Friday, February 8, 2013

Following Patterns

My previous post was about sticking with basic shapes and neutral color palette but I did mention that I love color and pattern. In fact, nothing makes me fall in love in an item of clothing faster than a beautiful print.

Oilily top, previously seen HERE

The problem with beautiful print is that, because it is visually stunning, it tends to get all the attention and sometimes more attention than a wearer. If the print is also whimsical it only exacerbates the issue.  I don't know about you, but I don't want to be remembered as a 'chicken lady'. Another issue is that striking prints are very 'memorable', so you cannot wear them too often. That's the reason I usually don't pack prints when I travel, especially when I want to pack light.

Our friend WMM has recently blogged about personal style and how she never has a problem choosing the way to decorates her house, but it is quite a different story when it comes to choosing her clothes. I can totally relate to Wendy.  I even blogged about decorating my house the way I dress (see it HERE). Sometimes, I want to buy something just to stare at it in my closet. But that's not very smart. Much better to buy a beautiful vase.

Instead of  'Bondage' dress

I guess having conversational pieces in the house is OK, because this is what they are meant for. But dressing should be more seamless imo. Even in the house, you don't want to crowd beautiful architectural details with too many objects, no matter how beautiful they are. But at least you have a bigger surface to work with, almost anything can look good with the right scale and proportions.

As an example, I love this fabric of my Living Room curtains, but I would not buy a dress in this print. A scarf would be beautiful. But I don't want people to stare at my butt to have a closer look at the baby chicks. Paisleys are another story, nobody cares to examine them closer.

My favorite trick to 'casualize' a printed dress and make it less memorable is to wear it as a skirt, with a sweater. This also extends the season for sleeveless dresses.

This print combination is more abstract, so something like this is is very doable in clothes.


Up until about 2010, I never thought that leopard can be so neutral and quiet but I have no qualms wearing this skirt. Or, maybe I am just the right age for The Leopard. I am thinking about Visconti here, what were you thinking ;)

What about black, white and gray in the house? Well, I usually gravitate towards warmer tones in decorating but here is (a fragment of) what is hanging over my mantel. It has a striking texture to it, that I could not capture in the the picture.

This painting sometimes spooks some visitors but never fear, I have some whimsical touches to lighten the mood.

Ori has come to my kitchen all the way from Israel, I love staring at him when I cook. Much better than staring at beautiful skirt in the closet, don;t you think?

And here is my nod toward my penchant for a little drama. Here is how I translated it into outfit.

No, I wasn't actually trying to create an outfit inspired by a poster. This would be something straight from Project Runway. I just happened to look at the pictures and saw a correlation. I suppose this just proves that I am drawn to similar colors whether picking an outfit or decorating, maybe more often than I thought. 

This outfit is a reverse of Terra Paisley one above. This is a 'skirt as a dress', while the other was a 'dress as a skirt', but it works about the same. Large expanses of pattern scare me a little, so I try to neutralize by wearing everything else in the same color, or at least in neutrals.

I thought at first that I might wear the burgundy Stuart Weitzman boots but after trying them on I opted for navy MacAlisters. The boots created a split focus in this outfit and were cutting off my legs with colorblock effect I did not care for.

Btw, do you see the white smudges in last two pictures? This is snow!!! It was pretty light in the morning but are in the middle of the blizzard here. Right now it feels very cozy to be inside and drink hot chocolate but I only hope we do not loose electricity....

Fade to black and white...

That's all folks!

What do you think of a correlation between dressing and decorating?
Do you wear prints? 
Do you feel like you need to somehow neutralize them or are you a fearless soul?

Is it snowing were you are?

Please share, it would be no fun without you!!! 


  1. Interesting post. I was thinking about your post on decorating your house as compared to how you dress after I read WMM! I've been thinking about it and looking around my house. I am fussy about fabrics in my house, just like in my closet, one of my investments has been floor to ceiling silk taffeta curtains. I use lots of linen on my dining room table and I like natural materials, from marble and wood to beeswax candles. I will only use beeswax candles! I like serious art but we don't buy it often, last year we bought two paintings and that was a big year. That being said I don't re-decorate my house and it is quite simple with no clutter. I think I'm getting there with my wardrobe too but very slowly.
    I remember once you commented to me when I was thinking of some impractical shoes: "if you want something to look at in your closet they are perfect!" I have often thought of that when contemplating wardrobe pieces which are more pretty than practical, it has helped me enormously and prevented me from buying more foolish things so I thank you!
    We had 40cm of snow yesterday is my guess, now the sun is shining and it is a gorgeous day, hope your storm is over as well!

    1. Hi AJC - great post! I wrote a long response a couple of hours ago, but darn blogger (or dog!) ate my homework!

      I love your bondage (bandage!) vase - it is really cool. I am like you. And your ladies aren't creepy, but they do look sad - wonder what happened to them?

      I am like you Dani - I don't redecorate much. We are finishing reno-ing our house ourselves - started 15 years ago (patience is a virtue!) You should have seen it when we started! Like Dani - your comments about things to look at in your closet really resonated with me! That means more things must go. For example, I bought two of the chiffon blouses (cursed sales) before Christmas before I went on budget and I never reach for them. They are for a corporate lady. I don't want to be a corporate lady. Even when I was CEO, never liked to dress like a character in The Good Wife. I always wanted that twist...

      I think your paisley skirt is divine - that is just the kind of thing I love! And your bird is so sweet - I love those meaningful kind of pieces!

      I also really love the stripe/leopard combo on you! You got the SMART skirt as opposed to the CHEETAH (I have to capitalize it as it is all that and a bag of candy)

      Have a great day - we are in storm now!

    2. Hi Dani, interesting that you mention fabric choices. I did not think about it, but I totally agree, I also like natural fabrics, and I love silk and velvet. Naturally, you woudl be even more selective. Only beesweax candle, lol.
      I am also not redecorating my house right now but I was in a phase when I was focus on that and less on clothes.
      It is also much more expensive and no returns usually ;)

    3. WMM, thanks! 15 years? You ARE patient, but that's probably the best and that's why you home is so organic.
      I do sometimes buy to stare at, like my snakeskin Valentinas, but I try to make it an exception at least.
      Wait for the next post about the cheetah skirt, I may have a solution for you.
      Hehe, you will never be The Good Wife, but a good wife you probably are, lol.

  2. I love prints, in decorating and in my wardrobe. I've learned some don't look right on me, the scale is too big or too busy. I'll wear smaller scale or quieter prints and save the louder and larger scale prints for a scarf. I like prints in home decor, but I feel like I need neutrals more to bring calm to the chaos and clutter of the house. I will always have prints on rugs or pillows etc, though, they just make me happy.

    Also, did you let out the hem of that paisley Jules dress, or is it that its original length? I love that dress.

    1. I love rugs, they are like scarfs, I created color stories for my home from my rugs!

      This is Terra Paisley dress from few years ago, not Jules, it was longer and actually still has 2 inches in the hem. Funny I remember JCA complaining that this dress was too short. Little did we know...

  3. This is a really interesting post, I really enjoyed this one and the last one.

    I would say I'm drawn to pretty similar clothing as you - neutral monochrome or else prints - though the end result is different, something that I find quite neat about personal style.

    I can't resist a print on clothing. I'm particular about what print I'll wear, but ultimately I have quite a few in my closet.

    I often do that dress as skirt outfit, I like it. I went to a three day conference and made myself a challenge to bring only one dress and re-work it various ways - it was successful and quite fun!

    Interestingly, I have very few prints in my house. Our duvet has a print but I wish it was plain - I regret buying it but am too waste-averse to replace it. We have a beautiful cotton tablecloth that we bought in southern France, and it has a typical Provencal pattern - fairly monochrome, though, only red, yellow, and black. Other than that, our house is pretty much white and light wood. That's partly because we move a lot and consciously choose to put our effort elsewhere, and partly because we like it that way! I have a lot of plants, but even those are monochrome! Green only. Interesting food for thought.

    What about texture? Do you find yourself drawn to texture? I find one of the ways that I add depth to otherwise plain outfits is through texture, especially lace.

    1. Thank you Abby! I also usually go for neutrals in my house but sometimes I regret. When I chose the sofa for the living room I really like the bold stripe fabric that I saw on display in the store but chickened out and went for beige afraid that I would tire of it. Maybe I would have but to this day I am thinking of that pattern...
      My next post is for you, all about texture, and yes there is lace. Thanks for the idea!

  4. AJC, this is a great post. I enjoyed all your outfits and how they were inspired by the items in your home. The leopard skirt has been in my closet since I bought it, patiently waiting for spring to arrive. I hadn't thought to wear it before then, but it looks great winterized with boots. It seems like our home has been in transition for years due to illness and cross-country moving, and so decorating hasn't been at the top of my list for some time, the way it used to be. I think my clothes do reflect my taste in decorating though. Eclectic. :) I'm drawn to interiors that skillfully combine sleek and modern with ornate and classic elements.

    1. Hi ABC, many times I find your styling closest to what I would wear as a complete outfits and our house decorating preferences sound very similar too. Hopefully your health will improve and you will be able to settle soon :)
      I think that leopard skirt works with a slip and tights for the winter if it is not very cold, it looks winter-y enough for me.

  5. OK, I thought the fabric of your curtains was a photo of the latest Jules dress. Shows how little I know. There are few floral prints that appeal to me at all but I do have the silk indigo skirt and I wear it. Geometric prints are more my taste for some reason. Being a bit of a nut over fabrics, texture and handfeel are very appealing to me as well.

    The Terra Paisley print is really lovely and you wear it well. I had the dress and perfect shirt and sold them both NWT on ebay, the shirt for next to nothing. The colors were awful on me but I was still at the point where I was trying to force things that were lovely, just not right for me. I think I was under the influence of the crewlade quite a bit back then, I couldn't resist a lot of popular pieces, which I ended up reselling later, NWT. I didn't pay enough attention to whether or not I could actually wear a lot of what I bought. I may have swung too far the other way now, hardly buying anything, but I'm fine with it.

    The ability to mix patterns still, and probably always will, eludes me.

    1. You mean the Botanical print? haha, they should put in a copy 'inspired by the curtain fabric found in the home of one of our great aficionadas...'
      I think I am heading in your direction too as far as JC buying, not a purchase for me in over 2 months, nothing on the list and not checking a website for weeks. I am not saying I will stop buying from them but I don;t miss it either. It is strange, actually, not even planned, just happened.
      I do love that terra paisley print, I had a shirt too that I gave to my mother but if it does not work for you it is no good, you wear right to cut your losses, sell amd move on.

  6. That's such a wonderful painting, it really drew me in, it is a little eerie but also intriguing.
    I don't really wear prints, the only one I have liked is the one in your red skirt above.

    1. The painting stopped me in my tracks and I bought on the spot at the local fleamarket. Later on I found out that it is valued way more than I paid. I am glad I did not know or I would have felt like I took advantage of the seller's ignorance.
      I remember that you have that skirt, it is stunning on you.

  7. Clever post, my wardrobe and my house have all the same colours, it's a wonder anyone can find me at the end of the day, I should be totally camouflaged. Loving your first outfit that cobalt blue is so pretty with the browns. I love prints and can't get enough of them. The DVF dress I never tire of actually has the most jarring print of them all: purple, green and black triangles, not sure how it works (maybe it doesn't and I'm fooling myself)

    1. ALW, you are so funny, camouflaged, lol.
      That DVF dress DOES work.