Patterned Heroes vs Solid Supporting Acts – What do You Need in Your Wardrobe?

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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.

How many prints and patterns should you have in your wardrobe as compared to solids or supporting act garments? This is the video discussion that we delve into on this blog post - read more here
Jill Wearing supporting act patterned accessories

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 and patterns should you have in your wardrobe as compared to solids or supporting act garments? This is the video discussion that we delve into on this blog post - read more here
Wearing a patterned hero

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.

How many prints and patterns should you have in your wardrobe as compared to solids or supporting act garments? This is the video discussion that we delve into on this blog post - read more here
Jill wearing her hero print and signature print leopard dress

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.

How many prints and patterns should you have in your wardrobe as compared to solids or supporting act garments? This is the video discussion that we delve into on this blog post - read more here
Here Jill’s top is a hero but she’s wearing it more as a supporting act – and as a neutral

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).

How many prints and patterns should you have in your wardrobe as compared to solids or supporting act garments? This is the video discussion that we delve into on this blog post - read more here
Hero patterned skirt with smaller hero necklace

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.

How many prints and patterns should you have in your wardrobe as compared to solids or supporting act garments? This is the video discussion that we delve into on this blog post - read more here
Jill wearing her signature hero print in a pant

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).

Petite Tips

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.

Her Dramatic and Creative personality and large-scale facial features allow her to break all the “scale” rules for hero prints and accessories.

Iris Apfel Accessorises boldly with heroes

9 keys to unlocking your style free download from Inside Out Style blogMore Tips on Prints and Patterns

Patterned Skirt – What Colour Top?

Patterned Skirt, What Colour Top?

How to Mix Stripes with Prints

How to Create an Outfit Around Your Scarf

How many prints and patterns should you have in your wardrobe as compared to solids or supporting act garments? This is the video discussion that we delve into on this blog post - read more here

Linking Up to High Latitude Style,  Currently Wearing,  Not Dressed as LambStyle NudgeStyle with a Smile

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8 Comments

  • Imogen and Jill, I just love these videos, not least hearing the great Aussie twang! Imogen, I have learned so much from your blog. I knew dark, bright, cool colours suited me but now I know (after gorging on your many posts) that I need to dress for my high value contrast, low colour contrast and classic/feminine/relaxed personality. All that had been saving me from nothing-to-wear syndrome were a few loved accessories. My uninspiring, dark wardrobe had contained nothing but dreary, solid neutrals that had me disappearing into the background. Thanks to you, I’ve been adding lighter shades of colour so I can now create people-can-see-me achromatic and monochromatic outfits. And I now own plenty of stripes, flowers, spots and yes, even ‘little birdies’, subtle but cute. A girl needs some heroes! Now I actually have fun getting dressed. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • How lovely Sue that you’re adding interest and life to your wardrobe . So many of us end up in a ‘safe’ rut of dark neutrals for fear of getting it wrong!

  • Imogen, this post is so helpful! I find that I am gravitating to more solids as I get older, as I tend to tire of the prints faster. I am enjoying using scarves and jewellery to add interest. Your post will help me look at my wardrobe and the proportion of prints, patterns, and textures going forward.

    • I’ve gone through liking prints then getting bored with them – it does help to know your “print personality” too *(that is what part of your personality dressing style the kinds of prints you like come from). There have also been years when I look at many of the prints in stores and think they are on the more ugly side. Textures add interest, as do other details if you don’t want to go down the print road too!

  • Again an interesting topic! Although my style (and personality) has dramatic and creative aspects, I don’t really like prints, so my “heroes” have other caracteristics. Apart from some bigger scale “jewelry” and clothes with strong, intense colour, I also own garments with dramatic style elements, like big collars or cutouts, or pieces that are somehow unusual, like tube tops or holdernecks, palazzo pants or vests.

  • Leopard is probably my favourite print – I love Jill’s wrap dress! I’m trying to introduce more good quality basics into my wardrobe so they act as the foundation for standout garments. As the foundation pieces get the most wear it makes sense to invest in these.

    Emma xxx

    • Isn’t Jill’s wrap dress great! Supporting acts are important – though more boring to buy often – unlike the heroes which feel more fun to buy! But without them wardrobes just don’t work.

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