Style book: How to mix patterns?

I love colors and patterns. After all, the entire African continent is widely known as the Wax continent, where colorful and bold patterns reign supreme. The “African” cotton wax fabric is so intrinsic to fashion in the multi-cultural continent I was born in that people forget its true origins: Indonesia. But I digress…

When I was asked to share my approach to styling the cotton wax through Zigida, I met many women who found the fabrics and my designs very appealing, but struggled to incorporate the bold patterns into their closet. Many reached back to me that, while they were quick to purchase my skirts and dresses, they could not pair them with anything they already own, without looking like clowns or fearing to be labelled with cultural appropriation.

I will leave the topic of “cultural appropriation” to next week’s post on Africa and Fashion. As far as rules and tips on mixing/pairing patterns, I usually follow the three rules below.

Rule #1: “Pair bold patterns with solid colors, in the same color family”.

I would typically pair my printed skirts with a neutral colored blouse or tee (beige, white, black, navy, or a pop of bright color), or a matching solid colored shirt. You can also pair any print with a simple white tee and a solid colored jacket, sweater or vest. Rule #1 is fail proof if you’re just getting started.ebelandi_colormix_2

Below, I pair the Zigida Minda skirt with a simple white tee (I have a houndstooth jacket on my arm…see rule #2) and further down, it’s a simple white blouse and matching shoes.img_6723

ebelandi_colormix_3

You can also use a very soft print, almost solid-like pattern to pair with your bolder patterns once you get more confident, as I’ve done below with another Zigida skirt paired with an old J.Crew sweater.ebelandi_colormix_1

Another combination from this model below (image credits per link).softpatternRule #2: “Pair bold patterns with stripes, animal prints or ‘simple’ houndstooth patterns – in the same color family”.

The idea here is that stripes and animal prints play the role of neutrals. This also applies to very simple houndstooth patterns. I saw this combination on many runway looks during fashion week. Below is how I’ve paired stripes with the Zigida circle midi skirt.ebelandi_colormix_4Another example is what Morethanturquoise has done with her Zigida skirt (image courtesy of linked source):morehtant

Below is an example of Olivia Palermo in a leopard print (shoes) mixed with bold florals (image courtesy of linked source):  

Rule #3: “Stick to a maximum of three different patterns together”.

I read somewhere a while back that any more than three bold patterns is too distracting to the eye and I tend to agree. My favorite pattern mixing blogger, Blair Eadie, does it well here, mixing dots, stripes and animal prints (image courtesy of linked source).

Note – This post is sponsored by Zigida, a market place for modern apparel and accessories inspired by high quality and colorful cotton fabrics.

Designed by Bel: First dress!

Yes am still sewing…This month, am working on a long sleeved dress with a pretty red and white fabric.  Unfortunately, at the time of this post, I still have to attach the sleeves to the top of the dress. However, am running late on posting, so below are pictures of my progress and I shall update with the finished dress once completed!

ebelandi_designed_by_bel_21avril15_3 ebelandi_designed_by_bel_21avril15_2 ebelandi_designed_by_bel_21avril15_1

Designed by Bel: Circle and Pencil

For January, I am presenting my first two skirts (really, it should be three but I shall share my failure shortly).  You see, my baby sister challenged me to actually sew items I would wear. So, super grande soeur (aka moi) opted for a high-waisted pencil skirt with an exposed back zipper. All pictures below are my own and should not be copied without my written authorization.

So, off I went to JOANN store for a long zipper and some threads. Ended up with a beginner sewing kit, cutting mat, ruler, lining fabric and curved ruler for hips and shoulders (I believe it is called French ruler…why French? I digress). Came home afterward, picked my best fitting pencil skirt for measurements , chose a cute red, blue and white Wax fabric I have had for years, cut it and six hours later (and lots of frustration on the way), obtained this first lined skirt below. All looked OK but the skirt was too big, and uneven. All disappointed, I gave up. Did not even take a final picture as I was so disgusted (ah, the drama lol).

designedbyBel_ebelandi_failed_high_pencil_skirt_1 designedbyBel_ebelandi_failed_high_pencil_skirt_2 designedbyBel_ebelandi_failed_high_pencil_skirt_3 designedbyBel_ebelandi_failed_high_pencil_skirt_4

 

Then I remembered how I have been asking my younger sibling to be resilient in life and felt so little about my quickness to throw the towel that I had to give it another try. Now, humble but determined, I opted for an easier skirt, the circle skirt.  Very simple, all done within three hours (still frustration and a broken machine needle on the way).  Am very proud of the result below.

designedbyBel_ebelandi_circle_skirt_1 designedbyBel_ebelandi_circle_skirt_2 designedbyBel_ebelandi_circle_skirt_3 designedbyBel_ebelandi_circle_skirt_4

So proud that I even put together an outfit 🙂

designedbyBel_ebelandi_circle_skirt_5

Now strengthened by my humble success, I revisited the high waisted pencil skirt.  Took a lot of patience, broken needles, re-stitching, measuring and about two days (really eight hours combined as I had other projects to attend to) and below is the finished product.  Am soooo happy 🙂

designedbyBel_ebelandi_high_pencil_skirt_1 designedbyBel_ebelandi_high_pencil_skirt_2 designedbyBel_ebelandi_high_pencil_skirt_3 designedbyBel_ebelandi_high_pencil_skirt_4 designedbyBel_ebelandi_high_pencil_skirt_5 designedbyBel_ebelandi_high_pencil_skirt_6

Looking forward to my February sewing assignment! What do you think of my designs? Please comment!

 

Introducing: Designed by Bel – Pleated Top and Pencil Skirt

Throughout this year, I have been blogging on a few African Designers every Wednesday or so (have tried my best to keep a consistent schedule) under the Afrique & Fashion tag.  On occasions, I have also posted some African designs that I have worn myself, and few readers have asked me personally to post more of my own African ensembles.

Starting today, I will be posting, on a monthly basis, one of my own designs. I am at the early stage of sewing (not even beginner) but I usually draw or put together various pieces then ask an expert seamstress to sew it all for me. Will keep the weekly ebelandi’s African Designer of the Week posts but on the first Wednesday of every month, we will have a “Designed by Bel” post where I will model an outfit that I have designed on my own (sewed with help of paid seamstress where applicable) with inspiration pictures if applicable as well.

My very first Designed by Bel file below.  Let me know what you think?

 ebelandi_designed_by_bel_1dec2014sweater/belt/booties