Prints and Pops of Red

The mystery that is print mixing was a huge…thing…a few years back.  All the most fashion-y fashion people were mixing prints like no tomorrow, while the rest of us wondered exactly how one wore leopard print with stripes and florals without looking insane.  Probably incorrectly, I attribute this trend to Jenna Lyons, who was then the president and creative director of J Crew, and responsible for the proliferation of sequins, statement jewellery, high heels and casual graphic tees that we now live with every day.

I love two things – bright colours and getting maximum mix and match from my wardrobe – so print mixing is a big win in my books.  While I feel like the “how to print mix” topic has been done to death, why not add to the proliferation with my thoughts on how this particular outfit came together!

There are three key things that make this work. Firstly, I picked one colour to tie the top and the skirt together (dark blue).  That way there’s some harmony between them, so it’s more “complimentary pop” and less “experimental jazz”.  I also tried this with a red and white striped top, and it was a hard fail.  A few things went wrong – the white was too harsh, there was too much red, and the top wasn’t fitted enough to look sleek into the waistband of this skirt.  I think because the skirt is so fluid, baggier tops look untidy – they are better suited to more rigid fabrics.

Then I used one very large, distributed pattern in the skirt, and one much smaller, more controlled pattern in the top.  For some reason, that is a pleasing combo.  Another great on-trend option would have been a small floral print, but you can’t really go wrong with a stripey top!  Striped tops are interesting because they should be costume-y and cloying due to their association with French girl style, yet somehow they remain reliable and easy to wear. Anything that can survive an association with the horrible saturation of “how to be chic!!!!” is a winner to me.   

Finally, I accessorised aggressively with red.  The key was to use red at way points through the outfit – feet, then jacket, then lipstick – to keep a consistent theme going.  There’s also red in the skirt and I think we all know that red and stripey tops are sympathetic friends.   It was, if anything, more matchy-matchy than intended.  I kind of feel like I could be appearing on a chat show at 7pm as the local Labour candidate in this outfit.  The look is heightened by my hairstyle, growing out of a pixie cut and into a bob, currently at “mature lady” length.  


This outfit ended up being a collection of hero items from my wardrobe, too.  The skirt is Ashley Fogel, picked up second hand at Madison Rose quite some time ago, and is wonderful to wear because it is acres of fabric – aka, ultra-swishy.  The combination of colours makes it wearable with lots of different options, and the length means it lends a bit of conservatism to work outfits.  The top is from Wilson Trollope, and it’s awesome because it’s reversible (the back is a V-neck).  I love these shoes from Merchant1948, and they are responsible for starting a love affair with slightly lower block heels, which will hopefully ultimately save me from debilitating lower back pain (so hot, I know). 

I’ve never worn these things in this combination before, and it was a bit of trial and error on a Tuesday night to figure out something that worked.  I always promote the possibilities afforded by a good old try on sesh, just putting things on and seeing what works, because often it’s something that seems silly that somehow comes together.  You might even find things you’ve forgotten about, or find a new way to wear something that’s been hibernating.  Put on some extremely questionable music from your youth, shut the door, and hurl clothes around like a hurricane.  The style outcomes are worth the clean up, I promise.

The jacket is a SaveMart find (option here), pearls are from the Minx store in Levin.  Options for the top and skirt can be found here and here