Jul 26, 2016
Fashion isn’t my thing, but from the first time I visited Japan, I noticed something funny. It seems like most people wear solid colors, maybe mixing in a pattern here and there, but some people wear some crazy combinations of patterned clothes. They also seem to act like this is normal or even stylish. (Maybe it is stylish, I wouldn’t know.)
The first time I saw a businessman on the train in a plaid suit (different patterned trousers and jacket) with another plaid for his tie, I remembered the way I dressed in all the patterns possible as a joke in high school.
This can be really cute for kids under ten years old. They can get dressed by themselves and be super stylish. On adults… I kinda wonder what’s going on. It’s a mini version of what happens to my brain when I go shopping: visual overstimulation. If anyone can enlighten me, I’d be happy to understand. I have an irrational fear of accessories and patterns.
To protect the innocent, I didn’t take photos of random strangers’ outfits, although I kinda wish I could without being rude. In no way do I want to look down on pattern clashers – they have a unique style plus the confidence to pull it off.
First we have the “stripes and stripes match” theory. Same goes for polka dots with other polka dots, plaid with other plaids, florals and florals. That last one might be pushing it a little. (But they both have butterflies?)
Then we go a step further with this. When I see something like “Hawaiian print plus Hawaiian print,” I cannot help but just stare. It makes sense to wear the Hawaiian floral shirt with the coconut tree shorts right? Some people want to look like a landscape?
Last, the one that makes my head so confused, is crazy patterns with other crazy patterns. I took a photo of two patterns in a store that at least use a similar color scheme, but usually what I see is completely random. Green and white plant pattern skirt plus navy and white boat pattern T-shirt plus purple and blue zig-zaggy pattern shirt. Sure.
This type of pattern combination could be related to the fact that kimono are patterned and worn with a different pattern obi (plus sometimes other items like geta and bag). This is a rather complex matching process from what I hear from kimono-nerds, with each pattern having a unique meaning and era where it has become popular.
Purely to reduce my decision making and for lack of interest in fashion, I’m a minimalist and stick with about five solid colors and the occasional simple polka dotted or striped item. I sort of cringe at most women’s clothing so I stick with the basics at stores like Muji and Uniqlo. This probably makes me more sensitive to all the pattern clashing.
Or you can call me a color/design snob. That's okay too. Don't take it the wrong way, just tell me why this is alright. Does it hurt your eyes too?
I like snacks, Engrish, cats, plants eating buildings, riding a bike, photography, painting, onsen, traveling, playing board games with my nerdy Japanese husband, and living in Japan. I blog at https://helloalissa.wordpress.com/
This post reminds me of "The Rules" from that old TLC show "What Not To Wear." If I'm honest, I could totally see myself putting some of these patterns together from my own wardrobe, but then, I'm also probably a good candidate for a wardrobe makeover. What I try to remember 1. Colors should "Go" not "Match" 2. Patterns need to be contrasting if they're paired (aka one BIG floral pattern could work with a pinstripe) 3. A complete outfit has a touch of each: color, texture, pattern, shine. That said, I have def. seen my fair share of pattern combos here. My favorite was the lady in head to toe leopard print varieties.
@KpQuePasa That's the show my mom threatened to sign me up for because I only wear jeans and T-shirts! Hah, leopard lady.