More and more designers are mixing it up on the runway with wildly clashing patterns. Some of the patterns are in the same colour palette, which helps create a harmonious visual, and then there’s the rest. The trend is what I call the “chopped salad look”. Whether that tantalizes your taste buds depends on your stylistic preferences.
The two outfits above from Zara are particularly advanced examples of pattern mixing. To my eye, these patterns clash in such an extreme way that they actually work. The more muted colour palette helps gel the patterns together. This is not a look that I would wear, but I can see it working quite well on a few of my clients and some of our forum members.
The second two examples aren’t as crazy as the first, but they are still bold and daring. For myself, I prefer the more graphic vibe of these mixed pattern outfits because the effect is more crisp and simple. I adore the combination of the rugby stripe and nubby tweed in the J. Crew outfit and would happily wear that with a pair of flat oxfords.
I wholeheartedly believe that advanced pattern mixing is a brilliant and fun fashion forward concept that allows you to flex your creative and daring style muscles, AND make the most of your wardrobe. Think of all the extra outfit combinations you could sport if you fearlessly mixed up most of the patterns in your closet. But in the same breath, much like messy hair, advanced pattern mixing is hard to pull off. There is a risk of looking unstylish and clueless about patterns. The outfit components have to be just so, making the overall effect chaotically cohesive.
Does advanced pattern mixing work to your eye, if not for you but on someone else? Can it look attractive in an arty and dramatic way? When does the effect work, and when does it flop? Or do you find the chopped salad look distasteful, no matter what.