One of my clients said to me before her Style Consultation that she “can’t” wear patterns.  Interestingly when I did a personal shop for her,  I selected a few items with patterns on them – and guess which ones she loves the most?  Yup, the patterned ones.

Of course, anyone can choose whether or not to wear clothes with patterns there is no law about having to wear them, but for those of you that would love to wear them, I wanted to show you how to choose the best pattern or print for you.

Like Goes with Like

Before I go into specifics below, let me just remind you that when it comes to choosing any garment of any description your own appearance and taste needs to be taken into consideration first.  The garment needs to work with your colouring, shape, and personality.  So what does that mean when wanting to know how to choose the best pattern or print for you?

Pattern Colour

Firstly, the background colour or the main colour of the pattern needs to flatter your own colouring.  Is it cool or warm?  Do you need to wear brighter or softer shades and do you suit lighter or darker colours? 

The colouring of the pattern or print should ideally work with this too.  Sometimes you will find a multi-coloured pattern which may have a colour that is not in your colour-pattern or is even the opposite to what you like to wear – but they often work when combined with the other colours.  My rule of thumb on this is if you like it, and that colour doesn’t dominate the garment then still go for it.

Blue and grey floral halterneck in cool tones

Cool Tone 

warm tone cream orange and green 50's style halterneck dress

Warm Tone

Pattern Shape

The shape of the pattern should flatter you too.  If it is an all-over, pattern ask yourself if your silhouette and / or face shape (depending on where you are wearing the pattern)  is more angular or curved.  Whatever the answer that should be the influencing shape of the pattern.  If you have a very curved face or silhouette then the angles of a geometric pattern will clash against your natural lines (and vice versa if you have a more angular shape), and remember – like always goes with like.

Yellow and black geometric patterned dress

Geometric pattern

Mustard dress with red and blue circular patters and blue belt

Curved pattern

Scale of Pattern

More often than not, this is where most people go wrong when choosing patterns.  I was the same before I learnt about scale.  Scale is all about the size of your frame – not your dress size, and as always with the way I work, like goes with like.  If you are really petite then wearing a large-scaled pattern will overwhelm you.  Vice versa if you are of larger scale then a tiny print will be lost on you and can make you appear larger (Scale has nothing to do with dress size btw).

Large scale pattern on dress

Large Scale Pattern

Small scale pattern on blue dress

Small Scale Pattern

Your Style Personality and Patterns

Your Style Personality will also have a huge impact on the patterns or prints that you choose.  If you are Romantic then floral will be your go-to pattern.

A Dramatic will prefer larger geometric or abstract patterns, while a classic will go for something very understated (if they choose a pattern at all).  

Romantic cream dress with dainty blossom print
large retro floral print split midi dress

I hope the above has given you some pointers on how to choose the best pattern or print for you, and that there are patterns to suit everyones colour, shape, scale and style personality. 

Why not make a list of the things you will need to look for in a pattern and see what you can spot next time you are shopping or browsing a magazine.