How to create a working wardrobe and get the right balance between basics and heroes? Whether those heroes are patterns or items in bold colours or textures that make their own statement it’s worth identifying the right balance or ratio for your wardrobe. This is the topic of discussion I had with Jill Chivers of Shop Your Wardrobe.
How Many Patterns Should You Have in Your Wardrobe?
When you have either too many heroes or too many prints in your wardrobe it stops being so functional and then it’s hard to mix and match and create outfits with more variety.
Not all prints and patterns are heroes in your wardrobe. Some are more subtle, like a fine subtle stripe, whilst others are bolder and demand the spotlight of your outfit.
If you repeat the same pattern, in the way the Jill repeats animal prints in her outfits, in smaller doses, such as in accessories, they may communicate a more subtle hero approach.
Patterns in neutrals may not be classed as heroes in your wardrobe, in the way that a multicoloured pattern becomes more of a statement.
How Many Prints Should You Have In Your Wardrobe
Signature Prints which are worn almost every day will take up more of your wardrobe. Jill’s wardrobe is around 50% leopard print as this is her signature style element! But as she wears her leopard prints in neutrals, they work as the neutral or base for many of her outfits.
I would say I have 25% or less of my wardrobe as prints, the rest is solids that can be mixed and match with my prints easily to give me the feeling of more variety and interest.
If you love prints, I would say (unless you’re like Jill and wear prints as your neutrals) think about 30% of your wardrobe as prints, the rest in solids.
Heroes Versus Supporting Acts in Your Wardrobe
Given that I use jewellery and accessories such as scarves frequently as my hero item, there are fewer heroes than supporting acts. Like in any movie, the supporting cast is greater in number than the leads (hero and heroine).
I like wearing patterned and coloured skirts and these heroes allow me to add a heroine necklace to my outfit as they are separated by a supporting act (solid top).
Personality Dressing Styles
- Dramatic and Creative styles demand more heroes in outfits.
- Relaxed, Classic, Feminine and Elegant Chic demand fewer or more subtle heroes in outfits.
Wearing a print can do the work for you in putting together an outfit. It can add drama, personality and creativity and it simplifies dressing quickly and easily without having to think too much about putting lots of different garments together.
As we discussed in this post, the different personality dressing styles will look for different kinds of prints (read this post and watch the video here).
If you are more petite, be a little more careful about the scale of your prints as it’s easy to be overwhelmed by larger scale prints when you are a smaller person. That said, there are rule breakers like Iris Apfel.