Matching Rules for Women – How to wear Colors and Patterns

by | Jan 4, 2019 | Image Consulting for Women

What are the rules of matching?  Are there any?

The answer, as surely you can discern from this image is YES.

But you don’t have to be afraid of combining pattern either.  Pattern can be your “sartorial friend”. Adding an item that has a pattern with multiple colors allows you to connect the other two items.  Easy, right?

For example, a shirt with tan and blue connects a navy blazer and tan slacks.  Or a necklace that has red connects your red shoes to your grey dress.

The concept of complementary – not exact – matching is an important skill. It’s when you allow clothing pieces to build each other up to create a higher level look. In this concept, you only need one color found in item #1 to match one color found in item #2.

Example, it’s optimal if your shoes and your bag don’t exactly match, but are in similar tones. This is more complementary than “matching”.   Ever see a guy who bought a boxed set tie and pocket square that match?  Safe to assume it was from TJMaxx… right?  For this reason I wear necklace and earring sets sparingly.

Here is your next matching rule:  Line direction should match. This means linear lines – like stripes or geometric blocks go with stripes and geometric shapes. Curved lines; like paisley, or circles and small rounded motives go with same.

How can you wear two or three patterns at the same time?  With care.  Avoid mixing line directions (ex. paisley with stripes) unless you are trying to create a totally unconventional creative look.

Chose one line direction and then layer in more of the same with this key factor:  The  scale or the size of the additional patterns is smaller or larger than the first one.

An example would be a small check suit, micro check blouse, and bold check shoe.    Keep your pattern on pattern colors more muted can help as well.

Last matching rule:  Combining textures;  Fabric has weight, texture and light reflecting qualities.  These components need to be in support of each other as you build your outfit.   The more you mix, the more creative and unexpected your look.  The less you mix, the more elegant, refined and business-like you look.   Reversing the two can create a personal brand disconnect.

  1. A high sheen silk scarf is incongruous with a country tweed jacket.
  2. A glittery or sparkly silk blouse is out of place with a corduroy skirt or pants.
  3. A nubby big knit sweater does not pair as well with a smooth weave lustrous suit.
  4. Heavier weight fabrics should only be worn one at a time. Example, try not to wear a denim or cord jacket with the same bottoms.
  5. Consider the “weight” of the garment appearance – despite Pintrest images, a  sundress and combat boots should be considered a disconnect.   (or too youthful)

Metals should be considered as your finishing touch.   Coordinate silver with silver, gold with gold if possible.  Earrings and necklace.   I most often wear a two tone watch for this reason – it goes either way.   Of course wedding rings and metal frame glasses are not included in this suggestion, but it is nice to consider your personal coloring when the original purchase is made.

How does all this read to you?  Little confusing?  If so, please know  I created Style of Success for real, everyday women because I am passionate about helping YOU look and feel terrific!

Together we will discover:

  • What looks best on you and WHY
  • What belongs in your closet and what doesn’t
  • How what you wear can influence how you are perceived (the office, or on a date?)
  • Ensure you make the highest and best use of your wardrobe investment dollars.

I am a Personal Image Consultant and a J Hilburn Stylist, Trainer and Recruiter

I bring confidence, organization, efficiency to your life.

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