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A guide to textures and patterns

Woman in blue tiered skirt, blue sandals and white top

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 individual pieces 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.

Lace up Jean

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. Texture can also be created with added elements, like embroidery, crochet lace or embellishments. 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.”

In general, when it comes to layering textures, think of simplicity. Pick one statement piece or one color family. For example, 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.

chain link jacket

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. On the other hand, 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.

Woman wearing a maroon polka dot dress

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 courageous with clothing choices. With a few simple rules, you can expand the versatility of your closet.

Comments (1)


Ok I have a ivory lace maxi skirt I want to wear but I have a tummy and I’m only 5 foot. What top to wear with this akirt? It’s very hot season too and want to stay cool outside for wedding. Help, any ideas?

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Published on Jul 18 2018

Last Updated on Oct 04 2018

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