I have always avoided patterns beyond something simple or little. I have always gravitated towards solids. Solids were comfortable, solids were safe, solids don't have to be, but I made them invisible. Then I decided to be more...daring with my wardrobe. I started incorporating patterns. At first it was what I call Monet skirts. A swipe, a dot of color that came to represent pretty flowers. Then it was a whole dress in a pattern.
Then as more patterns came into style, like the African prints that are everywhere, I had to try it. I waited to find one that I loved, that suited me. Forever 21 came to the rescue. They always have a ridiculous amount of patterned material. I found a pattern that was reminiscent of the Pueblo Indians of the west. I loved it. I bought it and wore it layered with solids, a cardigan when it was cool, a peach tank layered over it and belted with a skinny brown belt. It is all about balance for me when dressing.
My next attempt with patterns will be to wear pattern on pattern. I can see my husband's eyebrows already rising in question at the idea. I had always avoided this, really only seeing it in magazines where the pictures are taken from the runway and anything from the runway are always "hyperreal." But it is doable. I will probably take one of my many Monet patterned skirts and pair it with the striped tank I just bought. Or layer the tank over one of my summer dresses. The key is to find a common color that each pattern has. It pulls the look together and makes it look like you did not get dressed in the dark. There really aren't any hard and fast rules concerning patterns (some would argue this, I say screw you who still uphold the no wearing white after labor day. What is that anyway?).
Something a little more low-key than tribal prints is the nautical stripe, which is just striped blue and white. Honestly, I have not tried this look yet. In fact, I ran into a rack of Calvin Klein, which exclusively boasted just that look, I wanted to turn and run in the other direction. It always looked a little grandma-ish to me, not my grandma, but someone's grandma. It's all about how it's accessorized, though. Find a boat neck, which I always thought looked sexy (doesn't necessarily sound sexy), but delightfully shows off the top of the shoulders and the delicate collarbone, which always looks good on a girl. Use a scarf or bag in red or green to add a pop of color. For a bolder look find a bottom in those colors, like a red skirt or shorts.
Be careful with stripes for they can add width. Always test drive them before buying. Try it on to make sure that it isn't too tight. A top should skim curves not cling uncomfortably, that way stripes can add or embellish that which you don't want. If the top is a little loose add a belt to cinch in the waist. A belt can break up the pattern a bit and give you an hour glass figure and who doesn't want that?
Enjoy the patterns on those summery days when the beach beckons, my U.P. lovelies...