Spots and stripes

Check out these popular patterns and materials to make a statement this season.


Melanie Kim/THE CHIMES

Morgan Mitchell, Writer

It is fashion’s favorite month: September. New York Fashion Week is underway and designers are presenting their fall/winter lines for the world to see. Vogue comes out with an issue almost as thick as the Bible — worshipped just the same — and fashion enthusiasts pour over the pages, soaking in the new designs and models.

This season did not disappoint us.

Alternative Print

Andres feels cool and comfortable in this alternative print windbreaker. | Melanie Kim/THE CHIMES

Designers are aiming for the louder, the better. Crazy patterns, stripes, polka dots, drawings and florals strut down every runway at every show on both male and female models.

The pattern that seemed the most fun this year was alternative print, meaning anything that is bizarre or lacking continuity and flow. This print was in the lines of Karen Walker, Emilio Pucci, Laura Biagiotti and Christopher Kane. Alternative prints have been placed here and there on runways since the 1970s and are easily found in thrift stores.


Stephanie Forsyth mixes two trends in one with this stripe and mesh dress. | Melanie Kim/THE CHIMES

When you want to keep it simple, but also make a statement, stripes are the go-to pattern. Stripes have been a long-time favorite for designers and this season proved no different. Valentino flaunted the classic black and white stripe pattern and other designers such as Michael Kors, Alexander Wang and Oscar de la Renta included stripes in their collections this season. Stripes became popular in 1847 from a painting by Franz Xaver Winterhalteanr of a boy in a striped marine jacket.

You can find this pattern virtually anywhere, at any thrift store or department store. If you are trying to appear taller or thinner, vertical stripes create an optical illusion that gives you a slimmer or taller appearance. If you are trying to appear more voluptuous, horizontal stripes will give that appearance.


Stephanie Forsyth admires art in a trendy dress bought at Forever 21. | Melanie Kim/THE CHIMES

A trend we will be thankful for if we see more hot weather this fall is sheer material. This see-through style can be seen as racy or provocative, but it serves a delicate purpose this season and strutted down almost every runways. It was featured by Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Michael Costello, Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino.

This trend is still young, being made popular only seven years ago. If you are not comfortable with the style of covering everything and yet nothing at all, you can wear clothing that only has sections of mesh in safe places like the dress on our model, Stephanie Forsyth. Though you can easily find mesh at Forever 21 and H&M, this modern material may be a harder find at thrift stores.

Unique Florals

Andres studies the painting in front of him while sporting a unique floral print carpet jacket. | Melanie Kim/THE CHIMES

Despite the fact that it is fall and not spring, floral is popping up on runways this season and not in the graceful way you would expect. Instead of just blossoms, we are getting leaves, trees and cacti. This season shows us the unique side of the floral print. Valentino features a dress that has leaves and branches starting at the top and spreading out at it flows down. Apu Jan takes us under the sea with ocean plant life prints on a few of the outfits in their line. Giles has dresses that have mushrooms and branches with not a single bloom sewed on.  Valentino also has a wild dress featuring lions and cacti on top of sheer material with stripes at the neckline, which is quite the combination of seasonal trends.

The floral pattern dates back as far as history can go in Asian countries and began to spread globally in the 15th and 16th centuries. Finding floral, especially the earthy side of floral, can be difficult in fall and winter at department stores, but thrift stores do not have seasonal clothes so they are a safe bet for finding that springtime funky, floral jacket.

Works of Art

Stephanie Forsyth adjusts her hair while flaunting an artwork pattern Betty Boop jacket. | Melanie Kim/THE CHIMES

The most interesting pattern this season is the artwork pattern. Anything appearing drawn or painted or even scribbled falls under this category — other names for it are abstract, artistic, cartoon or kid scribble. This pattern is the most fun way to stand out while also displaying your interests. This pattern was featured in Moschino, Valentino, Claire Barrow, Dolce & Gabbana, and Giles.

It is hard to say when this pattern started, but it appears to be a very young trend that has not seen many seasons yet. You can find a lot of abstract and artwork patterns on shirts at H&M and Forever 21.

This season, dare to spice up your wardrobe and express yourself loudly. Make the top designers proud without having to pay the designer price.


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