Business Casual Superstar: Taking the Challenge (And the Crazy) Out of Mixing Patterns

by Rachel Yeomans | March 18th, 2010   

By Huma Rashid

I’m back this week with an itch to mix patterns. I know! Crazy! Do I dare? Oh, I dare, you guys, I dare.

The trouble with mixing patterns is that if you mix the wrong ones, you look like a crazy person. Or like you got dressed in the dark. Or…like a crazy person that got dressed in the dark! Oh, no!

The trick is to work with different patterns. Floral on floral looks way too busy. Stripes on stripes looks…dizzying. Polka dots on polka dots look like a three-year-old got into the tubes of paint again.

So I put together a look that illustrates one of the many ways to put together different patterns while avoiding all that nonsense.

ww10 Business Casual Superstar: Taking the Challenge (And the Crazy) Out of Mixing PatternsSELE trousers ………. $15
Halogen Silk Ruffle Blouse ………. $37.90
Striped Mock-Layer Cardigan in Red ………. $18
Erin Patent Pumps ………. $19.80

I picked a pair of black trousers as the base of this outfit along with a pair of black pumps, mainly because I like boot-cut pants with heels way better than with flats. Heels elongate the legs and just really balance out the look of boot-cut pants. I like flats best with straight leg pants. (Also wedges or stacked heels look best with wide-leg pants.)

I found this great top on sale at Nordstrom’s, and it’s pretty and ruffly and has lots of lovely colors. It’s not a tiny, busy print, either. I paired it with a red striped cardigan with thin white stripes instead of strips of equal width, which works much better and keeps the look together.

And there we have it! I’d never let you guys walk out the door looking like a Jackson Pollock painting.

(Unless you make me mad.)