PATTERNS AND PRINTS
- Characteristics of PATTERNs & PRINTs
- How to wear STRIPEs
- How to wear CHECKs
- How to wear ANIMAL PRINTs
- How to wear FLORALs
- How to wear POLKA DOTs and others
- How to wear and MIX PATTERNs & PRINTs
The density of the pattern means the amount of coverage versus negative space. It ranges from low to high depending on the negative space between the elements.
The scale of the pattern defines the size of the pattern. The smaller the pattern, the easier it is to wear. Generally, larger patterns are recommended for taller individuals, or they can be placed in the areas where you might need volume.
The contrast is a result of combining dark and light colours or colours that are far away on the colour wheel. The greater the difference between the colours, the high is the value of contrast in that pattern. Low contrast patterns and prints are easier to wear and mix rather than high contrast ones. Strong contrast makes the area appear larger. If you naturally have high contrast in your features, then you can use higher contrast patterns and prints.
The order/layout of the pattern determines if the pattern is orderly arranged/structured or loosely/randomly across the garment.
Saturation defines the intensity or purity of the colours used in that pattern. The scale is between muted/soft and bright/clear.
All-over patterns have no negative space; the entire garment is covered with patterns such as plaids, stripes, dots, and checks.
PATTERN VS PRINT
Often the terms PATTERN and PRINT are used incorrectly but they are not the same. Printed patterns are very different from woven patterns.
A PATTERN is any repeated design, such as a floral, geometric, medallion, etc. It can be woven into a fabric or printed on top.
A PRINT is a pattern, however, it is not woven into the fabric but applied to the top with dye by various methods such as digital printing or screen printing.
Try flipping the fabric over to the backside, if you can no longer see the pattern, it is probably a print. When in doubt, refer to fabrics with a design as a pattern, because ALL prints are patterns, but not all patterns are prints!.
TYPES OF PATTERNS
Types of Stripes
Very thin stripes close to each other, the name refers to the width of the hair.
Thin stripes as wide as drawn by a pencil.
Thin stripes spaced wide apart, the space between stripes are always much wider than the stripes.
Medium-scale stripes which are about 1/8 inches from each other, like the candy stick stripes.
Stripes are laid out in a zigzag layout. They can have either a broadening or a narrowing effect on the figure depending on the way it is positioned.
Diagonally placed stripes that have colours associated with the regiment’s uniforms and flags. It is mostly seen in neckwear.
Bright, multicoloured contrasting vertical stripes.
Similar but wider than the pinstripes, it is a fainter line with some discontinuity at regular intervals, like it was drawn by a tailor's chalk.
Stripes have lines adjacent to them looking almost like shadows.
Horizontally placed Bengal stripes with light and dark colour combinations.
Same width stripes are arranged in alternating light and dark colours. They are smaller than awning stripes but wider than candy stripes.
Very wide vertical stripes of solid colour on a lighter background. It resembles the pattern of awning fabrics.
Vertical lines of varying widths resemble the barcode.
Colourful horizontal stripes of varying width. The name is derived from the dancers of India.
How to Wear Stripes
Stripes have always been in fashion and have a huge effect on your figure adjustments. We give you some recommendations below to use stripes wisely:
Horizontal and vertical stripes have different jobs. Horizontal ones make your body slimmer, whereas vertical ones widen your body. For example, if you have a teardrop-shaped body, avoid striped bottoms, they will highlight your curvy hips. Instead, choose solid dark colour bottoms when you are pairing them with striped tops. If you have a triangle body shape and you would like to enhance your upper half, then you can use horizontal striped tops with different colours.
Wear vertical on the bottom and horizontal on the top. Wear vertical stripes with your bottoms and skirts, especially if you are on the shorter side. If you’re just starting to wear stripes, wear them with a block of colour on your other half. Emphasize only one part of the body. Pair them with a neutral colour if you want to feel safe.
The thicker the stripes the wider the area looks. When it comes to more form-fitting pieces (dresses, skirts, etc.), thinner stripes will typically be more flattering.
The wider the stripe, the bolder the statement. If you’re hesitant about stripes, try pinstripes at first and once you feel comfortable in them.
The background is also important when you choose striped outfits. The dark background will also make you look slimmer opposite to the light background.
Make sure you complement or contrast the colour of your stripes when choosing the other half of your clothing. With a multicoloured top, you can pick out one of the colours and wear a matching pair of leggings.
Don’t be afraid of mixing widths. A wider, horizontal striped top paired with a wide leg thinner striped pair of pants is certainly a chic look. As well, mixing horizontal and vertical on top and bottom is a great option, too.
Stripes can be mixed easily with other prints, such as florals and geometric patterns. The most versatile striped garments are white with black stripes–they’re just the easiest to mix and match with everything else.
There are different ways of styling STRIPEs:
One of the easiest of wearing stripes is simply pairing a striped top with jeans. Such as loose-knit striped sweaters with boyfriend jeans, high waist jeans with a striped shirt with ruffle details, denim shorts with striped t-shirts, denim skirts of any length with a feminine striped blouse, a colourful, striped t-shirt with a pair of flare jeans etc.
Tights and leggings are also perfect options that will complement striped tops such as tunics. Horizontal striped loose cardigans are very popular with skinny pants or leggings. You can even put a skinny belt on them to break the look if you like.
A striped skirt with a plain top can look fabulous, as can a striped top with a plain skirt or jeans.
Wear a striped shirt or tees with simple black or white bottoms. Since the stripes already become visual, you can break the tone down by choosing black or white.
Vertical striped jackets and blazers can be combined with jeans or solid bottoms to create a very trendy look.
Black and white striped dresses go great with red accessories to create a dramatic look.
Feminine, long and flowing multi-colour striped dresses come in all styles and fabrics and are ideal in the summer.
Wearing a pair of black and white striped trousers is both modern and feminine. Pair them with a tight- or loose-fitting jumper with a collared shirt or denim shirts.
Types of Checks
Uneven checks are formed by bands of vibrant colours with varying thicknesses crossing each other.
One or two yarns thick pin-sized stripes crossing each other to form small checks which look like dots from a distance.
Colourful stripes with different widths crisscross each other to form symmetrically placed checks. The pattern of the vertical stripe does not necessarily have to match the pattern of the horizontal stripe.
Similar to Plaid. The pattern of the stripes running vertically is duplicated EXACTLY on the horizontal axis. Where the different colours overlap, new colours are created.
Formed by a combination of simple checks, usually dog’s tooth and windowpane checks.
Regular bright coloured checks are made by overlapping stripes of the colour of the same width combined with white thread.
Glen/Prince of wales
A combination of large and small checks creates a pattern of irregular checks.
Evenly shaped checks formed by thin bands of a single colour on white background look just like a graph paper.
Similar to gingham checks, small, even-sized checks of two colours which are usually black and white.
Regularly spaced, small checks made on white background by thin, evenly coloured bands.
Alternating bands in two or more colours intersect on a light background creating checks.
Thin, light-coloured bands form checks on a contrasting solid-coloured background which resemble window panes.
Repeating pattern of contracting diamonds. There is a tiny dot where the diamonds meet.
Small even-sized checks on a solid colour sized between the Pin check and the Gingham check.
Diagonally arranged diamond or lozenges shapes consist of two to three different colours. Mostly used on knitted fabrics.
Big squares are formed by the intersection of two different coloured yarns, usually red and black.
Equal sized checks of two different colours as you see on the checkerboard game-board.
Dog’s tooth/ Hound’s tooth
Formed by broken or uneven checks or abstract four-pointed shapes that resemble a dog’s tooth.
How to Wear Checks
There are huge variations of checks available with various widths, colours and spacings. It’s a look that you can wear from work through to the weekend and beyond. There are some easy and most effective examples of how to wear checks:
With strong checks, keep the rest of your attire muted and clean while with less obvious checks in grey and light brown cloths, a bold pair can make a big statement.
When pairing checks, stick to the same colour family for each piece for a statement that isn’t too loud.
Adding a pop-up colour to your check combination makes the pattern more visible and injects some colour to an otherwise neutral ensemble.
The simplest and most effective way to wear a check is to go bold with a statement coat or piece of outerwear. Beautifully tailored Prince of Wales check, single or double-breasted coat is flattering, warm and completely on-trend. Style it out with ankle boots and jeans for a relaxed look or pencil skirts, shirts and heels for a formal look.
A checked sport coat is a key item to having a well-stocked closet. They pair beautifully with solid trousers, cotton chinos, or denim.
Pair your check trousers with a secondary colour from the check and use that with block-colour knitwear or a shirt on your upper half for a harmonious look. If trousers aren’t your thing, opt for checked midi skirts. It’ll give the simplest of jumpers a ladylike spin, you can combine them with a pair of ankle boots.
A checked suit makes for an incredibly bold look. You can complete them with solid colour overcoats or accessories with the same tonal of your check pattern.
Checked shirts have been around for generations and they are one of the easiest ways to put some pattern into your life. Wear them with faded jeans and/or a T-shirt for a retro-inspired look.
A check blazer, which can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. If there are other colours in the blazer, pick one of those out for your trouser colour. Style a checked blazer with a pair of flare-legged or boyfriend jeans for a timeless casual look.
When it comes to all an all-over print, like wearing a check shift dress, pair them with a little denim jacket and stylish black sock boots or cowboy boots.
TYPES OF PRINTS
Types of Animal Prints
Horse shoe shapes with thick-edged circles on a light background.
Irregular, long, wavy black stripes with different thicknesses on white background.
Rectangular uneven shapes on a light background.
Thick solid black spots on a lighter background.
Consist of colourful peacock feathers.
Irregular black rectangles on white background.
Long, wavy, irregular stripes on a lighter background.
A pattern that resembles the skin of the snake. Commonly used on accessories.
Rosette spots thick-edged circles with black dots in the middle on a light background.
Irregular small squares aligned in a graph mode.
Irregular roundish shapes on a tan background.
Dark brown spots on yellow background. Commonly used for accessories, especially sunglasses.
How to Wear Animal Prints
As far as prints go, animal prints are pretty sexy and they were never out of fashion. Managing to stay on the right side of animal print style is a mark of true sophistication.
You have an option to keep it casual or dressy. It mostly depends on how to pair them. There are some ways to add animal printed outfits to your wardrobe:
Begin with small portions, such as accessories, wear it in the form of a narrow belt to subtly draw attention to your waist, or on sunglasses or a scarf to draw the eye up toward your face or a classy handbag. They can even elevate your look from casual to classy especially when you use them with your monochrome outfits.
It’s important to combine these bold patterns carefully with other items to achieve a sophisticated look. Choose only one or two animal print garments and accessories per look to keep the balance.
Leopard-printed flats are great for dressing up basics like black pants and white collared shirts. You can use animal printed high heels with your dressy outfits which would create a dramatic sexy appearance.
Recognize your body’s proportions and figure out what you like to play up best, avoid wearing animal prints on any areas that you would prefer not to draw attention to. If you’re on the shorter side, lean towards garments with smaller graphics like leopard print, and avoid larger patterns such as giraffe print.
Always choose one animal printed clothing and match it with a solid bottom or top. Garments in neutral tones that appear in the pattern, such as black, white or beige are very versatile and easy to combine.
Pairing animal prints with jeans always work. Pair a leopard-print blouse with denim shorts or pants for a more casual look.
If you like to wear all-over printed dresses, layer on a belt or a jacket to break up all that print and keep the look grounded with simple accessories and flats in neutral colours.
You can add a bright pop-up colour or neon hues to your combination, but make sure not to wear more than three different colours in the same outfit. Avoid overloading on the accessories; one key scarf, bag, necklace or pair of shoes will do.
Types of Floral Prints
Emerged in the 19th century, has rhythmic curves and harmonic repetitions.
The curved teardrop shape originated from Kashmir and is named after a town in Scotland.
Combination of lines, shapes and colours that represents a floral scene.
The symmetrical shape created by overlapping four circles resembles a cloverleaf.
Plants, leaves and flowers are drawn realistically based on botanical illustrations.
Flowers are drawn with muted tones and saturated colours in geometric style.
Small scale, dense, all-over flower shapes in bright colours, originated from India.
Toule de Jouy
The scenic, pastoral, or floral theme of the French countryside, is mostly one colour prints on white background.
An ornamental design with one or two colours with a repetitive pattern of abstract flowers.
Decorative, detailed, mostly oil painted, loosely arranged flowers in feminine colours.
High-density pattern with very small-scaled flowers.
Mostly seen on men's attire or carved in leather or metal.
Fleur de Lis
Stylish lily flower in an abstract and repetitive way originated from France.
Ring-shaped intertwined garlands of flowers or leaves.
Similar to toile, this features Asian-inspired motifs of people and environment.
17th-century British design with branches ornamented in colour with fruits, flowers, and/or birds, commonly used for upholstery or window treatments.
Consist of stylized three petal flowers or leaves with three leaflets.
A traditional Middle Eastern pattern, large-scale design with sun and moon disk (medallion), floral, and vine motifs, popular for bedding and window treatments.
The elaborate ornamental design of intertwined floral or geometric motifs originated from Islamic art.
Emerging in the 17th century, stylish floral design in high contrast arrangement.
Resemble leaves from the Mediterranean species. Most common plant forms to make foliage ornament and decoration.
All over, stylish, small flower design named by a retail store in London called Liberty & Co.
Based on a stylized honeysuckle plant of fan-shaped palm leaf design originated from Ancient Greece.
Originated from Central Asia, consists of different size and colour motifs that resemble flowers.
How to Wear Floral Prints
You can find a floral pattern in just about every article of clothing. They are romantic and feminine and whether you love them or hate them depends on your fashion personality. Floral is such a versatile pattern, there are many ways to make it work for your style, they can make you feel sweet and feminine, but you can also style them to be edgy and tough.
We’re used to seeing florals in the spring and summer, but they became popular in Autumn in Winter as well. Here are some tips on how to look modern in floral prints:
Small, soft, pastel wildflowers are suitable for summer, but larger scale, bright, less dense, exotic blooms are for more cold weather. Also, look out for more substantial, more luxurious fabrics that look gorgeous in a floral print for fall or winter clothing.
A tiny floral pattern can be a great way to wear floral in a more subtle way, they are softer and more delicate. On the other hand, wearing a bold, large floral print makes a statement and always looks sophisticated. A high contrast mix and oversized blooms create a more dramatic, edgy look.
Think about your body figure as always when you consider any printed outfit because they are the focal point of your combination. So, if you have a fuller bust and a regular bottom, avoid wearing a busy floral top, you can wear floral jeans instead. On the other hand, if you are tiny up top and fuller on the bottom, wear a flowery fall top and combine it with a dark solid colour bottom.
Consider bringing floral into your outfit by the way of accessories. This is an easy way to add some floral patterns to your day without a full commitment. It quickly adds a fun, feminine, and playful touch to any outfit.
Choose accessories that complement one of the other colours in the print to balance the look. Avoid adding more colours and textures to your overall look.
A simple way to make sure your floral isn’t too much and overpower you is to break it up with a jacket, vest, or cardigan. It also gives the look structure and shape.
There are many floral dresses in all kinds of silhouettes from casual to formal, some of them also create a boho vibe. Avoid going big on accessories with floral dresses. Complete with a pair of sandals and denim jackets. Or you can pair them with knee-high boots, a cozy oversized cardigan and the classic trench coat in colder weather.
If you are feeling romantic, try incorporating floral print into the bottom half of your outfits such as printed flares or mini/maxi skirts for a 1970s feel, you can add a sun hat to complete the look. Maxi floral skirts are all seasonal popular items, throw on a bold, oversized knit jumper with a pleated floral skirt for colder seasons.
How to wear Paisley?
Paisley pattern has been captivated by designers across the globe since the 70s. Since paisley is such a busy print, those women who are on the conservative side can pair any type of paisley print with a solid neutral colour piece and only with complementing accessories to avoid looking flashy.
Paisley tea dresses are less bohemian, and they add some flair to your look. You have the option to achieve the modern boho look by going for a paisley print maxi dress. You can pair them with wedge heels or clogs and statement earrings.
Another great way to wear paisley is to pair it with a solid colour, preferably neutral to channel some modern bohemian vibe. For best results, you can replicate one of the colours found in your paisley print.
A pair of paisley flared, or wide-leg pants create a bold bohemian statement, on the contrary, a modern statement can be achieved by going for a pair of paisley leggings in non-earthy shades and pairing it with a bright coloured top and stilettos.
Other Patterns & Prints
Consists of equally spaced dots all over the fabric surface in a consistent design.
Very small dots approximately the size of a pin head.
An arc that formed at the connection of two mirror-image, elongated S shapes that resemble an onion as well, often used in bedding and rugs.
Ikat refers to a dyeing and weaving method rather than the pattern itself. This method gives ikat fabrics their signature blurred edges.
An interlocking rectangular pattern constructed from one continuous line, based on ancient Greek history.
Features bold desert-like colours and repeating geometric shapes or stripes, originating from Southwest America.
A bold, colourful zigzag pattern involves four threads in four different colours.
The modern pattern consists of lines, shapes and colours that represent ideas more than any physical object.
Natural motifs with vibrant patterns and vivid colours represent African tribal culture.
The pattern resembles the surface of a woven basket.
The pattern looks like a watercolour painting technique with those light transparent brush strokes and a gradation effect.
Formed by a special fabric weave, with 4 small diamond shapes with a dot or space in the center prints looking like the eye of a bird.
Diamonds are filled with thin lines radiating from the opposing ends and rotated by 45 and 90 degrees.
Supporting structure of interwoven pieces of wood or metal, adorned with climbing vines and flowers.
Knots formed by interfaced ribbons lead seamlessly into one another.
Geometric mosaic tile-work created from sets of characteristic shapes.
A specially designed pattern that blends in with the surrounding, mostly used by military personnel.
Consists of concentric circles or oval shapes.
Repetitive patterns with geometric shapes.
Use of right brilliant colours reminiscent of the hippie movement of the 1960s.
Historical decorative patterns.
Consist of lots of spiral shapes and curves that resemble rolled scroll of paper.
Repeating pattern with motifs resembling clam shells.
Interconnected in a crisscross pattern with square or diamond shapes or holes in the junctions.
How to Wear Polka Dots
The great advantage of polka dots is that you can wear them anywhere, from the most casual days to the formal occasions. This retro-inspired print is incredibly versatile that you could wear a polka dot tee with your jeans and sneakers, a polka dot white silk blouse with a pair of black pants for work, or a flowy polka dot dress for a summer wedding. You can dress them up with heels or down with sneakers.
The easiest way to combine polka dot outfits with solid colour bottoms or tops. If you wear black-white polka dot tops, you can pair them with black or white jeans, pants or skirts or vice versa. Try wearing a black-and-white polka dot shirt over cropped denim jeans and complete your look with high heels for a night out. You can create a casual look with a polka dot off-shoulder top, jeans, sandals, and sunglasses for day visits. To balance your polka dots, try something masculine on bottoms like worn boyfriend jeans in a looser fit with a cool-girl cuff and pumps.
Polka lots look great put together in red, black, and white outfit combinations. You can add red accessories, layers, coats and or shoes to your black and white polka dot outfits. You can always add bright, saturated colours to pop up your black and white polka dot outfit for a more cheerful but also sophisticated look.
A polka dot midi or maxi dress requires little-to-no styling, you simply can't go wrong with black and white polka dots. A wrap-style dress looks good on everybody, especially when it's belted a bit high on the natural waist. You can embrace a more feminine look with pink or red polka dots ruffled dresses. Polka dot jumpsuits or rompers are also great for daytime street style, especially in a classic black and white pattern.
A black and white polka dot pencil or full skirt looks super chic for a day at the office when paired with a crisp white blouse and leather accessories. Keep the scale of the polka dots small when you’re wearing a print to work.
You can combine polka dots with different size polka dots or stripes, plaid, or florals. Mixing patterns to create your own, unique fashion statement is very popular these days. Remember to remain in the same colour tones.
HOW TO WEAR PATTERNS&PRINTS
There are different ways to use patterns and prints in your combinations. If you are not a big fan of using them, you can add some accessories with patterns to start with, or you can choose one low-density, small-scale classic pattern for your top. You can always combine printed garments with plain, neutral colour fabrics. If you'd like to wear more than one printed item in your combination, then there are some basic rules to mix and match different patterns and prints.
Pattern mixing seems like that scary realm that only fashion bloggers, celebrities, and models can enter. But wearing only solid colours is easy, the hard but the fun part is throwing more colours into your outfit by using and mixing patterns. To give you a better idea of where to start, check out these patterns mixing combinations guidelines:
Match the colours first
If the colours look good together, more often the prints will look good together too.
You can choose two different prints that share at least one dominant colour.
Pair two neutral colour prints. That combination style is a good alternative if you prefer a calmer look.
If you want to use the same pattern, you can invert the colours.
Bright and Neutral
Pair bright prints with neutral colour prints.
Pair the same print with a different colour. For bold combinations, choose the ones that contrast each other.
Dominant and Accent
Choose one print to dominate and one as an accent.
Mix same prints; different scales
Use two different density types of the same pattern.
Use the same pattern with different scales, like large on the top and small on the bottom.
Simpler graphic prints are easier to mix
The easy way to pair plaids is to combine opposites. A large, simple plaid looks perfect when paired with a smaller, busier, more colourful plaid. Or you can pair it with other patterns as you like.
Stripes, especially black and white stripes, go with everything. They're so simple, they're pretty much the neutral of prints.
Graphic prints go great with each other and with more complex or organic prints like floral or animal prints.
Mixing a polka dot print with another contrasting one with larger or smaller dots is very popular in pattern mixing. Try a larger polka dot on top and pair it with a small polka dot print skirt on the bottom.
Distribute them nicely
* Try distributing your prints more evenly by doing one on the top and one on the bottom, that way your outfit would be less busy
* Spread your prints out across your outfit
* Break up the look with solids. If print-on-print-on-print is too much for you, you can layer in some solid-coloured clothes and accessories like belts to calm things down and ground your look