Privilege Blog

An Artsy Cousin Shows The Way

Today I offer you photos sent in by one of our frequent commenters. As always, please extend your best hospitality and civility to our guest.

This, everyone, is Artsy In Boulder. Please extend your warmest welcome. She’s here at my behest, and yours, really. After this post, I was asked for more photos of pattern-mixing. As you know, I don’t have many pictures of my own, because Sturdies don’t have the gene. But we can learn, if we seek guidance.

So when Artsy and I were exchanging emails, I asked if she wouldn’t mind sending along some photos of how she does it. Turns out she’s obliging, as well as creative. Our good luck.

This is pattern-mixing. Approachable, cheerful, pretty, fun pattern-mixing. See? It doesn’t have to scare the children. Sure, there are more belligerent modes. Aggressive Hipster, for one. I Traveled From Turkey To Timbuktu, for another. But as always, when style is done right, you’re the creative director and you get to choose.

You can adhere to a reasonable budget too. Artsy shops at Nordstrom, Target, Anthropologie and thrift stores. The above is Prabal Gurung from his Target collaboration.

If you’re still dubious, try a more subtle approach, with subdued colors and small-figured patterns

I would never tell you you’ve got to mix. That would be rude. Artsy wouldn’t want to either. She’s very nice. But if you’re so inclined, you’re among friends.

Thanks Artsy! A final interesting tidbit. Artsy was one of those who seemed, in the comments, to know an awful lot about the High WASP culture. Turns out my father and hers were at St. Paul’s together. Small world, albeit a transforming one. As generational points of connection vanish, the best part of America is how we make up new.

46 Responses

  1. Inspiring. As I approach my 59th bd, I have been challenging myself to branch out. E.g. wearing jewelry that I was saving for some special event. Now every day seems special, and I overdress on a regular basis. Haven’t had the nerve for patterning though – that’s next.

  2. Artsy wears her patterns with great panache. Being more of the Sturdy Gal myself I admire the ability of artsy gals to carry this off and would never try this myself.
    That Prabal Gurung look is gorgeous.
    What a coincidence about your fathers!

  3. Ah, St. Paul’s. It connects so many!

    I LOVE this look. On Artsy. She is confident and calm and she wears her clothes, not visa versa; that IS the essence of dressing well.

    I could sound jealous (which is only a teeny tiny issue) and say Artsy would look good in the Hipster, Timbuktu, or feed-sak versions of pattern mixing, but why go there?

    It is beautiful, not for me, but beautiful.

  4. I agree with Margaret Goodhouse – it is beautiful, and Artsy wears it well. But, alas, it is not for me. It took me years to abandon the ‘slimming’ effects of black and navy for brighter colors and any patterns at all; I fear I will never have the confidence required to mix them and do it well.

  5. Your friend does the mixing well. It looks like it comes natural for her.
    Nice to see pictures like these, effortless.

  6. I’m a Sturdy Gal myself, but I absolutely LOVE that first outfit and would wear it in heartbeat (sans the anklets). Maybe I’m “artsier” than I realized. I tend to think of pattern mixing–as long as the colors are coordinated on some level–as a nod to an exquisitely decorated, classic home: toile, checks, paisleys, and a little leather!

  7. My gosh I love these outfits! What an eye for colour and pattern Artsy has. I am particularly fond of the first look, just gorgeous.

  8. Oh, I love it! I am also very excited that I own the same cardigan in the top photo. I can’t wait to try to pattern mix with it.

  9. Looking at these photos is like looking at art- beautifully done, and I found myself staring at the details to figure out why it all works so well. I think I could manage the last one, the subtle approach to mixing. And I want those heeled oxfords in the first photo.

  10. I’ve never been very fond of pattern mixing–until now. Your friend’s mixes are beautifully arranged and the pieces look like they enjoy each other’s company.

  11. As someone whose pattern mixing consists of a scarf with tweed jacket, this was fun to see. Thank you Artsy.

  12. fanTAStic! Artsy, I’m happy to meet you, and I love your style. May we have a tour of your house next time? I see a vivid wall color beckoning from the background…

  13. Quite well done. For the first look, am appreciating the skirt’s diamonds echoed in the hosiery (where they may be polka dots, but with the crinkles, look diamond-shaped).

    Attractive brogues. Wingtips for the 21st century.

    The second and third ensembles are pretty, too, although not as head-turning as the first.

    You and Artsy so resemble one another. You could be sisters.

  14. Artsy has an eye for color,the gift of knowing what works together, and the confidence
    that pulls it off so brilliantly. Bravo, beautifully done and looks so lovely on you!

  15. Thank you, Lisa, and fellow “Privl-o-philes,” for your great kindness and generosity; I’m truly blown away. What a therapeutic opportunity to take a (very) deep breath and flout that Great and Terrible High-WASP Commandment: “Thou Shalt Not Be Showy, Nor Call Attention to Thyself in Any Way.” May we all enjoy and celebrate each other’s unique self-expression.

    1. Yes! But I wish you wouldn’t cook chicken with your QVC feathers! Just kidding, Seventh Sister!!!!

  16. Such an elegant mix of patterns I am impressed.You wear them in a very understated way this is a compliment.
    Do you have to spend time working the patterns out?would love to know more….thank you for sharing.Ida

    1. Hi, Ida
      I don’t spend much time working the mixes out; the clothes and my closet do that for me. I don’t hang my clothes by color or type of clothing; I’m more of a “pattern-capsule clusterer.” I ask myself questions along the lines of, “Would an interior designer throw these fabrics together in an interesting arrangement of throw pillows,” then hang the garments near each other willy-nilly and see how well they get on together.

  17. Echoing all of the “Beautifully done!” feedback. The cardigan at top is an exceptionally gorgeous piece. As she shows here, having colours and fabric weights mostly the same while mixing pattern scale and type keeps outfits cohesive.

  18. Beautiful outfits, and I’ll definitely be taking some inspiration from these pictures. It’s amazing the stylistic similarity that comes from the fact that you have similar cultural backgrounds.

  19. As someone who can *never* mix patterns well, I loved this post. Artsy looks so elegant but approachable, I am rather wowed by the thought of trying it myself. (Quietly, with trepidation.)

    Sending you a smile,

  20. I love Artsy’s mixing style. I can only do it ever-so-subtly, but I recognize the artfulness when I see it.

    About St. Paul’s: A wry friend from the inner city once commented on the “small world”. She said, ” Of course it’s small at the top of the pyramid.” I think of this each time one of our old connections happens. And I value the connections very much. But you are so wise. Moving on, making new connections…”Only connect” (Forster).

  21. To Bunny Williams:

    [Chuckle]…tardy dawning-lightbulb moment here (I rarely watch TV). I bought the dress at a consignment store, didn’t recognize the label (Isaac Mizrahi Live!), and idly wondered whether it was a shopping channel line. You’re on the money! Do they cook a lot of chicken on QVC? I cringe at the thought of being an on-air hostess working the sautee pan: my grooming habits are probably best described as “slapdash tomboy Sturdy,” and my fingernails wouldn’t stand the close-up scrutiny. Cheers!

  22. You are all going to be completely jealous because I have had an opportunity to actually go shopping with Artsy! She happens to be my friend and you are all correct in saying that she has outstanding taste.

    She has this incredible eye and is extremely talented at putting patterns and color together, believe her when she says that she shops at many different types of stores from Target to Anthro to consignment. It’s not just how she puts it together, she also has the confidence (and body) to wear it and wear it well. It seems to be effortless to her, second nature.

    The good part is that the rest of us get to watch and learn from Artsy so hopefully she will continue to share her beautiful ideas and style! Love you Artsy, lets go shopping!

    p.s. And yes “Flo” her house is way beautiful, can you imagine?

  23. I love the first outfit. It,s gorgeous. Would Artsy tell us where the sweater was purchased?

  24. I love how Cousin Artsy mixes patterns. I’m soon to be 57, my beautiful mom getting close to 80, and since I was a little girl my mom started dressing me in mixed patterns. My mom has a wonderful eye for style, so did my grandmother. I mix patterns, and colors. I love it.

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