I have clients who are adverse to wearing any form of pattern. They either stick to solids because that’s their style preference, or they’re completely overwhelmed with pattern choices so it’s easier to go without.

The world of pattern choices can be overwhelming because there’s just so much out there. And on top of it all, pattern preferences are very personal.

If you like a pattern-free wardrobe then that’s okay. You don’t need to wear patterned clothing to have a great sense of style. But what do you do when you want to wear patterned items but don’t know where to start?  Here are the baby steps that I suggest to my clients:

  • Start with your favourite colours: So if you like blues and greens, start with that colour palette. Alternatively, choose a pattern in your favourite neutral tones.
  • Start with a small geometric pattern: A dainty geometric tends to be the most neutral, simple and safe option.
  • Keep it subtle: Avoid patterns with big, bold shapes and colour contrasts. That’s pattern graduate school. Instead, turn to patterns with softer designs and low colour contrasts.
  • Choose a spaced pattern: Most patterns are continuous, evenly covering most of the background colour. Spaced patterns, on the other hand, cover less of the background and are  often easier on the eye.

You can apply all these guidelines at once, or just a few at a time. You might find that you stick with subtle, low contrasting, geometric patterns, and that’s fine too. No need to wear big bold florals and abstract patterns if that’s not your thing.

I’ve been wearing patterns forever and happen to like big bold patterned garments, especially when they’re geometric and make a simple yet strong statement. Although I can appreciate just about any pattern on other people, I’m still quite fussy about the actual designs I choose for myself.

How about you? Did you have to break patterns into your wardrobe slowly, or have you been a pattern wearer most of your fashion life?

Flutter Top with Print in Cream and BlackGrace BlouseZebra Print Sleeveless Wrap BlouseDVF Marroca Top

The first pattern is a high contrast floral design, but neutrally toned and spaced. The second is subtle, geometric and neutrally toned too. The third pattern is an animal print design, but still fairly subtle and geometric. The first three examples show how to take baby steps with patterns. And then there’s the fourth pattern which is bold, bright and very busy. That one’s for pattern graduates!