For the imperfect Fashion lover.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Mixing patterns, over 40 | Tartan trousers & Statement shoulders.

Mixing patterns without looking like you got dressed in the dark.

I was reading a blog post recently which had compiled a list of  "Worst fashion fails".
Many of them I agreed with; Leggings worn as trousers and PJ's/Onsies in public, for example.
But, I could not agree with one:

Mixing patterns.

I love mixing patterns.
I don't do it "for a dare" or to "try and look cool", as suggested in the article, it just comes naturally to me....and, I'm not going to stop anytime soon.

I picked up this vintage-inspired blouse in a charity shop and it has a definite 80's vibe. (See another 80's inspired look)
As soon as I saw it I knew just the thing to wear with it.
It would be the perfect partner for my tartan trousers!

I know that this kind of mix is not for everyone.
But if you want to give this a try, then pick items that have a matching colour palette and just go for it!

If in doubt, make one of your patterns a stripe or a spot. These can be easier to pull off for a beginner, as long as the two items have a similar base colour.

If you are nervous remember this:

 "If you believe it works, then it magically does!"

(Wise words from my 10 year old daughter)

Fake being confident until you make it real.

Nobody will know the difference anyway!

This blouse has turned out to be a bit of a trouble-maker, almost starting a fight in my house.
It is the subject of a heated debate.
Comments range from:
"Wow! that is cool!!"
"OMG, what is THAT?!?!"

It is certainly what I would call a statement piece, with numerous folds and pleats on the shoulders and cuffs.
{It actually had enormous shoulder pads when I bought it, great big upwardly pointing ones, which were cool (on someone else) but not my thing, so I snipped them out}.

I love a good debate, so it was interesting to hear different (and extreme) opinions on this blouse.
Even those who don't usually have an opinion about anything I wear, seemed to find a voice.
It seems to be a real love-it or hate-it item, no middle ground at all!

This really made me smile.
I wondered what it was about an item of clothing, especially this one, that evoked such an emotional response?
Despite the controversy,  I remembered the most important 'Rule' when getting dressed:

Please yourself.

So, because I like it, I was wearing it.

{Big "whoops" from the YES camp, and "Booo's" from the NO's}

It was all hands on deck to help me button up these fiddly (and teeny) buttons, especially on the cuffs.
Even the 'NO' camp helped with the buttoning.

These tartan trousers were the obvious choice for me.
They are really versatile, adding a punch of life to different looks (see how they liven up black HERE). They have only two colours in them, so they are perfect for complimenting another pattern.

Patterns are great if there are a few body imperfections (or lumpy and bumpy bits) you would like to cover up. Especially larger patterns, like these, they keep the eye moving and that is a good thing in my book!

I needed a layer of heat (and a grounding colour) so I wore one of my roll neck tops underneath.
I am not sure how to describe this colour, Nude? Beige? Taupe?
It is a good neutral anyway.

Now was not the time for a statement shoe, so I chose nude pumps with a slightly retro feel and a comfortable heel. 
I am not usually a fan of the nude pump.
I know many people recommend them because they "go with everything" and 'lengthen the leg" but I just find them a bit boring....and dare I say it...a bit old fashioned.
{I feel another 'heated debate' brewing}

Today though, I think they complemented things nicely.
Maybe I could change my opinion of the nude pump? Hmmmm......

They don't deserve a close-up photograph of their own though, sorry! 
I might nod off...zzzzzzzzz

I grabbed my trusty, old, mini tote and a couple of pompoms.
I know you are probably sick of the sight of these furry things, but I love them!

I forgot to get a photograph of my camel coat that I wore with this outfit (it is lying on the chair out of shot). You can see it Here, with a 70's spin, including the story of how I found it.

Attack of the Scottish Midge!

I thought I would leave you with these shots of me spotting a cloud of midges approaching, then trying (but failing) to swat them away. They are so small and light, that all that wafting is totally useless.

Oh no here they come....

...get lost you little monsters!

They are clever little beasties, and the pesky little critters ended up biting my ankles....grrrrr.
Maybe they disapproved of my nude pumps? Hahaha.

Would you be on team No? Or team Yes?
Do you like to mix your patterns? Or do you fear the "Oh, she must have got dressed in the dark"- look?

Please let me know in the comments....I'd love to hear your opinion.

Blouse: Charity shop. (This one would be easier to fiddly buttons)
Trousers: ASOS (these are fab!)
Bag: Hidesign (I am coveting this teeny one!...too cute!)
Polo neck: La redoute (I like this one)
Shoes: Vintage (these are cute and patent too!)


  1. I just started experimenting with some pattern mixing, and I love it and look forward to experimenting more. It's funny because I used to really hate it...

    I really love your pattern mixing in this outfit!

    1. I am so glad to hear that Andrea! Me too!!
      I used to avoid patterns and go for very Bright block colours (lime green suede trousers, for example....gosh, I wish I still had those!). Maybe it is one of the perks of getting older? Have fun experimenting. You can't really go wrong if you believe in yourself.

  2. I'm on team yes because I've got green & red check wool trousers
    Yes from me in mixing colours and different patterns.
    At 60 I'm no shrinking wall flower, I'm proper in your face with my outfits and they are all from charity shops and vintage fairs/markets.
    I'm enjoying following along and seeing what you come up with. Your outfit is a definite hit in this house.
    My hubby Philip loves to dress nicely as well and is known as Mr Dapper chap in our vintage circles
    Lynn :-)

    1. Thank you Lynn!
      One more vote for team Yes (team no was winning).
      Green and red checked trousers sound fab..especially the 'wool' part (these are unfortunately NOT...sigh). I need to spend more time looking for good quality vintage items, they are just a different class from the modern mass-produced clothing. Unless people have huge budgets (I certainly do not have that!) it is hard to find real quality. Mr Dapper Chapper sounds very cool! It takes a very confident gent to pull off the retro look, but when they do it is a beautiful thing!

  3. I think this outfit shows what a wonderfully adventurous personality you have!! It looks gorgeous (and I'm definitely on the side of the nude pump with it---it just leaves all the attention on the shirt & pants). Those buttons would drive me crazy though, so after it was buttoned, I'd slip it off over my head and never do them again!!! I have a mixing patterns series in the works, but I probably won't actually put the outfits together & post it until the spring....who knows why?? jodie

    1. Thank you Jodie.
      Your comment just proves that clothes really do project an important image. We do show out personalities through our clothes and it is important. I am glad you approved of the nude pumps (the midges didn't though) they did tone things down a little.
      As for the buttons, the cuffs have about 15 buttons EACH and you can't slip your hands out without undoing them!! I had very sore finger-tips by the end of the unbuttoning that night (no helpers were around...they were asleep). I was tempted to snip my way out at one point! Hahaha
      I will look forward to your pattern mixing...Can't wait to see what you come up with for your super-cool Mum! XXX

  4. I say yes! I'm all about crazy wild combinations that other people think are too much. The nude pumps and turtleneck really make it work. Shame you didn't get a shot with the overcoat. I bet it looked divine.


    1. Thank you so much Suzanne!
      I love the idea of "crazy wild" combinations....There are some amazing bloggers out there who combine items that I don't think I could ever pull off. I thought this one was quite tame by comparison, but it is all relative, isn't it? One person's "OTT" is another's "A bit plain"...haha. XXX

  5. Count me as team Yes, for this one Samantha. Loving today's combo and think it sums up your personal style very well. It's cool and edgy and works just because you say it does. Well done!
    And the Scottish midgie, renowned for turning up whenevery you don't want it. We were attacked during the wedding up there in June - certainly made it even more memorable!
    Anna xxx

    1. Thank you very much, Anna.
      I thought you might approve. ;o)
      You have that philosophy nailed too.
      I am sorry to hear that you were attacked by the dreaded Midge, especially when trying to look elegant and cool at a wedding!
      I come out in HUGE weals that take weeks (and I am not exaggerating) to completely clear up. They are fierce little beasties.

  6. Even though mixing patterns is a little intimidating to me, I have done it a time or two, with great success - I thought so anyway. You have done a wonderful job with your pattern mixing here. Love these pants!
    P.S. I recently came across your blog and read through several posts earlier in the week. I found you again today from the Top of the World link up. I'm happy to be a new reader; you've got great style! :-)
    Erika @

    1. Thank you very much, Erika!
      I am glad you have given pattern mixing a go. Once you start, it is a little bit addictive... and gets much easier to be bolder and more adventurous. I am so glad you popped over from Nicole's link up.

  7. Leggings are not trousers. YES. I saw a pair of black tights going down the street in Glasgow yesterday, worn as trousers. No, just, no. That blouse is a YES, regardless of what the no camp says.

    1. Ha ha ha....So true, Kristin!
      Sometimes leggings are so thin and tight that the wearer may as well not bother wearing them at all!
      Thank you for your vote of confidence for my blouse...most appreciated.

  8. This is absolutely for real fabulous! I love how bold the patterns and the colors are and they work really well together! Definitely daring, but I vote an absolute, positive yes!


    1. Awww...thank you Shelbee! For-Real Fabulous....I love it! XXX

  9. Thanks for linking up to Top of the World Style. You are the Queen of mixing prints and pattern! LOL. I love this outfit!

  10. Absolute perfection, dear Samantha.
    I didn´t know you had midgets in Autumn too, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  11. I say Yes to your fabulous mixed patterns, love your tartan & floral combo!. And say No to midgets, ugh!
    I'm not a nude color girl myself, but I think those shoes look nice with this outfit!. You're gorgeous and elegant, once more!

    1. Monica... very true! I can't imagine you in buff or muted tones...
      Thank you for your lovely comment.

  12. I love that you are so bold with your pattern mixing! Your outfits are always so fun!
    Jeans and a Teacup

    1. Thank you Jessica. I always try to have fun with my clothes. I am glad you think it is working.

  13. I love a fashion risk and this combo totally works!

    Thanks for being a part of Fun Fashion Friday!

    Dawn Lucy

  14. Great job mixing prints! I love those plaid pants!

    Thanks so much for linking up with Friday Favorites! Hope you have an amazing week ahead of you!

    The Closet by Christie

  15. YeS! I'm in the YeS camp! I love that blouse. You are AdorAble! Like seriously!! I love how you mix patterns and colors. It's your signature for sure. And all the details to that blouse. I am definitely joing the YES team.

    Fun post Samantha. My only critique--where's the red lippy! ;D

    Love, Ann from Kremb de la Kremb

    PS Thanks for linking this post to my Style Story!

    1. Thank you Ann, one more vote for the Yes's.
      I can feel your disapproval regarding my lipstick choice (or lipbalm in this case!)....I am such a wimp....I promise to try harder on the lipstick front. Must overcome that fear! Thank you for your comment. XXX
      (note to self: be bolder)

  16. Gorgeous pattern mixing!! I do love my nude heels when I have a lot going on in my outfits.

    Thank you for being a part of TBT Fashion link up and hope to see you Thursday.


    1. Thanks Alice. I am coming around to the virtues of a nude shoe. I loved my summer nude shoe/boot/cut-out shoes but I have never warmed to these pumps. I may be changing my mind though! XXX

  17. Although you are mixing patterns. staying in the say color family is key! You did it fabulously

    Happy Medley

    1. Hi Anna, thank you!
      Staying in the same colour family is a great place to start for the pattern-mix shy. XXX

  18. Pattern mixing at its best, offset with the nude. I must admit I do very little pattern mixing but very much admire it on others. My take on this and supposed style and age rules, do what suits you and makes you feel good regardless of age or others opinions.

  19. Yes yes and yes! I love this look, I am a fan of red and the femininty of the top is so lovely with all of the buttons and the print itself I need to try pattern mixing more, but love how you used the red color patette to mix the cool trousers with this lovely blouse! The nude turtleneck and shoes are a perfect choice to keep the atention on the outfit
    Looking great!!
    Thanks for linking up with Turning Heads Tuesday!
    jess xx

  20. Love, love, love this look!!! The dramatic colors and patterns are amazing together. I also find whenever I am feeling it then I know it totally goes no matter what anyone else thinks. Wear it with confidence and it definitely shows and can convince even the doubters. :) I have lots of nude heels, so I am in the nude heel camp, but I daresay none of mine are like yours here. Thanks, as always for linking up with Fabulous Friday, Samantha!
    Jennie - A Pocketful of Polka Dots

    1. Thank you Jennie. I am still not sure about the nude pumps....hmmmm....I maybe need another (different) pair?! XXX

  21. Yes, yes, yes! Totally loving this look and you wear it with panache! x


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