Patterned Skirt, What Colour Top?


If you want to wear a patterned skirt how do you choose what colour from the pattern to go with the top?

It’s as easy as this.  If you want to draw attention up, and distract from your lower half (A shape, X shape), wear a lighter or brighter colour from the skirt in your top.

If you want the skirt to be the focal point of your outfit, and take emphasis away from your upper body (H shape, O shape, V shape) then wear a darker or more muted colour from the skirt as a top.


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  • Hi Imogen,

    Great tip. I have a question. I have a great pair of red jeans, and would like to draw attention away from my bottom half. Any suggestions for the top?


  • I love these how-to posts, Imogen. No one does them better than you. Can you give us some advice about how to mix patterns now that pattern-mixing seems to be the rage? What do you think of that look? For instance, I've seen floral skirts mixed with nautical stripes in magazines. Who can wear that look well? I have broad shoulders and am petite so as cute as it looks, I have a feeling it's not for me.

    What pattern mixes would work for an I-shape or other body types if one were inclined to give that a try?

  • I'm planning a bold patterned pencil skirt, 8 shape here, with a bright yellow silk jersey top. I would have used a black time before reading this and a previous post of yours. Really good practical advice, particularly for a sewer who isn't trying rtw on.

  • Perfect timing as am going to trunk show at end of month to order some spring/summer skirts. For me it also depends on mood and what jewelry I want to wear. And- I rarely want the eye drawn to the bottom half 🙂

  • Great advice and I love the new floral flares this spring. By the way, I have been trying to email you and the email bounces back. I've checked the actual addy a few times and it looks right to me…

  • I think there's more to it … I'd rather make my top half look bigger, but I'd still choose the dark blue top, because the red top is just too bright. If I wear patterned skirt, the top is definitely going to be subdued.

  • Also, most patterns include colors from more than one "seasonal" palette (or whatever term is used for whichever color system you use). When that's the case, it's important to pull one of your colors for the top half, since you'll be using so much of it!

  • Question:
    I have a tight fitting red skirt with white circles on it, I have no idea what to pair it with!
    I was told to pair tight red skirts with loose white shirts,
    so I’m thinking red skirt, loose white dress shirt, but then what do I do for my shoes? and should I leave my legs bare or do tights? I really hate my legs and desperately don’t want to do bare legs. D:

    Or should I do red shoes, grey tights, red skirt, white tank top with grey cardigan or just a grey sweater?

    • You could go nude with the shoes, or do a tight in a colour and red shoes or shoes that match the tights in colour, also navy goes really well with red and white – so you cold wear a navy top and navy tights and shoes too

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