Scallop evokes the scales of a fish, or perhaps an enchanting mermaid. Deploy your scallop in a bright colour, or even multiple colours – an ombre is ideal – in order to maximize your mesmerizing moments of magistery. If anyone mistakes you for a mythical creature while in such a state, simply tell them to bring you a lump of coal, which you’ll turn into gold, and then, when their back is turned, jump into the nearest body of water and swim away, as wearing scallop will undoubtedly turn you into a mermaid for realsies.*


*I can’t fully confirm this to be true as I don’t actually own anything in scallop.


Paisley is a sophisticated pattern for a modern woman on the go. And by modern woman on the go I mean leisurely lady of a certain age moving at a languid pace. It’s a bold pattern, but also a slightly confusing one because it’s very loud and yet somehow also rather staid. This contradiction makes it perfect for the ladies-who-lunch set. Such women, while appearing cosmopolitan, tend to be among the most rambunctious creatures to be found among those who lunch on a professional basis. Try not to get between them and their dressing on the side lest you find yourself with a paisley clad elbow to the face.



Chevrons are like little arrows pointing north and south simultaneously. They remind you that no matter which path you take in this life, it will always be full of regrets. There is no way to win, but with a kicky pattern and a cute belt, at least you’ll look good while wallowing in a string of inevitable failures.



Tears are liquid sadness, and yet a teardrop pattern, while more melancholy than a polka-dot, is nevertheless more upbeat than one might imagine. The pattern seems to be falling, but perhaps also rising. It oozes and seems malleable but also contains hidden depths. It’s a great pattern for a day dress that showcases your enigmatic personality.



You can’t beat damask when it comes to fanciness factor. If you’re throwing a high-end dinner party, be sure to decorate your dining room with damask wallpaper, and damask drapes, and a damask tablecloth, and wear damask too, from head to toe. Peak damask is peak fancy shmancy. But don’t mess with damask, or damask will mess with you, and by that I mean I’ve said the word damask so many times now that I don’t even know what reality is anymore. DAMASK!



Being a smart woman who knows what she wants in today’s world means being aggressive and unafraid, passionate and driven. What better way to express such animalistic yearnings than by wearing an animal print? My favourite is leopard but feel free to experiment with zebra, tiger, crocodile, or heck, even giraffe! Any animal print will convey the idea that you’re a wild and sassy go-getter! But if you’re wearing the actual skin/fur of an actual animal, well, that conveys an entirely different message that will arouse a variety of reactions, depending on context and the people you surround yourself with. I’d say in today’s cultural climate it’s only safe to wear, say, baby seal fur if you’re in the actual arctic, living off the land and such.



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.


Polka dots

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.