A guide to textures and patterns
There’s so much more to your wardrobe than color and fit.
The actual texture of a fashion item, whether it’s an accessory or article of clothing, adds extra dimension to your outfit. Plus, the incorporation of patterns provides a spark of creativity and personality to any ensemble. While these offer a lot of benefits for an outfit, many women find it challenging to match different textures and patterns. The wrong combination can make an outfit look disorganized. But if done correctly, it can be absolutely stunning.
Follow this guide to combining textures and patterns, and make a bold, fashion-forward statement with your clothes:
Getting touchy with textures
Clothing texture is created through the construction of threads and fabrics, according to Live Strong. Varying types of fabric, like silk, cotton or wool, all have different qualities. Some just draw more attention than others. Texture can also be created with added elements, like embroidery, crochet lace or embellishments. One way to wear texture is to choose a beaded piece to be the star of the show. This could be a dress or blouse. With something as eye-popping as embellishments, it’s easy to dress the rest of the outfit down. In most cases, you won’t even need to wear any accessories since the beads are shiny enough!
Of course, there are several ways you can layer multiple textures in one outfit. “The one thing you want to do is to stick to one piece that really is the statement,” Rebecca Matthews, a Live Well Network fashion consultant, explained. “Then, have little pieces of other textures. The trick to mixing textures is mixing a little bit of everything, not a lot.” This way, you get to slowly work your way up to wearing more texture, and the ones you’re wearing won’t be competing with each other. For example, a great way to do this is to wear a pair of textured fashion tights, like lace or sweater material, with a plain skirt, blouse and high heeled boots. Your tights will draw attention, without being over the top.
And when it comes to layering different textures, think of simplicity. For example, a light chambray blouse won’t pair well with a chunky winter material like wool. You also wouldn’t pair seersucker with leather, as one material is very light while the other is heavy. According to the Live Well Network, the key to successfully wearing more than one texture at a time is to stick with the same color groups, and matching textures that area seasonal. A pale salmon top could work with bright pink bottoms, regardless of the textures you mix. By having one element that brings all the different textures together, your outfit can stay sharp and chic.
If you’re unsure about mixing your favorite pieces, consider this combination guide from Vogue:
· Chunky knit + feathers.
· Fringe + leather.
· Ribbing + pleats.
· Shearling + leather.
· Wool + fur.
Yes, playing with textures can really take an outfit to the next level. Try one of your sleek pencil skirts for work, paired with a chunky cable knit sweater in the fall. Having a form fitting bottom will keep you from looking bulky, and you’ll still get to enjoy the carefree coziness of your favorite sweater. This look can also translate to the weekend by mixing that sweater with a pair of shorts and tights beneath them.
If you want to begin working bolder textures into your outfits, start by choosing one at a time. For example, a silk skirt, a faux suede jacket, or pleather pants may seem intimidating until you realize that they’re easy to incorporate as long as you keep the rest of your outfit subdued. Wear your silk skirt with a cotton V-neck and an open cardigan, your suede jacket with one of your “safe” sleeveless blouses and those pleather pants you’ve been hesitant to wear with your favorite T-shirt that makes you feel good.
Now on to patterns!
Pick your perfect pattern
Patterns are the graphic details on fabric, and they can be combined to create variety in an outfit. When pairing multiple patterns, try to strike a balance between pattern size. For example, a shirt with large, bold stripes could pair well with pants that have a busy, tiny flower pattern. Equally, a tank top with a bunch of small polka dots would look fabulous on top of a skirt that features larger shapes.
If you want to combine a fun pattern with a textured piece of clothing, again, think simple. While a flannel top might look stylish over lace-textured leggings, a bold embroidered sweater probably wouldn’t work well with a vividly patterned pair of pants.
Things to avoid
Following the rules is just as important as avoiding fashion faux pas. The Chic Fashionista warns against the matching look. Having a really small, tight pattern on top would look too busy with another small pattern on the bottom. Additionally, the pairing of two larger patterns could widen your frame. If you’re worried that your outfit blends too much, break it up with an accessory.
A thick belt around the waist not only creates some division for the eyes, but it can also hug at the tightest part of your body, flattering your figure.
The moral of the story is to be thoughtfully courageous with clothing choices. With a few simple rules, you can expand the versatility of your closet.