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How to Mix and Match Fabrics and Colors Like a Pro

How to Mix and Match Fabrics and Colors Like a Pro

If you are a fashion enthusiast, then finding high-quality pieces of clothing probably comes easy and is fun. Even putting together beautiful outfits is simple.

But, if sustainability is also important to you, then you must learn to develop the skill of restyling clothing so you can combine the same clothing items in new, unexpected ways and extend the life of your wardrobe.

Part of learning to restyle clothing is understanding how to mix and match different fabrics and different colors.

How to Combine Fabrics Well

Experimenting with various types of fabrics can significantly improve your personal style, once you learn how to match fabrics with ease. This information about textures and fabric types will help elevate your overall look.

Clothing Textures

Although you might associate the term “texture” with a soft fur coat or a scratchy wool sweater, every piece of clothing has some sort of texture.

Knowing the three main types of weaves will help you understand texture better, because the type of weave frequently determines the texture of the fabric.

Twill

A diagonal rib pattern is twill weave's identifying characteristic. Twill weaves are characterized by a distinct, frequently black front side (referred to as the wale) and a lighter back. Twill is ideal for chinos, upholstery, and bed linens because of its high thread count, which makes the fabric opaque, thick, and long-lasting. A twill weave fabric is similar to houndstooth, tweed, and denim

Satin Weave

A satin weave produces a glossy, supple, elastic fabric with a lovely drape. The surface of the satin cloth is shiny on one side and matte and drab on the other. Satin is ideal for handbags and gowns in the haute couture style, as well as for luxurious bedding.

Plain Weave

brown taffeta fabric

To create plain weave fabrics (like canvas, taffeta, and muslin), the warp and weft (vertical and horizontal threads) are overlapped at right angles. On both sides of the fabric, this creates an identical crisscross pattern, which results in a fabric that looks the same on both sides.

Types of Fabrics

There are five common types of fabric that may be in your wardrobe. These fabrics are the ones you will mix and match most frequently.

Corduroy

Soft and sturdy, corduroy is one of the most common fabrics used to make clothing. Corduroy has a distinctive texture: parallel, tufted lines called wales that run along its surface, which gives clothes a specific look. While corduroy is typically made of cotton, some corduroy items can also be made from wool.

Common corduroy items include pants and jackets and are most often worn in the cold weather months of fall and winter.

Denim

Denim is a strong, durable fabric that is made of cotton. It has a twill weave that gives the fabric a distinct diagonal ribbing pattern. This diagonal ribbing is what sets denim apart from fabrics like canvas or cotton duck, which are very similar.

Denim is a staple in wardrobes with most people owning several pairs of jeans, shorts, and perhaps a denim jacket.

Cashmere

The coveted fabric known as cashmere is created from the wool of pashmina and cashmere goats. Cashmere is a natural fabric loved by many, mostly because of its luxuriously soft feel and excellent insulation qualities. Although delicate to care for, this fabric is worth the trouble.

Cashmere clothing commonly found in a woman’s wardrobe include sweaters or cardigans, scarves, gloves, and socks.

Silk

Silk is a natural fabric, made from the fibers of silkworms and known for its unrivaled glossy smoothness and high durability. This is a fabric predominantly used for the production of formal clothing and accessories, although recently, it is gaining popularity as a luxury bedding fabric because it’s naturally hypoallergenic. With proper care, quality silk can last a lifetime.

Leather and Suede

a crop image of a brown leather skirt and leather boots

Any fabric manufactured from an animal's hide or skin is called leather, but cowhide is the most often used material.

Suede is also a form of leather created from the animal's soft underside. In comparison to conventional full-grain leather, it is silkier, thinner, and more delicate. Suede shoes, jackets, and accessories are very fashionable.

All leather fabrics are durable, recyclable, and in some cases, even water-resistant, but they all require regular care to maintain optimal shape and function.

Tips for Wearing Fabrics

Knowing how to match fabrics is a skill every woman needs to create chic outfits. There is an art to layering various fabrics into one distinctive look with a fashionable result.

1. Identify your neutral fabrics.

Many of the recommendations for mixing and matching patterns also apply to mixing and matching fabrics. Just as some classic prints like stripes or polka dots can serve as neutrals, some simpler fabrics can provide a neutral quality that would complement a bolder fabric.

Some of the most adaptable fabrics that function as neutrals include denim, cotton, leather, and suede. An addition to this category is merino wool, which pairs nicely with more striking textures, but only when worn on small items that will not steal attention.

2. Consider a limited color palette.

You'll have more freedom to experiment with various fabrics if you stick to a more constrained color palette. This, of course, doesn't mean you will need to restrict yourself to wearing all black, but simply that you can utilize neutral colors to anchor your outfit or go with two or three complementary solid colors.

3. Find the fabric’s context.

Certain fabrics evoke certain moods. Silk gives any ensemble an opulent vibe. A black leather jacket elevates a checkered flannel shirt from warm to serious, but when that same flannel shirt is worn with corduroy, it feels cozy.

Denim is a casual fabric, and it looks amazing when worn as a part of casual outfits. Yet, for a relaxed, yet fashionable style, you can pair a satin tank with jeans.

Consider the context in which you may wear a certain fabric and then pair it with other fabrics to subvert expectations, creating a wonderful mix and match of different types of fabrics.

How to Combine Colors Well

One of the best ways to give your wardrobe some excitement and increase your confidence is to embrace colors. If you are unsure how to mix colors, the color wheel is a great tool that will help you.

The Color Wheel

A color wheel is a circular diagram that shows the relationship between various colors. The first color wheel was created by Sir Isaac Newton and published in the book Opticks, written in 1704. Seven colors were used to make Newton's asymmetrical color wheel: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

More than a century later, in 1810, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe created a symmetrical color wheel that had only six colors (indigo was excluded) and was similar to the one we use today.

a palette of sand colors

Fashion designers and artists utilize color wheels to develop color palettes that have the desired creative effect.

Here are a few helpful tips for using a color wheel to combine colors in an aesthetically pleasing and stylish way.

Analogous Colors

On the color wheel, analogous colors are located close to one another and share a common hue. If you are new to mixing colors, combining clothing with analogous colors is a comfortable first step.

For example, let’s consider blue. On the color wheel, blue is positioned between teal and blue-violet. So, if light blue is your chosen color, add a teal or blue-violet to create a soft, two-color palette for your outfit.

As a general recommendation, avoid combining bright and pastel colors. And, select one color to be the star or main focus, with the rest serving as secondary, supporting actors.

Complementary Colors

On the color wheel, complementary colors are opposite one another. Combining opposites on the color wheel produces a stunning contrast that brings out the intensity of each color.

To begin, look at the color wheel and locate your favorite color. The complementary color is found by drawing a line directly from your chosen color to the other side. Paler colors are simpler to combine than their vivid counterparts, especially if you prefer a toned-down look. For optimal results and best effect, it’s best to wear primarily one color and accent with the other.

Tips for Wearing Colors

1. Experiment with unmatching accessories.

Spending time matching your belt to your handbag and shoes may be unnecessary, unless your goal is a completely monochromatic ensemble. Actually, using vibrant colors on these small items is a terrific way to add vibrant colors, and even unmatching elements, to your outfit.

2. Use denim as a neutral fabric.

You can combine denim with any other color, even blue, and it will probably look excellent. Think of denim as a neutral color. You can wear multiple denim items at the same time. The simplest way to do this is to choose denim pieces that are similar to one other yet distinct enough to prevent your outfit from looking overly coordinated. Consider wearing dark wash jeans with a mid-wash denim blazer or mid-wash jeans with a light-wash denim shirt.

Fabrics, Colors, and Sustainable Clothing

Thanks to the increasing popularity of sustainable clothing, brands have created sustainable clothing in a variety of colors and fabrics. Some of the most popular natural fabrics include organic cotton, wool, silk, and linen. Try experimenting with several different types of fabrics to determine which ones you like best.

FAQs

How do you put different fabrics together?

“How to mix fabrics” is probably one of the most searched questions by any aspiring fashion enthusiast. It may seem difficult to decide which fabrics designs work well together, but the key is to repeat colors and change the scale of prints. Find your neutral fabrics and use them to build your outfit with a solid base.

How do you match fabric patterns?

When matching fabric patterns, one of the most useful pieces of advice is to follow a formula, such as picking two colors and a neutral, incorporating at least three different patterns, or varying the scale of the patterns. But the most important rule is that it’s ok to break the rules. Having fun experimenting and finding your own personal style is the ultimate goal.

a close up of a woman wearing green and yellow clothing with an olive colored purse

Learning how to combine colors and fabrics creatively is the best way to create an endless combination of eye-catching outfits.

However, just like any new skill, it can seem complicated at first. If you are new to this, remember to keep it simple. Go slowly, perfecting one element at a time before moving on to the next.

Keep in mind that self-expression is at the heart of fashion, so you can’t go wrong if you feel confident about the way you look.

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