Saturday, March 31, 2012

Fashion Culture CLASH-It's Okay To Mix It Up #TLLBLND

London Runway-2012

Have you heard, dressing all in black everyday is out.
Color is the way to represent fashion today. However bold color alone is still not enough to stand out and keep up to date. In a word "clash" is what you strive towards. Textures, colors and patterns which is now termed as "mixing".

Etro S/S 2011

In women's wear Etro was ahead of the curve when I visited Paris last year. The mannequins in the boutique windows were stunning.
LONDON-Glen Plaid/Preppy Vest/Striped Shirt

This is decidedly a very British look that developed from impromptu street wear. At a recent Neiman Marcus celebration of Kiton I dined with Kevin P. who had just returned from London. Kevin is a dapper dresser in his own right with a great passion for men's fashion au courant. He shared with me his delight with the gentlemen's business suit attire in the heart of the city. Men were "mixing" elegant plaid, and colorful stripes and polka dots with great flair. All topped off with the resurrected Bowler hat. The passion in Kevin's voice was so enthusiastic I think he will have a renewed perspective assembling his next suit purchase. Kevin, I cannot wait to see what you are wearing the next time we meet.
'Vivienne Westwood'

Street has met Chic and not just for women.

Mixing is no joke. It is not done by entering your closet with eyes closed and blindly grabbing 1-top, 1-bottom, 1-jacket, 1-pair tights and crazy shoes. There are rules!

Stripes & Polka Dots

Selecting patterned clothing pieces all from the same color group is a way to ease into your new look and experiment. Go ahead, I give you permission to jump back into your black wardrobe just this once. Be sure you are using patterns of black and white, black and red, or black and gray, etc. How about black/white floral tights with a black/white polka dot scarf and two-toned shoes?
Examples of mixing color
If for example, if your main piece such as a jacket is a small pattern like chevron or very soft narrow stripe such as seersucker; or if from a distance the pattern is not discerning, treat this as your solid and add bolder patterns with complimentary colors. This time we will not use the same color family, we are creating a color grouping. Here are a few color themes: Easter: Pastels, Primary: Red/Yellow/Blue, Earth: Green/Brown/Blue, Warm: Purple/Pink/Orange/Red, Cool: Black/Gray/Blue/Metallic. Shine with shine and matte with matte.
Oxxford example of mixing
Keep the size of the patterns within a similar confined symmetry. Take note of how much field or background color is exposed compared to the size of the design floating in it. Note the example from Oxxford of Chicago. If you like to cook, remember before you saute vegetables, dice your food all in the same size and thickness, same rule applies here. Keep the fabric weights also in a similar parameter. An eyelet blouse with a pleated wool skirt no matter how great the color scheme is the beginning of a Halloween costume. Do not be confused, mixing does not mean every article of clothing on your body has to include  a pattern. Pairing a patterned jacket and skirt/slacks may be met with a neutral shirt. Your shoes or bag might be a third complimentary color.

Gentlemen, Neckties and pocket squares are no longer made from the same fabric. Compliment with color using the same rules above.

These pictures are from my personal wardrobe that I love:

WINTER-'Moschino' chevron pattern gold and brown wool fabric pumps with a 'Bebe' wool tobacco colored tweed jacket with chocolate sweater sleeves. The skirt from 'Zelda' is not only animal pattern but long hairs with a nap that swirls in different directions and catches light similar to a cashmere beaver finish. (above)

SUMMER-'Esprit' cotton navy/white pinstripped peak lapel jacket, 'Esprit' sheer navy/white polka dot skirt. "A" pink rayon & nylon collegiate halter, neutral 'BCBG' spectator sandals finished with a watermelon 'Steve Madden' studded bag. (above) Since the bag has such pronounced yellow studs I do not recommend wearing silver jewelry.

As you can see I have applied these rules with both winter and summer examples and yet these outfits do not belong in the circus or Carnevale.
Stunning Chanel F/W 2012
Send me a photo of a garment you struggle with to create an outfit. I would love to suggest a complete look for you.



  1. Wow! Love the stripes and polka dots look. So cute!

  2. Love that this came out in time for Easter. I totally thought about you while I was dying me eggs and mixing my colors and patterns. While, mixing and matching seem completely obvious to people that are in the fashion industry, like myself, it is incredibly foreign to most. It can be really daunting to get in your closet and put unconventional looks together, but once you get the hang of it it becomes second nature. I find many of my mixing inspirations in nature, the interior decor of my favorite restaurants and hotels and even the way food is presented and plated at my favorite restaurants -- I find food a great visual nod to texture. Great post!

  3. Kevin P. got back to me:

    Since I just returned from London I described my first foray to Savile Row. Abercrombie and Fitch to occupy the old Apple headquarters of the Beatles at #3 Savile Row. With regards to clothes buying...I paid homage to Savile Row tradition and visited Anderson & Sheppard, Kilgour, and Thomas Mahon. All-in-all a good time and quite a learning experience. Kevin



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