Tuesday, November 1, 2016

How to Mix-Match not Mismatch

Not this...

Working at The Lovely Boutique allows me to eavesdrop on women's minds. In the brief course of a transaction I can often get a handle on what makes us tick. And believe me, we all have different tick-tocks.

The other day a customer asked if she could wear brown boots with the print dress she had just bought. I answered of course she could. The boots didn't have to match; they would blend. "Matching is easy for me", she said. "I have trouble with blending."

There is a difference. Matching means those two navies match. That red handbag matches those red shoes. It's really difficult to match navy— or black or any color. And matching accessories has been a no-no for so long, it might actually become Fashion again. For now, matchy-match is OUT.

So how does one blend??? In an era of very few fashion rules, there are some guidelines— helpful I hope.

Big + small(er) sideways

> Pattern
Pair big with small. Big with big equals sofa upholstery. Small with small is too ditsy to make the point. Certain rules still apply: Big on top if you are smaller there. Small on top if you are bigger there.


> Geometric vs. floral
Geometrics pair well with other geometrics. Likewise florals with florals. Exception: when you mimic coloration you can mix florals and geometrics. Let's call that the graduate degree. Animal prints work with everything.

Always exceptions...

> Color versus shade
Colors don't always have to "go together" in the traditional sense. The same grey value or shades of colors can work together. Squint your eyes; if the edges of the colors seem to disappear they are probably similar shades.

> Color chameleons
Sometimes colors take on more of a hue when they are next to another color. Taupes and greys can appear more lavender or more yellow, depending... Likewise, the light (incandescent vs fluorescent vs daylight) can make a difference. Argghhh!

Neutral rest stop

> Pop with a neutral
Just as three pieces make an outfit, the third piece in mixing patterns can be a neutral— a rest for the eye. This is the best way to get into mixing patterns if you are taking baby steps.

> Trust your instincts
Theories aside, if it doesn't work for you, it doesn't work. Period.

Likewise, if it does it does.


  1. Some good advice here! "It doesn't have to match; it has to go." is one of my "rules". I also recommend to people that they look to nature when unsure if a colour will go with another colour. Trees (brown/greens/reds), skies (blue, white, grey) and flowers (everything!) - if colours work in nature, they will work in an outfit.

    1. Thank you. And nature pulls off some crazy combos, too!

  2. GREAT post. I'm printing this one. A keeper. I'm ready to experiment and to stop wearing all solids, all the time. Thanks.

    1. A kick that you like my post! Let me know how you do. I guarantee once you've mastered the style, wearing all solids will be "in" again.