I’m attracted to patterned wardrobe items. I enjoy wearing them and buying them because they make my outfits look punchy and alive, which in turn makes me feel alive. I particularly like classic patterns like stripes, checks, polka dots and animal print. I also like romantic florals, and have a thing for animal print footwear. When I wear a solid top and bottom, I will often match it with patterned belt and/or shoe. I love to pattern mix belts with tops. And when I haven’t worn patterns for days, I rectify the situation because I miss wearing them.

At the beginning of the year I stopped purchasing patterned items for a while. I’d overdosed on them. My closet was looking chaotic and I missed seeing enough clean, calm and crisp solids. So for a while I purchased items only in solid colours. I still happily wore patterns, individually and in pattern mixed outfits. I just didn’t buy any new ones. 

I’ve realized that although I love the minimal and simple effect of solids, I also need a fair amount of pattern in my style because it packs a punch and makes me happy. The tricky bit is establishing just the right amount of pattern in my wardrobe. Too few patterns and I miss their lively presence. Too many patterns and I miss the calm serenity of solids. I’m constantly feeling my way on this one. I am aware of my tendency to overdose on patterns, so from time to time I go on a pattern diet. That’s my way of creating the right mix in my closet. 

Working with clients, I’m also very aware that not everyone feels the same way about patterns that I do. And that patterns play a different role in our respective wardrobes. My clients’ approaches to pattern run the gamut. Some won’t wear them at all. Not even in a belt, scarf, bag or shoe. For them, patterns make an outfit less attractive. Other clients don’t feel stylish unless they’re wearing a pattern. For them, patterns are an easy way to make their outfits feel interesting and bold. Some prefer to wear patterns only in footwear and accessories, while others are adventurous pattern mixers and wear multiple patterned pieces daily. 

How does pattern fit into your wardrobe? Do they add or subtract from your style? Note that there is no right and wrong answer. Only a preference that might even change over time.