28 March 2011 – Matchy-Matchy

March 28th, 2011 § 17 comments

Patterns and Stripes


  • Shirt: Banana Republic Factory
  • Skirt: ???? via London Fashion Weekend
  • Belt: Old Navy
  • Shoes: Bandolino via DSW
  • Necklace: gift

Speaking of pattern mixing, does this count for abstract and stripes? I bought this shirt over the winter but haven’t had a chance to wear it yet, so I was excited that this outfit came together. I was about to start this post by saying that I was ‘sorry’ this outfit is so matchy-matchy, but then I stopped myself because I’m not sorry. I grew up with the mandate that clothes had to match pretty perfectly, and I distinctly remember that most of my middle school wardrobe consisted of easily interchangeable black, white and grey skirts and tops primarily from The Limited and Express. I suppose I learned these basic mixing skills from my mother, and I (a pretty type A organized person) agonized over shades being the same and had strict rules for myself about what colors went with other colors. These guidelines carried through high school and college and for the last six years for the most part, and honestly it wasn’t until I started blogging that I began to mess with these “inviolable” rules.

Patterns and Stripes side

I wasn’t kidding when I said that wearing that orange shirt had rocked my world or that pairing navy blue and black revolutionized my sartorial universe, and while I appreciate that this venue has made me push my own boundaries, I still love when things match or when one color is picked up in my accessories or carried through multiple elements of the same ensemble.

Patterns and Stripes close up

I am uncomfortable when sea foam green finds itself next to moss green, bubble gum pink and fuchsia bother me when they abut. For me the exciting part of this outfit was both that the hot pink of the shirt happened to be nearly spot on with the hot pink of the skirt AND that I was mixing a pretty busy pattern on top with a minimalist stripe in the skirt. It’s funny to think about how many dressing rules we hold on to from a very early age and how those now outdated rules still affect our sartorial choices. What guidelines to do you still cling to?


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§ 17 Responses to 28 March 2011 – Matchy-Matchy"

  1. Elizabeth says:

    does the skirt have stripes on both sides (front and back)? It is an awesome skirt! Great outfit!

    • admin says:

      Hi Elizabeth – Yes, there are two bold stripes that are on the right side in the front and a matching pair in the back on the left. Thanks for your comment!


  2. Cynthia says:

    There’s no need to apologize for being matchy when you’re mixing patterns, I think. I love this outfit, it looks great on you.

  3. m says:

    My mom also had pretty strict matching rules that she passed on to me. In her book, pink and red clashed, as did green and blue and brown and black. When I told my college roommate she could not wear brown shoes with black pants, she looked at me as if I had three eyes. Mom also had clear ideas of what kinds of colors were “my” colors, and they were generally bland colors like mauve, light pink, and other pastels. Now I stay far away from those colors in favor of more saturated hues. The fun part is that now my mom has let go of many of her strict rules and takes style cues from her daughters.

    • NotaBene says:

      Having clear ideas of what is “my” or “your” colors seems to be pretty typical of women of our parents’ generation . . . I bet it stems from getting their colors done. My mom would go every few years when I was young to “get her colors done”–I have no idea who did them or how they judged what colors a woman could or couldn’t wear, but it really was engrained in my mother’s approach to dressing. She still refuses to wear black because it is not in “her colors”. She thinks I’m a really liberated dresser for wearing the colors that I feel good in.

  4. Bex says:

    I was dressing fairly monchromatically until I started reading this blog, actually (like 8 months ago maybe). I grew up thinking that I had to hide my social class and the fact that my clothes were thrifted, or handed down, and that the best way to do that was to take no risks with color, texture, shape. When I went to private school for two years on 100% scholarship, I learned further that you didn’t mix & match when wearing a kilt. So my clothes were Goodwill-obtained, matched to the klit/plaid colors, and thus very classic and simple. As an adult, and a prof who teaches about gender, I figured it was best to be as unobtrusive as possible, so my clothing has continued to be a masking symbol or statement, rather than an expression of other aspects of myself. Recently I realized that my body is what it is, and rather than hide it and hide behind my clothes, I am dressing myself with more fun, more colors, more risks like those the Chics display. (Very inspiring and inspired!!)

  5. Loren says:

    My aunt does this sort of matching. She will antagonized whether her white & maroon scarf will go with her maroon jacket. And I am like ‘Does it really matter?’
    My big thing was matching jewelry for a while, I couldn’t bring myself to walk out of the house with a copper necklace but silver studs on my earrings. I’m over that now.
    The matchy colors work really well when you are mixing patterns. This skirt is very cute.

  6. Clare says:

    That skirt is just fantastic! I love what you’ve done with the pattern mixing here.

  7. Jennifer M. says:

    I have similar ideas about matching, although I’ve gotten bolder with my choices in the last year or so. I still think there’s something to be said for matching, as long as you don’t overdo it, and start looking stuffy and/or precious. But I think most well-dressed people do give some thought to matching. Wearing several random, completely unrelated pieces rarely looks good to me, although it is frequently done in blogger-land. I think your combinations always look good, L.

  8. Salazar says:

    I think you picked out great colors in the print to match it to the skirt, so it doesn’t look too matchy-matchy at all! And I agree, that skirt is wicked fun.

  9. Marleah says:

    Your “matchy” comments reminded me of my husband back in the day … He dressed like such a jock in high school, and he would wear bright blue (not a deep color like navy) athletic shorts, WITH a sleeveless t-shirt the EXACT same color of blue. He no longer does this … but it took a few times of me telling him that wearing his khaki-tan polo with khaki-tan pants was just too much matching. There’s definitely a way to take matching too far.

    That being said, I like this outfit! And yes, there is a place for matching – but within reason!

  10. Lea says:

    I’m completely the same way. Not so much anymore, but I’m definitely more comfortable wearing mostly neutrals + just ONE bold pattern or bright color. It’s hard for me to push past self scrutiny and mix any two items that might be both considered bold.

    I love it when outfits “match” and are cohesive color-wise :)

    - Lea

  11. Hannie says:

    I am a matchy person. I like matching colors. At the moment I am at a conference with a completly matched suitcase. The only non matching things are the clothes I plan to wear on the plane. When I buy or thrift I always ask the question: Is there something in my closet that goes with this piece (colorwise)? If not I won’t buy it, or look if I can find a matching items that I like.

    Visiting this blog made me a bit more adventurous. But mostly with respect to shapes, belting and pattern mixing. I still like my clothes matchy. Going to a conference I also feel more secure in matching outfits.

  12. Victoria Wheeler says:

    I say way to go for not apologizing! I’m still very much that way myself. And I think your outfit is one of the most gorgeous examples of pattern mixing. It makes both pieces pop, because it really lets you focus on their unique patterns. Way to go!

  13. Amber says:

    These dressing rules are what I am trying to work on myself. I love that the skirt stripes and the shirt match in color. I keep holding on to the no mixing black and brown even though that is obviously not a rule anymore. Its a tough one for me to break.

  14. Trystan says:

    I adore matchy outfits! In this time when non-matching is so trendy, I think it’s actually refreshing & charmingly old-school to sport an outfit made of matching colors. There’s room for all. What becomes oppressive is when you *can’t* match or *can’t* mix because of someone else’s rules.

  15. [...] congratulated myself on reaching their echelon of style. I felt like I’d arrived. Things like pattern mixing, layering, and working new trends in to my personal style (like my oxfords) are all things I [...]

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