Mix & Match Styles
The trend during the 1950s to wear matching clothing ensembles was followed by women from every social class. After the rationing, or limiting, of fabrics during World War II (1939–45), women embraced the availability of luxuries once again. Their outfits reflected the flood of products on the market. Accessories once limited by the war were available in all price ranges. Women eagerly accented their flowing skirts with an array of hats, gloves, belts, handbags, and shoes. But by the 1950s women’s desire to accessorize began to fade. To combat falling sales, manufacturers advertised a new fashion: mix-and-match clothing.
Matching ensembles became a craze among women in the United States and Europe. Women of the 1950s began obsessively matching the various pieces of their outfits, buying bags, belts, hats, gloves, shoes, costume jewelry, and even nail polish in matching colors. Designers also began creating mix-and-match outfits, enabling women to wear specially designed looks.
In the 1960s women began to foster their own individualized styles and shunned mix-and-match clothing. However, the legacy of mix-and-match clothing lives on in children’s clothing. The Garanimals brand of children’s clothing created in 1972 continues to sell mix-and-match clothing that identifies matching separates with colorful animal tags. Children can choose their own clothing outfits by matching the types of animals on the tags, confident in knowing that a shirt and pair of pants labeled with matching panda tags will look good together.
Source: Ewing, Elizabeth. History of Twentieth Century Fashion. Revised by Alice Mackrell. Lanham, MD: Barnes and Noble Books, 1992.
Some tips from Selene Oliva @Vogue Italia:
“The risk is looking like Harlequin, and it’s not even Carnival time. But combining and mixing patterns and colors is a true art. The right balance can debunk even the strictest rules. Before Yves Saint Laurent pairing black with blue was a true style faux pas. Today it’s a truly chic combination. Considering Italian fashion tradition regarding patterns and textiles and the new mix & match trends, we will give you a few tips on how to combine colors and textures and create a balanced and original look:
Block Colors. Solid, strong hues, like brushstrokes on a white canvas.
Patchy, patches, patchwork. A sartorial technique that assembles together different types of fabrics to create a new visual pattern.
The same pattern, but in different shades of color. It looks like the designers were not sure about what color to choose. The result? Pairing the same pattern in two different tones. An understated and balanced solution if you don’t like excesses.
50/50 (garment). Two faces of the same coin or, better, two fabrics for the same garment. The dress, the pants or the coat are visually divided into two, to wear two patterns simultaneously.
50/50 (look). The outfit visually breaks in two: the striped top is teamed with a printed circle skirt or a lace pencil skirt, a graphic monochrome suit is worn with a watercolor camo print. Use your imagination.”
High and low is the way to go. “It’s become the chic approach to mix it,” says Burke. “It’s a badge of pride for women. They have so much taste, they can pull it off.” A one-shoulder Topshop dress paired with Balenciaga sandals trumps a head-to-toe designer look any day. Recessionistas love to boastfully reveal their thrifty, inventive pairings. Knapp’s go-to outfit is a pair of her husband’s cargo pants, a Mischen silk blouse, Marni stacked heels, and a chunky flea-market necklace. But whichever way style setters put together their mélange of high-low looks, the key is to remain original. “Not wearing the ad-campaign look or the already-worn-by-three-pop-stars outfit is important. Overphotographed, overdistributed, so-extreme-as-to-be-one-season-only looks aren’t current,” says Easley. “In today’s day and age, it’s not modern unless you mix it,” adds Roy. “The style icons we all love — Kate Moss, Sienna Miller — all do it and do it well, proving that it isn’t the dollar amount one puts into an outfit but the amount of style and chicness that comes from within.”
Check out some more Mix & Match styles with MANTILITY Scarves