“The Prints and the Pauper” or “How to Mix/Match Prints”

by Borderstan.com August 11, 2011 at 1:56 pm 1,560 0

Bad Plaid

“Bad Plaid” by khelan on Polyvore.com.

From Khelan Bhatia. You can follow Khelan on Twitter @KhelanB. He lives in the U Street area and writes about style for Borderstan.

Click on the image to see the Khelan’s outfits on Polyvore. Details include brands, prices and where to buy.

Hi there, Borderstanis.

A few weeks ago, I saw this guy on the street wearing a plaid shirt…with a pair of plaid shorts. Now, as I’ve mentioned before, I love plaid. Hell, some of my friends have nicknamed me “the King of Plaid.”

At right: Bad Plaid” by khelan on Polyvore.com.

But this was too much. The cacophony of prints kept confusing my eyes to the point that I couldn’t even give him a disapproving glare. I chalked it up to an isolated incident… a clueless fashion victim from a flyover state who was visiting our fair city. Or so I thought…

Unfortunate pairing

“Unfortunate Pairing” by khelan on Polyvore.com

A week or later, I saw it happen again. And then again the next day. Was I going mad? Is plaid a virus that, if unchecked (see what I did there?), threatens to take over our entire wardrobes?!

Bad Plaid

Well, no. Histrionics aside, there are a few among us who’re going overboard on mixing prints. For example: The shirt and shorts above right in “Bad Plaid” are fine on their own, but together they look a bit, well, ridiculous.

Only Jack Donaghy can pull off “power clashing.” So, is it possible to mix prints and not look like you dressed in the dark, still hungover from the previous night’s festivities? Absolutely.


“Better” by khelan on Polyvore.com

Unfortunate Paring

Let’s start with a pair of plaid slacks. Listen, I realize they aren’t for everyone, but stick with me here for a second… and, please, ignore the shoes. No square tips, ever.

Above left: “Unfortunate Pairing” by khelan on Polyvore.com.

We’ll pair the plaid slacks with three different tops. Like the shorts and shirt I highlighted earlier, separately these two items are just fine, but together it looks like a jumpsuit. The pattern on the shirt and the pants in “Unfortunate Pairing” are way too similar — not to mention the color.


Let’s try it again, shall we?

Above right: “Better” by khelan on Polyvore.com.

Okay, so I realize that I cheated here a bit, as the top in “Better” is mostly a solid. But there’s pattern in the collar and the hem. And who the eff cares if it’s cheating — it’s a snazzy little outfit!


“Best” by khelan on Polyvore.com


Yeah yeah, I can tell you’re not quite satisfied. So let’s give this another shot.

Here, we’ve got the aforementioned blue plaid slacks, a yellow striped shirt and a blue tie with very subtle spots that have a greenish hue. There’s a lot going on with this look, but it works.

At left: “Best” by khelan on Polyvore.com.

The louder print on the pants anchors the outfit, while the yellow and white stripes on the shirt complement the slacks. And the tie works well with both the shirt and trousers.

So that’s it for me this week, folks. Talk to you soon.


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