Florals are feminine and flirty, and will make you seem both friendly and fancy. Indeed, floral is the perfect pattern to wear when executing a devilish deed, as no one would suspect the lady in the flowered dress. The show Marvel: Agents of Shield even played with this stereotype by having a villain named “lady in the flower dress”. So whether you’re working for a major corporation or simply doing your groceries, feel free to commit fraud or sneak a jar of olives into your handbag, as you’re sure to get away with it.
You can never go wrong with a stripe. Stripes are orderly and practical. They’re a good way to wear a pattern without fear of overdoing it, or drawing focus. Horizontal stripes are a classic, and many fear the vertical, but pinstripes are timeless and elegant. Gender-neutral and casual without being sloppy, stripes keep you on the level, and keep you in line.
What is more whimsical than the polka dot? A dress that might otherwise be viewed as overly fancy will immediately be rendered more casual if it’s made from a dotted fabric. On the flip side, something overly simplistic, such as a tee-shirt and jeans will become pleasantly playful if that tee is polka-dotted. A man in a polka-dotted tie will be seen as more friendly than a man wearing a stripe, or god forbid, a solid. Deploy a tiny, barely perceptible, dot for an upscale look, and go larger for a more daytime affair. The larger the dot, the more whimsical the look, right up to the point where you’re wearing a big red nose and floppy shoes, and absolutely killing it as you do so.
Unless you’re wearing a kilt and playing the bagpipes, participating in the Highland Games, or are otherwise actively Scottish, you risk invoking a slight schoolgirl connotation when wearing plaid in skirt form. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however, as plaid is also professional and entirely work-wear appropriate. Plaids involving red risks being too traditional, or too lumberjacky, but purple plaid is appealingly modern. You will be perceived as conservative yet kicky, which is the right balance to strike whether you’re in staff meetings, in your cubicle, or plotting revenge against those who’ve wronged you.