Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ah, the Mixing thing again



I was watching an old Lon Chaney silent movie the other night, Mr. Wu, and he was sporting a Kimono made of mixed patterns.  That film was from 1923.  As I suspected, mixing patterns is nothing new.  I've been trying to understand a formula for success in this tricky trend, and have yet to come up with one.  Sometimes it helps to see it from another time perspective--so I've been looking for it in movies, books--whatever.   "Crazy quilt" patterns employ mixed prints-- as with many artistic quilts  today.  What's the trick? Again, it's a thread that may tie the patterns together; but sometimes it's darn hard to figure out what those threads are--as in the two above.  What would be your guesses as to why they work or don't?

18 comments:

  1. Hi Paula, you look wonderful as always. Here's my theory:

    #1 works because one of the prints is almost a solid, the small checks or polka dots of the skirt. That lets your blouse be the star.

    #2 is great because the colors are so harmonious, they're deeply saturated, and the prints are about the same size.

    They both work because you show confidence with your big smile. : >

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  2. I have been hesitant to explore the art of mixing patterns, but you have inspired me. Thanks Patti, for the theories.

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  3. I definitely thing a large print with a tiny pattern works best. But I have seen it done so many ways I'm not sure if there's a method to the madness. ;-) I bought patterned tights recently and trying to think up an outfit in my head right now. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  4. I think Patti is right on with her theories. Those outfits look great! I don't think I actually own enough patterns to do pattern mixing -- I've avoided patterned bottoms precisely because they are so hard to match! But you and the other pattern mixers out there in blogland are starting to make me want to try!

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  5. My eyes tell me that they do work.
    I just put clothes together on top of the bed and let them find each other...hehehehe.
    Well done.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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  6. I think it has a lot to do with scale of the print and color similarities. And, it's also those "i know it when i see it" kind of things. I know when it looks... off. These do not look off. They look great!

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  7. I really like the blues and purples together. I am the first to admit that my own pattern mixing is beyond timid, so I applaud your efforts. Would never have thought to look for it in films.

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  8. wow! that purple one is great! I love that! To me, it looks so good together -- it looks like you bought it as a set.

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  10. I love that you're obsessing about pattern mixing - it makes me so happy to read about this dilemma that so many people grapple with. It is certainly a mystery and I simply cannot put any of it into words! I'm no help then am I? All I know is that both outfits are incredible and I think the bolder the mixing, like the purple ensemble, the more impressive the result. xoxo

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  11. For me it's more of a feeling thing as well. Usually there is some similarity in colours. I love different patterns like mixing blocks with flowers or something of that kind. I think it usually works better if one print is smaller than the other. Not doing it so often though as I tire so quickly of prints and they usually end up not being worn...

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  12. Hi Paula, lovely as usual. Paula it will sound funny but stop thinking to hard about pattern mixing -start with one item and do not be afraid to mix, it is like abstract painting just feel it! sometimes it will work sometimes not...

    Ariane xxxxx

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  13. I like the purple best, and i think it's probably because the kimono is open and longer? it creates a long, lovely silhouette and i'd maybe go even longer on the kimono! (but i prefer saturated colors when done this way ;)
    also the longer purple skirt is more 'drapey'. i suppose they seem to just blend well?
    A look i really love is a kimono as a jacket with a dress the same length, but don't own one myself.
    Possibly the top over the cream skirt is 'cutting' you in half, while the other look cuts you in 1/3's (supposidly the magic number)
    With all that said, i think you look lovely in both.
    I don't do advise well, i'm always afraid it will hurt feelings ;)

    Ahh, i think i've got it!
    it's definitely the silhouette!
    The purple makes a wider bottom, whle the cream makes a wide at the hip/waist, then gets long and straighter?
    OK, I'll stop now,tee,hee!
    Love ya,
    Reva

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  14. You are braver than me :-). Just thinking about pattern mixing makes me feel dizzy.

    I like that purple jacket a lot. And your sandals in the left photo.

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  15. I think your purple on purple outfit. It looks very haute couture, and that's why I think it works! Mixing prints isnot easy, but I like the way you've done it.

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  16. I'm with the purple too.
    It's got a symmetry thing going. Both patterns are smallish. One's got a dark background, light pattern, the other lighter background, dark pattern.

    The "other" outfit is fine, but it's actually got three patterns because the top has two. In a matchy kind of way the top works because they cheated and used dyed to match materials with the big and little patterns.

    You're a lucky girl because you're so tall and you can get away with the skirt. Being short I'd probably not do a patterned bottom or a skirt (which breaks you up with exposed legs) and would have put it with solid pants.

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  17. LOL I was watching Lon Chaney silent films too! LOVE him and love me some TCM! Hugs! ~Serene

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  18. Patti~You set the pace right away on this one! so true--I'll be referring to these later....
    Judith~it helps to extend the wardrobe and give you a different perspective on your clothes--its fun!
    Johi~Large and small works too--I have a skirt that mixed like this.
    Anne~I like graphic patterns best--
    Sacramento~yes, I pair them on the bed first too! Sometimes when you least expect them to like each other....
    Vanessa~ totally "I know it when I see it..."
    Terri~lets see you mix some patterns terri--I dare you!
    Kari~it has to look easy and unprescripted.
    Desiree~I just love discecting it--its like a challenge design wise to figure out how it works--I'm like a scientist....lol
    Sylvia~try it--its fun!
    Ariane~ Sage advise, my friend! I think you may be right--sort of like the chaos theory....
    Reva~maybe the silhouette does have something to do with it--YOU may be right!
    Sue~you could start out with baby steps...
    Heather--have you tried it yet?
    Rose~You are right in the first outfit they got to cheat and use the same dyes which makes it a fit. You think that tall works on these? but I could make a mistake and it would be a BIG mistake!

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