The outfits I've been finding the most enviable lately are those that incorporate different patterns to create a one-of-a-kind perspective that reflects the wearer's personality and/or mood. With each clash comes a unique feeling, which is a rush I will forever seek when it comes to fashion. After all, what is fashion other than a tool to outwardly express your inner self in all its emotional, intuitive, and sometimes contradictory glory? After a couple of months sitting idly, I decided to dig deeper and figure out exactly how to reliably pull off this trend.
I started by throwing all my patterned clothing on my bed to see what I had to work with, and the pieces with similar energy almost immediately became apparent. In my attempt to fashion emotion from clothes, I came up with the below five outfits that will set the stage for all the pattern combinations your heart desires.
Whether it's color strategy, tried-and-tested silhouettes, or patterns that seem to go with everything, keep scrolling to get all my tips for creating your own unique pattern-clashing looks, because you *are* the moment.
Scarf Top + Shorts
Photo:@banniakabread; STYLING: Tough Headwear Large Bandana ($5); Reclaimed Vintage Bandana Print Short ($32)
Nothing says summer to me more than this outfit combo. It's definitely a key element of my summer uniform. I mean, who doesn't love a scarf top? I think part of the fun of this outfit is that almost all patterns can work together in this silhouette. The trick here is to balance a loud element with one that is more chill, which also happens to be a life lesson.
Second-Skin Top + Slip Dress
Photo:@banniakabread; STYLING: ASOS Design Mesh Top; Zara Cheetah Slip Dress; Urban Outfitters Grommet Belt ($29)
I always end up wearing slip dresses with something underneath, partially due to not loving strapless bras and partially due to feeling a little exposed. Regardless, I continue to lean into these dresses for their easy, timeless appeal. For these reasons, I am a pro at the second-skin-top-and-slip-dress combination in particular. When it comes to finding synergetic second-skin tops, in my research, I've found that geometric patterns work best.
Mock-Neck Top + Printed Denim
Photo:@banniakabread; STYLING: vintage top; Urban Outfitters Tie Dye Jeans ($79); Vans Checkerboard Slip-On ($55)
Okay, this is where we start to get more experimental. We're now in the pattern-clashing test kitchen, so to speak. I chose to combine classic baggy pants and a mock-neck top as the entrée simply because these are some of my favorite shapes at the moment, but we could have easily played this game with skirts, shorts, long sleeves, halter tops, etc.
A major hack when pattern clashing is to wear color-block patterns, which earns you more freedom when pairing the patterns themselves. Here, I paired an orangey-red top with green pants—a combination no one may have seen coming. This is definitely a trial-and-error approach that is sure to uncover new outfits you may not have otherwise thought of.
Button-Down Shirt + Biker Shorts
Photo:@banniakabread; STYLING: Nike Sports Bra ($23); Meilidress Biker Shorts ($15); ASOS Design Gingham Shopping Bag ($13)
In New York, the work-to-drinks outfit reigns supreme. In L.A., it's all about the exercise-to-brunch outfit. To keep things interesting, I always look for patterned biker shorts that can potentially (maybe?) be taken for non-workout attire. Throw on a clashing button-down shirt and some jewelry, and you can't tell me this ain't a full look.
Shirred Top + Printed Pant
When all else fails, stick to the same color palette when pairing patterns in your closet. This strategy works just like it would if you were going for a monochromatic look, just with more dimension and spice. Shirred tops are a new favorite of mine for their ability to add additional texture to your outfit and for their figure-hugging capabilities. Choose a color and go crazy. Trust me. It will all come together in the end.