A fashion and style blog for the over 40s covering body shapes, colour palettes, how to wear neutrals, style personality and capsule wardrobes. Come on in!


A Pattern Conundrum

So far we've touched on colour, fabric and style personalities. I did promise that we would look at patterns next which is a good thing as it has rescued me from doing a Christmas jumper post (god forbid). Don't get me wrong, I haven't got anything against them in theory. It's just that I've never, ever found a decent one!

The rules for patterns are really easy to follow so let's crack on.

1. Your Body Shape

To achieve your best look, work out your body shape here. The idea is that you 'go with' your bodyshape...

A straight body looks best in straight shapes and geometric patterns In fact this is your season as there are so many checks and tartan fabrics in the shops at the moment.

As well as stripes, checks, tartans and geometrics, you can also do animal print (think about it, the print is a little geometric isn't it) and finally abstract florals, the ones that are quite angular. I'm also loving the spooky forest prints that we have seen in the likes of Mint Velvet. This one is excellent.

And this, perhaps not so angular but I think you could get away with it.

If you are a curvy lady you are undoubtedly going to look fantastic in paisleys, florals, circles, squiggles, spots and animal prints (actually anyone can wear animal print). Stripes and geometric patterns won't sit properly over your curves - yes we've all seen the stripe in a shirt suddenly start to slalom over a large bust. What this is doing is drawing the eye down to the imperfection - we really don't want the eye there. See, here...

Erm, let's not go there!!!

So here are some patterns that you may like to try.

2. Your Scale

I can bet my bottom dollar that 95% of ladies reading this blog have never considered the size of the print in relation to their scale. And it kind of does matter.

Someone who is big boned or carrying excess weight will undoubtedly look better in larger prints. Small ditsy prints just look wrong somehow. I don't know why, maybe because there's much more pattern repeat so you see much more of it as a whole. Whereas for example a large floral design balances out the figure and is easier on the eye of the beholder. Am I making sense?

On the otherhand, a smaller, petite lady will suit a smaller print as it balances her out - a large print is overwhelming.

3. Your Colour Palette

A refresher here if you have forgotten what colour palette you fall into.

Ladies with a strong, dramatic look can carry off much bolder patterns than those with a more muted look. So a Clear, a Deep and a Cool can really go to town. This little beauty from Boden for example

Whilst ladies with a more muted look would look better in something with a softer pattern (Softs, Lights and some Warms). The feather print on this Mint Velvet dress are so subtle and wouldn't overwhelm any muted complexion.

Now if you had your colours done properly, you would be told whether you had a muted or strong look but to be honest, all you need to do is hold up a really bright pattern (in your colours of course) to your face. What does it do? Does it enhance your features or drown them. Then do the same with a softer pattern - does it seem to balance out your features or do you pale into insignificance? Therein lies the answer (Clears and Softs you already know what you are so follow the pattern rules accordingly).

And that's it really, pip squeak. Of course there are always exceptions to the rules. I don't know the answers, I just know that it works, it shouldn't do but sometimes it does so please don't shoot me down!

Hope your Christmas shopping is going well. Off to try and style the wretched navy knit jumpsuit from Zara that I've had sat in my wardrobe for 2 weeks - can't decide whether to keep it or not.

I want to look like this....

But fear I look like this....

And finally, a quick drink and bite to eat in the village with friends ON-A-SCHOOL-NIGHT. And, yes I paid for it the following day - such a lightweight.

P.s. this is the jacket that set the whole colour thing off for me - I realised I looked poo in the black one but the tan looked ok!

Until next time....all about my competition win.

Donna x
9 comments on "A Pattern Conundrum"
  1. OMG! You bought the infamous Zara jumpsuit!!! I've heard so much about it from other bloggers and will be dying to see if you decide to keep it ... I think it's a tricky one to style! As always love all your tips - I've actually been keeping a lot of what you say in mind, when I go shopping now. So keep blogging please :)

    1. Yep it's a keeper! I'm going to wear it on Saturday so pics to follow next week. Comes up big mind (ha - Zara - big, that's a new one) so glad I sized down.

      Glad you're enjoying the blog Helen. I was looking at your hair earlier - the lighter shade has really balanced you out - I love it! x

  2. When I cast my eye over what's hanging in my wardrobe at the moment I've realised that the only pattern I have is either the form of stripe or check! Think I can feel a New Years Resolution coming on to rectify this situation! I shall also be keeping your advice firmly in mind should I be able to remedy this lack of print scenario! x

    1. And I bet you have hundreds of striped tops too. Pattern isn't for everyone....I have lots in my wardrobe but don't wear on a regular basis....somehow I feel better in plain fabric. X

  3. I loved the Zara jumpsuit on the site but on me it was appalling - I don't have long legs but it was so short on me and felt voluminous on top with my big boobs. I tried in vain to get it to work as I love the idea of it. Hope you get it to work! I love patterns - any kind of pattern but mainly leopard print…those Mint Velvet pieces are gorgeous though. Ted Baker does some amazing prints too - I like it loud:)

    1. That's exactly how I felt when I first tried it on - just like Mr Incredible. Big top half, skinny bottom. Think I've cracked it.....will post a photo at the weekend for judgement!?!? Yep I too love leopard print and it's probably the pattern I wear the most. I noticed a couple of fab bits you had on in the summer from Ted Baker - lovely x

  4. That makes totally sense! My wardrobe is full of patterns: mostly polka dots, paisley,florals,... On the other hand I never knew why I can't make breton tops and stripes work on me.

  5. You give such fab advice Donna & you've really made me take more notice of what I buy! I definitely need more print in my life! Can't wait to see you in your jumpsuit! I'm giggling at Mr. Incredible! Ax