What To Do When You Buy Something in A Bright PatternI hope you all had a nice Easter weekend! My mom surprised us with a layover visit in the beginning of the week, and then my mother-in-law made her annual trip up for the weekend. We had so much fun with one mama after the next! My mother-in-law loves for me to pick out new things for her so we hit the outlets on Friday afternoon. It was pretty busy, but we stay focused when we shop! She even got a couple of things for me that I had picked out, including the wildest pants. They're the Hampton fit, but I don't see the pattern on the Banana factory website.
When I shop, I like to think of how I will wear whatever I'm trying on. If I can think of three ways to wear it, then it's worth it for me to take home. If I can only think of one or two ways, then it better be a real bargain! In my head, all I could think was a white shirt and a black shirt, but I was rushing and knew there were more options than that. So, I decided to take my mother-in-law up on the offer to purchase them and figure it out when I got home. Here's what I did:
1. Start with a basic, but use texture to create visual interest.
In my head, I was thinking that black would toughen up this happy print a little bit. Instead of reaching for the plain black v-neck I had pictured in the dressing room, I laid out a loft tank. You can't see it in this iPhone shot, but the tank has a crochet pattern in the front. Then, I added a thin cardigan (similar here) for the chilly spring weather we've been having. I spotted my Boden wedge booties and thought they'd be more fun than black shoes, and I'm trying to wear them as much as possible before it gets hot.
2. Pick a color family in the pattern, then pick another pattern that shares that color family.
The pants have a deep blue background, and the polka dotted shirt (similar here, on sale) is navy. Then, I brought in the chartreuse from the pants into the Dr. Scholls shoes (other colors here, gray on Ebay in size 6) as just a cheeky little nod. I don't like a lot of matchy-matchiness, but in something as bright as this yellow-green, it's fun. I couldn't go without my third item, so I carried the dots into a round circled necklace.
Below, and I'm sorry that I can't seem to change the direction of the image, I did the same thing. The neutral, off-white color in the pants is in the same color family as the white of the striped top (similar here), which brings in a second pattern. I stayed in that color family for the hat (Marshalls, men's department) and riffed off the pink and blue in the pants with orange and blue for the wrist.
3. When in doubt, try chambray.
I have many clients who shy away from adding blue if it doesn't "match." Oh, how I hate that word. I don't want things to match; I want them to relate to each other. I think of it this way: if you were wearing jeans, wouldn't you easily put on a bright, patterned shirt? Why not wear the pattern on the bottom and the denim on top? Or a different color blue if you've got that? Here, I kept the shoes simple with a beat up pair of black ballet flats (nice and wide) and added a punch of color with a skinny belt that's more yellow than the chartreuse in the pants. I'd hang these up together on the same hanger as a reminder to myself to tuck the shirt in (at least in the front) to show off the belt.
I never even tried the boring black shirt I had in mind when I decided to put these pants in my bag, isn't that funny? I'd also love a striped t-shirt or tank to go with these in a coral color that would relate to the pink in the pants but not match.
So if you have something really out there in a wild print, give these tips a try! You might not ever get around to the plain Jane item you had in mind originally. Or, if you do, it might suddenly feel fresh!