Pattern Clash!

So. This week’s theme for the NZ Style Curvettes’ ‘Outfit Challenge’ was Pattern Clash…

Before I get carried away, please be aware that there is nothing I love more than a good print. 90% of my wardrobe is made up of bold – and sometimes downright garish – patterns.
BUT (and this is a big but!) I cannot wear things that aren’t completely and immaculately colour coordinated at all times. Normally, not an issue – I just wear something printed, with plain coloured accessories, and everything goes nicely and it’s all wonderful. This week, however, I really struggled to pattern clash without just straight-up clashing, thus overloading my obsessive-compulsive tendencies to the point of self-destruction. Drama queen, I know.

After finding the first day such a challenge, I decided to step it up and try and pattern-clash each day this week. I’ll have to admit, it got much easier once I remembered that polka dots and stripes are basically a neutral, and can go with anything, but the hard part was still going to be colour-matching my mismatched prints.

I’m in dire need of a root touch up, and I haven’t been keeping on top of my eyebrows much this week either, but basically nobody sees me during the day because I work from home, so I’ve stopped caring. Plus it would be a huge waste of makeup.
Anyway – Here we go!

DAY 1 – Monday


Day one was where I fell over with this challenge, I think? I have a heap of navy-and-white skirts, and a heap of navy-and-cream tops, but I couldn’t get past the white-and-cream problem, and almost nothing had the same shade of navy as anything else. After coming very close to admitting defeat (and with Tony repeatedly looking at his watch…) I decided to just fucking put something on so we could leave, and found the closest colour match I could with these two items!
The skirt is actually a dress I made a squillion years ago, that still fits in the waist, but any attempt to fit it over my chest would quickly become, well, somewhat indecent. It’s a super cute geometric nautical print though, and I love a good nautical theme (can you tell?!) so I’m going to have to get around to just cutting off the bodice one day soon.

The top, however, is one of those things I bought off the sale rack at City Chic without trying on, because the faux-silk is actually pretty nice, and I love a good polka dot. I thought the shape could have some potential, but alas, on me – no dice.
It has two layers – One is just a singlet made of the polka dot fabric, which has no stretch so it has very boxy shape, and then the other layer is a floaty gathered bit, falling from the neckline over the bust, in the same fabric. This extra layer covers my waist, but it’s not quite long enough to be cinched in with a belt, so it’s a bit of a dud on me. Definitely geared more towards women with smaller busts, or who have a less defined waist, as it would create more volume in the bust and add the illusion of shape. Unfortunately though, I don’t need any more volume in the bust, so I think this one will have to be put up for sale.


I managed to find a big red sash in my wardrobe to help hold the floaty bit down, but this just added more bulk to my waist, so I ended up feeling pretty self conscious all day, which is not something I am at all used to!

Top – City Chic
Skirt – Homemade
Petticoat – Ebay!
Shoes and Necklace – Pre-loved
Scarf – Vintage

DAY 2 – Tuesday


After the disappointment of Monday’s outfit, on Tuesday I decided to try and start small with pattern-mixing, so had a browse through the dark corners of my wardrobe to find things that I might have forgotten about.
This dress is another homemade one, that was originally a costume for a Barn-Dance that I went to a few years ago (back when I could actually, you know, dance) that has somehow integrated itself into my real wardrobe. And once again, the bodice has become somewhat, uh, ‘indecent’, hence the singlet underneath.
Cleavage aside, this dress is a bit of a gem, because it matches so well with all the browns and golds in my tattoos, and I’ll be honest you guys – I get way too into ‘themes’ in my wardrobe.
(I have four main ones – Nautical, Western, Tropical, and B-Grade Horror – and I really struggle to pass up anything that fits any of those themes. I’m also getting quite the collection of Mexican-themed prints, so I guess that’s probably on the list too now)


I paired it with brown and gold accessories, and a trusty old favourite – My leopard cardi from Cotton On. It’s old. Like, so old, but I still love it.
I really need a really floofy tan or brown petticoat next, I think, to go with this dress.


Dress – Homemade
Cardi – Cotton On
Shoes – Pre-loved Andrea Renzi
Bag and Scarf – Vintage
Petticoat – Ebay
Belt – Pagani


DAY 3 – Wednesday

Let me start Wednesday with a wee bit of a flashback – I have always loved vintage, and vintage-reproduction, but there was a time in my life that my wardrobe was dominated by black, vintage or otherwise. The overall style of my wardrobe hasn’t changed drastically in the last 10-12 years, but there have definitely been some major changes in colour palette! 


2007 – 6th form School Ball – Vintage Gown

2008 – Final Day of High School! Vintage dress and Bangle

Francis first gig Ark 017

2006 – My band ‘Sceriosis’ playing at Ark Cafe in Dunedin!

These days, I almost never wear black. I often feel like it drags my mood down, but there are some pieces in my wardrobe that I have refused to let go of.

Subsequently, Wednesday was a bit of a light-bulb moment – I could totally get away with this combo, considering I used to wear this exact outfit all the time when I was a teenager!


This skirt was from a vintage prom dress that I bought to wear to my 5th form School Ball (in 2006!).
My mum and I found it for virtually no money at the Hospice Shop, and while the bodice was far too small, and quite damaged, it fit almost perfectly in the waist so would only require minor alterations to turn it into a skirt! I’ve always been interested in making things, and sewing my own clothes, but this was one of my favourite projects because I got to work on it with my Mama, and came out of it with a super-cute skirt for the ball, which I just wore with a fitted black t-shirt (and my Chuck Taylors, if I remember correctly!)
I’ve worn it countless times since, and while it used to sit on my hips (and had to be pinned to sit at my waist) keeping it a bit on the larger side has worked out in my favour it seems, as it still fits my waist, despite  gaining a reasonable amount of weight in the last 10 years!


The cardi is one that I bought around the same time, I think, from Farmers. I have always had a rather, uh, curvy figure, no matter my size, so I have been snapping up cropped cardigans since, like, puberty, so I can emphasize my little waist. This one has a higher neck than I usually wear now, but the big satin bow makes me happy.
It’s also really warm, which was super useful in the eternal winter of my homeland (Dunedin), but not so much in the tropical north, so it doesn’t get a lot of wear here. But, you know, nostalgia wont allow me to get rid of it just yet!


Also going to show off my adorable Miss L Fire shoes, because they are so damn sparkly, and given that I have to wear flats all the time, I’m always really excited to find cute ones that fit my size 10 hooves.

Skirt – Vintage
Cardi – ‘Switch’ brand, from Farmers
Flowers – Homemade
Belt and Necklace – Preloved
Shoes – Miss L Fire

DAY 4 – Thursday


As most of you know, I have a spinal problem that messes with my mobility a bit. It’s not usually a huge issue, and I’m all about pushing through and dealing with it, but there are some days that I just need to stay in bed.

Of course, I’m also easily bored, and I don’t like to be unproductive, so I spent Thursday in my fluffy dressing gown, hanging out with my giant cat, Selene, and reorganising my wardrobe!
I mostly needed to be realistic, and let go of my whole over-the-door rack full of gorgeous heels that I can’t wear anymore, so I could free up some space for my ever-expanding hat collection, but I decided to use the opportunity to do a full re-stock and uncover some treasures that I may have forgotten I had.


So here are most of my hats and bags, all my remaining heels (I’m just not ready to let go of these ones!) and all of my  dresses and skirts, as well as 17 petticoats crammed down the side there! Thankfully there’s a whole lot more space on either side of the doors that you can’t see, one side for petticoats and the other for evening gowns and winter coats, but it does sometimes mean I forget about things because I can’t see them!
All my tops and cardis are in a set of drawers in my room, and all of my flats are on racks in the hall, to save space in the wardrobe, but I’m looking at options for better use of the storage space I’ve got…In my ideal world, we’ll just flag getting a new flatmate, and I’ll turn the spare room into a dressing room, but that’s not exactly financially viable right now…!


DAY 5 – Friday


Ughhh Friday…..Such a dreary day! It’s been a long time since I’ve seen rain quite that serious, so there was no way I was leaving the house. My crutches don’t grip so well in the wet, and I’m not going to risk taking a tumble if I can help it, so thankfully all my work was stuff I could do without going outside!
But I did have client coming over to get her hair and makeup done, so I couldn’t really stay in my pjs, so onto the final day of pattern clash!

I’ve only worn this top a handful of times, because the only thing I ever thought to wear it with is a plain black skirt….it wasn’t until this week’s challenge that it occurred to me that I could most definitely pair it with one of many polka-dot skirts / dresses I have in the same colourway, without it looking silly!
I chose to try it out with my Lindy Bop white and red polka dot dress, with the bodice folded down, because it kept it quite light, and I didn’t have to worry about the reds not quite being the same shade!
Wearing swing dresses as skirts is a really handy way of extending the wear of your clothes, and really getting the most out of your wardrobe!
It’s pretty self-explanatory (fold bodice under the skirt of the dress, and tuck it into a petticoat if you want to disguise the bulk of the bodice) but Miss Victoy Violet has a great step-by-step if you want a bit more instruction!


Top – City Chic
Skirt – Pre-Loved Lindy Bop Dress!
Belt – Pagani
Petticoat – Hell Bunny from Rita Sue
Scarf and Necklace – Pre-Loved
Shoes – Kmart

So. That was my week of Pattern Clash. It was harder than I thought, and not because I don’t have enough clothes! It was just a big mental block that I needed to get past, and I think I’m well on my way through that!
It was definitely helped along by this photo from yesterday’s Pamper Parlour at the Silo Vintage Market though, which made me realise something – as a heavily tattooed woman, I am always pattern-clashing!


Photo by Grantis Apiata – G13 Photography

So there you go! Don’t know what I was so worried about!

Onwards and forwards – This week’s theme is ‘Tee’, which sounds easy, but as I discovered during my wardrobe clear-out, I only own one t-shirt. so I think it’ll be a short entry next week…!
<3 Fran


1 Comment

  1. Yvonne

    I love that you have so many lovely vintage style skirts/Dresses I Adore the striped cardi from your youth and the skirt! I would kill to get one. Its wonderful . Your last outfit is pretty! I have never thought to flow down a bodice before. **Der** Thanks for the tip!!


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