A tiger changes her stripes.

I like my closet the way I like my coffee—strong and simple for everyday, jazzed up for special occasions. I’ve embraced uniform dressing over the past nine months, and taking a more formulaic approach to fashion has made my morning routine worlds more efficient. For first dates/job interviews/anything that could possibly end up documented on Facebook, getting dressed should be a bit of a production. But for the daily grind? Let’s be sensible. I love a good peacocking, but there are ways I’d rather spend a Tuesday morning.

I recently wrote about how I’m tired of fashion. Tired of trends. Tired of buying things only to want more things a week later. I believe in establishing a personal style aesthetic—one that leaves room for experimentation, but keeps you grounded, financially and otherwise, in clothes that leave you looking and feeling your best. But the truth is, I do have a trendy side. And while I used to indulge it with cheap high street pieces from H&M and Zara, I realize nowadays that I usually don’t need to. I can create the same effect with things I already own, save money, and end up with an interpretation that looks more like me to boot.

So we’re doing this. One trend. Three ways. Using items I already have in my closet. Because plain old outfit posts feel kind of vain and played out for those of us with ghetto cameras/non-model proportions, but themed tutorials fall under the umbrella of educational (if only to convince you that you will never, ever put clothes remotely resembling mine on your body) and therefore excusable.

Let’s talk about print mixing.

Ladylike minimalism may be back, but the gaudy traces of the man repeller era still won’t quit when it comes to prints. Prints on prints (on prints on prints on prints). The bolder the better. The bigger the clash, the higher the fash(ion). But how does print mixing translate to the preppy tomboy aesthetic I’ve come to own by day? Can a self-proclaimed “classic peacock” carry off a visual smorgasbord without betraying her loafer-loving roots?

Two words: stripe mixing. If I’m wearing a print, I’m wearing stripes. Polka dots? Too cutesy. Leopard print? Eh, only on accessories. Stripes inhabit the holy intersection between straightforward and playful, embodying my love for all things classic with a sense of madness. Let’s see how they hold their own when paired with three not-so-subtle printed counterparts.

[J.Crew shirt, Elevenses pants, Keds shoes.]

Stripes on florals. You know, the staples: LBD, trench coat, pleated mum-print trousers. Who doesn’t own a pair? Good with a white tee, better with a striped sweater. A bro tuck and raggedy old sneaks keep the boatneck-and-pedal pusher combo from feeling too prissy. Bro tuck the shit out of that shit, bro.

[H&M shirt, vintage belt, vintage skirt, Topshop shoes, Michael Kors watch.]

Stripes on fruit. Stella McCartney was the first to produce produce for the masses last spring, but Dolce & Gabbana and Moschino ensured that the trend would be ripe for the picking in 2012 as well. Technically, this skirt is already stripe mixing all by itself, but I’ve gone bananas and added another layer. How do you like them apples. Orange you glad I didn’t wear my striped belt too? I think that would have been berry fetching. Okay, plum out of fruit puns.

[BDG shirt, Cooperative dress, Zara shoes, Michael Kors watch.]

Stripes on…stripes. (On stripes on stripes on stripes). This is probably my favorite combination. I do this a lot. Sometimes they face the same way, sometimes they don’t. The key is to keep your stripe types distinct enough that it’s clear you don’t believe they actually match. Matching is not the goal here. Matching is the enemy. MITE.

So there we have it. The Emma Aubry Roberts version of print mixing. By combining zanier prints with a mainstay of my wardrobe’s usual aesthetic, I’ve exercised the pursuit of trendiness without losing my style identity.

Are you a uniform dresser or a daily mixologist? What do you think of prints on prints (on prints on prints on prints)?

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2 responses to “A tiger changes her stripes.

  1. you are the drug dealer of horizontal stripes… you got me hooked years ago and I will never recover.

    • emmaaubryroberts

      C’mon, man, I know you want another striped shirt. This one’s made in the USA. 100% cotton. You’ve never had a shirt like this.

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