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?


  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. : >

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

  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!

  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!

  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.

  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!

  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.

  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

  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...

  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

  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,

  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.

  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.

  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.

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

  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
    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!