more of this spring?

Already a pattern-lover? These are beginner tips for those of us who built a wardrobe full of solids (ahem, this girl!) If you've already built up your pattern collection, proceed confidently wearing bold coloured prints, and mixing multiple patterns all in one look.


PS: Do you like hanging out on Instagram? Me too. I’d love to connect with you there, where I’m sharing even more bite-sized tips, tricks, and insights every day! Let me know on this photo what you thought of this post!