In the past, I have been a straight-laced Sue — you could say — when it comes to getting dressed in the morning. If something didn't match it was a no-go. God forbid I be wearing black with navy, other contrasting colors, or mixed prints. Maybe matching is fashionable; maybe it isn't. But as of late, I've realized that I don't exactly care what is considered fashionable or not. Diana Vreeland said, “Too much good taste can be very boring. Independent style, on the other hand, can be very inspiring.” Life is simply too short to worry about suffering from a fashion faux pas or following all sorts of arbitrary style rules. I want to wear what I want, whether that be an entirely black outfit, a ballet-inspired getup, or my freaking pajamas. Over the past few months, though, I like to think I've grown and figured out what I really like, sartorially speaking. And one of the main things I've discovered is that I don't give a rat's ass about matching.
While I'm by no means opposed to matching, I just think it's more fun not to. You won't ever hear me utter, "Oh, I can't wear this with that, it doesn't match." The way I see it, different patterns are similar to people with different backgrounds, in that they are better when they come together. So consider my body New York City — I am the melting pot of America. I am draping myself with contrasting prints and patterns because I think when you take a step back, you will actually realize that they compliment each other quite nicely. If you won't take my word for it, tell me Kerry Washington wearing Giambattista Valli pre-fall 2015 isn't fabulously hot in these conflicting prints.
So people, I dare you to wake up and get dressed without giving thought to whether your clothes will match. Trust me, it's completely refreshing and liberating. Here are five ensembles with mismatched prints to make you throw all your previous notions about mixing patterns out the window.
This outfit is completely brought to you by my parent's closet (minus the platforms). Can you tell I have a dependency problem? I've been really into my father's dress shirts as of late and I think this light blue pinstriped one went well with my mom's Banana Republic plaid capris. The pants kind of give me picnic table/Betty Draper vibes so I'm really diggin' them.
Pants: (Similar) Tory Burch Cropped Flat-Front Plaid Pants, $225, Shoes: Sheila Strappy Heeled Sandals, $28, target.com
2. Black And White
This is a look I recently wore to my retail job (where I end up spending most of my paycheck). The shirt is my current favorite item because it's super soft. I think it looks really fun and edgy with these printed, tapered trousers as opposed to just simple black pants. This outfit feels really versatile in that I would also wear it out to dinner with friends, to class, or to sing (horribly) at karaoke.
Shirt: Soft Ribbed Baby T-Shirt, $25, ae.com
Pants: (Similar) Tribal Print Pants $15, forever21.com
Shoes: Sam & Libby Hedi Two Piece Flats, $24, target.com
I felt exceptionally preppy in this outfit. Like I just walked out of boarding school in upstate New York a la the It Girl novels (boy were those a good read). I never thought to throw a sweater on over a denim dress before, but I think it really works here with the contrasting patterns and different shades of blue. Everyone deserves a denim dress as incredible as this one, which is last season from LOFT.
Sweater: (Similar) Halogen Stripe Cashmere Sweater, $50, Dress: (Similar) Soft Denim Dress, $80, Shoes: Cece Suede Ballet Flat, $125, jcrew.com
This is another one of my dad's shirts. It comes from the man who said, “Fashion is not necessarily about labels. It’s not about brands. It’s about something else that comes from within you.” Ralph Lauren said that. (LOL I just label dropped.) The skirt is another find from my mother's closet and it's so comfortable I see myself wearing this all summer long (Kid Rock voice). This look makes me feel fun, festive, and Fourth of July ready. Skirt: (Similar) White Mark Women's Flare Skirt, $23, sears.comShirt: (Similar) Ralph Lauren Long-Sleeved Pinstripe Shirt, $90, macys.com
5. Stripes And Floral
I have a huge secret — my top is actually a dress! Bet you didn't see that one coming, kids. It tucks in really nicely and is super comfortable. I got the floral pants from the streets of Rome this past June, so I'm not sure how you're going to track them down, but I encourage you to do so because they're pretty lovely. I really dig the way the floral and stripes work with one another. So I'll definitely be wearing different variations of this outfit this spring.
Images: Author's Own