Fashion colorwheel ©academichic.com
By Cathy Ann Sauer / Buyer, Nina Raynor

Texture, color, pattern. The foundation of any good design scheme. Interior decorators work magic with it, and anyone who enjoys decorating understands the concept. At least, they should!

However, most people toss aside the idea of texture, color and pattern when pulling together an outfit. Big mistake. These three items can make the difference between drab and dramatic. They give an outfit, just like a room, dimension.

While there is an infinite list of variables on this theme, below are a few ideas to help you put the three to work with your wardrobe.

The idea is to create interest whether it be subtle or bold. And the season where texture, color, and pattern are most noticeable, is autumn. Don’t think living in Florida gives you a pass on fall fashion. Nubby knits paired with smooth silks paired with light wools, all in a palette of color or tone, mixed with pattern can create a smashing look.

Keep in mind, there is no need for a variety of color. A monochromatic color scheme works beautifully when paired with texture and tone. Take the color gray (a personal favorite). Create a sophisticated statement by pairing tones of gray with a variety of textures. Cotton, silk, knit, leather, and lace add interest to a monochromatic scheme.

Another key is layering. Not for warmth, but for style. For example, a tailored blouse layered with a lightweight cardigan, layered with a pashmina wrap, over a leather skirt. You get the idea.

Work with complementary colors. If aubergine, forest, and chocolate feel too dark, opt for fushia, olive, and caramel. And don’t go digging out your “Color Me Beautiful” books! You know what colors look best on you. Just make sure you pair the colors together correctly.

The tricky part of the equation is pattern. Not everyone is comfortable pairing patterns together, and with good reason. If not done wisely you can end up looking like a frump rather than a fashionista. For instance, if you have trouble picking out a man’s tie to go with a shirt, mixing pattern may throw you. Keep it simple. A check paired with a dot. Floral and stripe? Sure. A clean stripe that picks up a color in a floral is perfect. Unlike decorating a room where there can be a bundle of patterns, an outfit is best with no more than two or three.

If you are not comfortable with any of the above, don’t feel anxious. Experiment (in front of a mirror, not a crowd). Go window shopping. Mannequins and store merchandising are meant to guide you on what works well together. The next time you flip through a home style magazine, check the fabric swatch storyboards (in fashion it’s mood boards). These show how tone, texture, pattern, and color mix together. Don’t worry. You won’t end up looking like a couch and an armchair.

Once you feel inspired, give it a try. It will perk up your look and give you multiple options for your wardrobe.