“How to combine patterns without looking like modern art” | The Vanderbilt Bijl Style Guide, part III: Combining patterns, prints, and textures.


Combining patterns

Combining patterns with its cousins, prints and textures, is as much an art as it is a science. First, let’s go through the terminology: When dealing with patterns and prints, there are three important elements:

Color, scale, and pattern.

  • Color is, quite obviously, the color you are dealing with.
  • The scale is the density of the print or pattern. In other words, how many dots, for instance, are there in the pattern per square centimeter?
  • Pattern refers to the type of pattern you are working with: Are they stripes, or dots, or flowers, etc.

The Rules

Now that we know the terminology, let’s discuss the rules of thumb you want to follow to avoid that fashion faux pas.combining patterns, combining prints, combining textures

  1. First of all, always keep it simple. where patterns and prints are concerned. One is fine, but when you start mixing them up you enter unknown territory (Ye who enter beware!). But, we know, that’s where the fun is too. Bringing us to number two.
  2. When mixing unlike patterns, use a similar scale.
  3. When mixing like patterns, use different scales.
  4. When mixing patterns, the color becomes even more important. The same rules apply here as we explained in the first to parts of the Vanderbilt Bijl style guide: “Combining Colors” and “Color Psychology”.

Follow these rules and you are good as gold, at least where your outfit is concerned. An never underestimate your own judgement here of course (as long as you have a full length mirror).
Here you can download the updated Vanderbilt Bijl Style-Guide with this part included. Next time in part IV of our style guide, we will look at how to use colors and patterns to augment your look.

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