Updated: Oct 17
By Kayla Edwards
Photos by Mikaela Woods
As we all know fashion is the furthest thing from boring. Mixing, matching and piecing clothing together allows us to express our utmost creativity. When we dress ourselves, we strive to style pieces that please our eyes, draw others in and show the world who we are. The freedom that fashion gives us, allows us to experiment with new things that may be considered outlandish or eccentric. This season, VARIANT Magazine is showing readers how to bring forth their ultimate level of creativity by clashing patterns.
From patterns in life, music, and to even visual patterns, patterns are easily recognized in our world. In fashion, patterns come in many shapes and sizes. Fashion favorite patterns such as pinstripe, zebra print and plaid are usually paired with plain colors to tone down the outfit. Recently, we have seen the fashion industry lean away from calming down extreme patterns. As mentioned before, fashion is the furthest thing from boring. Fashion is only about taking risks and never playing it safe. The newest and hottest trends have become popular because they are different from what we’ve seen before. So why only wear one print or pattern when you can wear them all?
Taking a look back into history, we can see that the 70s was one of the most experimental decades in fashion. The 70s aren’t considered groovy or retro because of playing it safe, but because the fashion industry experimented with any and every pattern one could think of. Florals, houndstooth and polka dot were mixed together from head to toe. The 70s held no limit to the amount of patterns worn, and as fashion comes full circle, we are beginning to do the same today.
Clashing Patterns in Today’s Streetwear
When we look around at what we wear in our daily life, we usually do not see people mix and match extreme patterns such as zebra with chevron, or pinstripes with polka dots. Prints in everyday fashion are usually dialed down so that they are not overdone or draw in too much attention. Society has decided that styling bold, loud prints are ugly because they clash. On the contrary, the fashion industry, stylists and even influencers are deeming pattern clashing as the newest, most chic trend. We see Pattern Clashing heavily in street style. One of our generation’s most well-known models recognized for her chic sense of street wear, Bella Hadid, is a pro at clashing the most unlikely prints and making them look surprisingly tasteful. We often see Hadid mixing stripes, graphic prints and animal prints together. One would think that these prints mixed together would be hideous, but if there’s one thing we know, it’s that a good sense of style can make anything look good.
Another celebrity widely recognized for her sense of pattern is Billie Eilish. Although Eilish’s style is changing and maturing, we all still vividly remember the days of the singer dripping in printed Louis Vuitton and matching the already eye-catching ensemble with stripes. Billie’s experimentation with pattern clashing has made her an influence in streetwear alongside other celebrities such as Sarah Snyder, Playboi Carti and Jaden Smith.
VARIANT’s Tips for Pattern Clashing
1. Step outside of your comfort zone
In order to master the art of Pattern Clashing, one has to think outside of their usual style norms. Elevating your style, however, requires that you ditch what you’re used to and replace it with what you’re not. For instance, the next time you hit up Zara for your shopping spree, steer clear of the usual basics and pick up edgier pieces, striped dresses, printed jeans and animal print hats can easily elevate your wardrobe!
2. Think outside the box
When it comes to Clashing Patterns, the more creative the better. Thinking outside of the box when it comes to mixing and matching different prints and patterns will draw people into your style. One of 2020’s most popular brands Gimaguas has shown us how good clashing patterns can look together.
If you’re too unsure about clashing patterns within your wardrobe and want to start small, a great way to do this is to accessorize. Printed shoulder bags, hats, and even sunglasses are totally in right now. These accessories can definitely spice up even the most plain outfit.