Mixing Prints in a Twirly Dress

Last week I took my first foray into the art of mixing prints. It was a small start–a patterned jacket combined with a patterned scarf, inspired by a look Marlene Dietrich first wore in the 1930s.

Marlene Dietrich collage

The outfit itself is not one I would normally wear, though. It’s a bit serious for my lifestyle and personality. In addition, the pattern of the scarf got lost in the pattern of the jacket. Still, it served a purpose. It was a good first step.

Giving It a Twirl

This week, I’m venturing out on my own–no history or starlets to fall back on. The look I have to share with you is one I put together myself. I kept things fairly simple: a fit and flare dress that twirls like nobody’s business and a red scarf with bubbly polkadots.

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First, the details

The dress is a sweater dress I bought from Nordstrom in Seattle. I can’t find it for purchase online, but if you scroll to the bottom of this post, you will find links to several similar styles.

The label is Opening Ceremony. The dress has an art deco vibe to it with cascading stripes that widen as they near the hem of the skirt. Art deco is is soooo 1930s and both the fit and flare shape and the black band around my waist provide some visual cinching.

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The scarf is a vintage 1960s chiffon I got from Road Kill Vintage on Etsy. The shoes were featured in a previous post. I bought them on sale from ColeHaan.com this past spring. They’re no longer available online, but I did find a black pair of the same style on sale at Nordstrom Rack. In addition, there are links at the bottom of my post to red, pointy-toed flats — all on sale at Nordstrom Rack.

And now for something completely different:

Take a look at those big, fat polkadots that tumble down the scarf on my back. I tied the scarf in the back, creating a choker effect in the front and giving the red a black and white canvas to drape across. It made me feel sort of “French Girl On a Bicycle.”

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This look has whimsy. It has an artsy feel to it. It’s playful and fun. This outfit definitely fits my personality.

And check out the twirl!

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You didn’t know sweater dresses and polkadots could be so fun, did you?
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It occurred to me in the process of choosing this outfit that one of the things that attracts me to the idea of mixing prints is the fun involved. Whenever I see two kinds of patterns on someone else, I always smile. Those who wear them seem like fun people. And I’ve discovered that it’s fun for me to try these different combinations. It’s fun to wear it. It brings out the playfulness in me.

There are several bloggers out there who are masters in the art of mixing prints and every single one of them seem like the kind of person I’d like to hang out with. These ladies understand in an organic way how two different prints can work together. They have fun with their clothes and they look like a million dollar painting wearing them. Below are just a few of the women whose print-mixing skills I admire in the fashion blogging world.

Samantha Blair of Fake Fabulous:

Samantha lives in Scotland where layering is a necessity because of the weather. Her “necessary layers” become works of art.

Samantha Blair of Fake Fabulous fashion blog wears two summery prints with a pair of adorable purple sneakers.

Suzanne Carillo of SuzanneCarillo.com:

Suzanne from Ontario is not afraid of bright colors and bold prints. In one of her most recent posts, she showed how to style patterned pants. One of Suzanne’s pro tips: When combining patterns, choose a bold print to coordinate with a smaller, more subtle one. Also check out the mastery of her color coordination — green, red, blue, etc. So cool.

Suzanne Carillo, a fashion blogger, wears two different patterns on top and bottom. She provides tips on how to mix prints in her blog post.

Anna of Anna’s Island Style:

Anna runs a small art gallery on an island southwest of Cornwall in the UK. The sensibility with which she puts together her gallery must inform her great talent in mixing prints. She does it with ease and the effect is delightful. Check out her summery outfit below and then go to her blog by clicking here.

Anna of Anna's Island Style fashion blog wears two harmonizing prints.

Melanie of Bag and a Beret:

Melanie may be one of the most adventurous print-mixers of all! She lives in British Columbia and is an artist through and through. In fact, from the looks of it, when she’s not creating art in fashion, she creates it with paint. I can never read Melanie’s blog without coming away with a smile on my face. Her sense of fashion and her sense of humor shine through every post. To visit her blog, click here.

Melanie was also featured on the cover of July’s issue of SheSpark Magazine. The magazine was created and is edited by beauty blogger, Audrey Stefanik of Cremes Come True, and Austin-based stylist and blogger, Thea Wood. SheSpark is packed with information and resources for women over 40 and — get this — it’s free!

Anne of SpyGirl

No discussion of mixing prints would be complete without including Anne from SpyGirl blog. Not only do I FanGirl over this woman’s ability to throw together a whole mess of patterns and make it work, I love reading her posts that reflect back on fashion from her personal history. She also takes readers on trips to fashion museums with fabulous pictures and a narrative that makes me wish I could tag along for real.

Anne from SpyGirl blog.

And, if that weren’t enough, Anne draws the best illustrations of herself and other fashion bloggers. She is, after all, a 2D visual artist who designs prints for underwear, so of course!

Sketches of fashion bloggers from Anne of SpyGirl.
These are just a few of the sketches she’s done of fashion bloggers. I encourage you to check out Anne’s blog and then go take a look at the bloggers she sketched.

All these talented women are just a few of the ones who constantly inspire and encourage me as I try on the iconic trends of the past in search of my signature style. I’ll continue to glean inspiration from their posts and push myself to grow ever bolder in my pursuit of learning the art of mixing prints.

For now, though, I’m off to put together posts that involve sparkly bracelets for dainty wrists, dramatic scarves from Ethiopia, accessories that could be considered works of art, and romantic ruffles. I hope you’ll join me for all of it.


Shop My Outfit:

My dress is by Opening Ceremony
from Nordstrom in Seattle.
Similar styles below:

Darby Short Sleeve Sweater Dress from Alice + Olivia at Nordstrom Rack.
Darby Short Sleeve Sweater Dress from Alice + Olivia ON SALE! at Nordstrom Rack.
Max & Co. Saetta Dress Sweater Dress ON SALE! at Nordstrom Rack.
Max & Co. Saetta Sweater Dress ON SALE! at Nordstrom Rack.
Debbie Shuchat Sweater Knit Dress ON SALE! at Nordstrom Rack.
Debbie Shuchat Sweater Knit Dress ON SALE! at Nordstrom Rack.

My scarf is a one-of-a-kind vintage find
from Road Kill Vintage on Etsy.
Similar styles below:

Fun, whimsical scarf from Talbots.
Fun, whimsical scarf from Talbots.
Red and white polkadot scarf with black and white stripes from Etsy. Get adventurous and try combining three prints!
Red and white polkadot scarf with black and white stripes from Etsy. Get adventurous and try combining three prints!

My shoes are Cole Haan,
bought this spring online.
Similar styles below:

Cole Haan Amalia Croc Embossed Skimmers in black from Nordstrom Rack.
I couldn’t find these Cole Haan Amalia Croc Embossed Skimmers in red online, but the same style is available in black at Nordstrom Rack.
Red Calvin Klein Gailia Flat on sale at Nordstrom Rack.
Calvin Klein Gailia Flat on sale at Nordstrom Rack.
Red Marc by Marc Jacobs Ballerina Flat on sale at Nordstrom Rack.
Red Marc by Marc Jacobs
Ballerina Flat on sale at Nordstrom Rack.

My sunglasses are Kate Spade
Career Oversized Sunglasses.

I got them on Amazon. Click the photo below to go directly to the page.

Kate Spade Carees Oversized Sunglasses.
Kate Spade Carees Oversized Sunglasses in Toffee.

1930s Dance Music:


Affiliate link disclaimer: Please note, some of the items linked may be affiliated with companies I am associated with. By clicking the affiliated links and purchasing from those stores, I might receive a small commission. I do not place these links lightly — any company I represent is a company I buy from regularly. By purchasing from these stores, you support the work I do here and I greatly appreciate your support! 

 

 

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  • I love this outfit! Black white and red is so chic. And that scarf is just perfect! Yes, you are right, you just need a bike, with a baguette and bottle of champagne in your bike basket : )

    Thanks for the shout-out! You’ve chosen women that inspire me daily.

    bisous
    Suzanne

  • Putting on the Ritz—-ahhh the memories!! This track was my floor routine music in gymnastics (without words, of course)—it brings back both good and bad memories—wowza!!
    As for this outfit—-I think it’s very modern, realistic and ageless!
    The dress is a wonderful silhouette, the fit is fantastic and it’s flirty fun!!
    The scarf is such a great surprise down the back. At first I thought it was just a short scarf that you were wearing, but then you get the neat aha down the back—and who doesn’t love polka dots??
    Then the cherry on the top is those red shoes—you know I”m a sucker for a great pair of shoes!!
    You are rockin’ the dresses now aren’t you? You might as well since you have great legs!!
    love, love, love it all including these other bloggers! It’s so inspirational to see how others do “style”!
    jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    • Thank you, Jacqueline! Light and breezy is a phrase I would love to use more often to describe my style, but it’s not always an easy balance to create! I’m glad you like the colors and pattern mixing, but I still have a long way to go to reach expert Petite Silver Vixen levels! 😃

  • Sherry, I love this outfit…the stripes, the twirl, the red, the bubbles. So perfect! I like the way you tied the scarf behind you, so the patterns mix on your back…very cool! And I love the red shoes. They really complete the outfit. You are so cute and it is obvious from your facial expressions that you were having a good time. Thanks for sharing your look and for sharing those great bloggers. – Amy
    http://stylingrannymama.com/

    • Thank you, Amy!! This was the closest I’ve come in all my posts to feeling like I hit the mark for my signature style. It checks all the boxes for me: fun, sassy, a little bold but not over-the-top, and comfortable. The fact that the skirt on the dress twirls just makes it even better. 😊

    • I’ll have more on scarves coming up, Laurie! There’s a friend of mine who designs beautiful scarves and they’re handmade by family of hers in Ethiopia. They’re gorgeous! Stay tuned. 🙂

      – Sherry