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mixed pattern outfit with denim and knit

Textures, Prints, & Patterns: Adding Visual Interest to Your Outfits

Many people are turning towards minimalist and capsule wardrobes for a variety of reasons. Whether you prefer a smaller wardrobe because it’s more sustainable or it makes it easier to get dressed for the day, adding visual interest can be difficult when you need pieces that seamlessly blend together. The best way to incorporate a little more excitement into your ensembles without creating a clashing wardrobe is with textured, printed, and patterned outfits. These visual elements provide balance and contrast to an outfit without having to use overwhelming colors to get the job done.

If you’re curious about using textures and patterns to elevate your look without expanding your closet, explore this guide from Crescent for inspiration.

What is Texture? 

The look and feel of the material used in your clothing is the texture. Texture can be created by the material itself or through a specific weave. The material and weave of a piece of clothing determine the type of texture you can expect. Browse some of the most common outfit textures you can expect to see here:


Denim is one of the most popular clothing textures. It’s a strong cotton fabric that utilizes a twill weave. Most denim clothing doesn’t come with prints or patterns, so it’s considered a great neutral choice for printed outfits. You can find denim in classic blue, along with numerous other washes, to ensure you can create cohesive outfits for every season.


This soft fabric texture is known for its distinctive tufted cord that runs vertically along the material’s surface. Corduroy can be made from cotton or wool, so depending on the base material, it can be an excellent texture for both cool and warm seasons.

Vegan Leather

A material made to mimic animal hide, vegan leather can range from ultra-smooth and shiny to rough and pebbled. We love seeing leather textures with patterned outfits to balance the busy design with a matte material.


Flannel is a great choice for textured and patterned outfits because it’s typically both! The soft woven fabric is made from cotton, and it’s the most popular material for plaid shirts.


green knit vest

knit crop top and cardigan set

A piece of clothing that’s made of one continuous thread is considered a knit. The knots of a knit have a very distinctive look, but they can range from large and chunky to small and sleek. At Crescent, you can find knit sweaters, but we take it a step further with knit dresses, cropped tops, and more.


Another textile made from natural materials, silk, is produced by silkworms. It’s very durable and shiny with unmatched softness. Many people like to wear silk for formal outfits and professional environments.

What is Print? 

A print is when a pattern is applied to a piece of fabric with dyes instead of being woven into it. Printed outfits include digital printing, screen printing, and block printing. Typically, prints don’t have any physical texture because it’s the dye that creates the pattern as opposed to an embroidered thread.

What is Pattern?

Whether it’s dyed into the fabric or woven in with threads, any repeated design is called a pattern. Patterned outfits are incredibly popular because they add visual interest to an ensemble, including florals, geometric designs, latticework, stripes, plaid, houndstooth, and so much more. However, you should keep in mind that while a print is a pattern, a pattern is not a print.

Mixing & Matching Outfits with Patterns & Textures

It’s easiest to view mixing and matching print and texture when you treat both as a pattern. Traditionally, you want to find common characteristics between the pattern, print, and texture in your clothing to create a cohesive theme or design. If you’re looking for a few simple rules to help you put together a textured and patterned outfit, consider identifying neutral styles, looking at the mood a style evokes and matching colors throughout your ensemble.

Neutral Patterns & Textures

Simple textures and classic prints are both considered neutral. Denim, leather, and suede are some easy neutral patterns that can create an ideal base for your patterned outfit. Neutral prints and patterns include polka dots, stripes, and checkers. You can also consider a pattern neutral if it comes in subdued hues, like earth tones, grays, blacks, and whites.

Moody Patterns & Textures

mix and match plaid jacket and leather shorts

floral print midi dress

Textures and patterns definitely tell a very specific story. Silk and satin, for example, lend themselves to sophistication, elegance, and glamor, while denim and corduroy are all about utility and performance. Even knits and flannels have a vibe, namely cozy comfort.

Patterned outfits operate the same way as textures. Floral designs evoke a lighthearted energy, argyle and houndstooth are sober and businesslike, and animal prints are whimsical and wild. Depending on the tone of the occasion, your pattern and texture should match the mood.

Mix Patterns/Textures & Match Colors

Your capsule wardrobe probably already has a limited color palette. This type of closet frees you up to play with textured and patterned outfits even more! You don’t necessarily have to dress in monochrome, but using different neutral tones can help you anchor your look.

Feeling Inspired?

Have we opened up your wardrobe to new possibilities with our overview of patterns, prints, and textures? Show us your inspired ensembles when you tag us on social media today!

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