Fool-Proof Looks: Tips to Rock Patterned Bottoms

Fool-Proof Looks: Tips to Rock Patterned Bottoms

Greater Than Rubies Patterned Bottoms 3 Ways

If your heat index is headed from blazing hot up toward scorching (thank you, Tejas!), and you’re looking for a way to freshen up your summer wardrobe, patterned bottoms are a trendy-ish but super versatile option.

I say trendy-ish, because they’ve been around for a couple of years now, and don’t seem to be going anywhere. Even so, unless they’re in a classic cut (like a pencil skirt), I won’t spend much on them myself. I found this pair earlier this year at The Limited for between $20 and $30.

Whether you opt for a maxi, a-line, or pencil skirt, prefer palazzo pants, ankle trousers, or skinny jeans, or a pair of shorts is more your style, each is an easy way to add color and visual interest to an outfit without adding heat. They’re also a great way to remix a ton of your favorite tops with just one purchase.

Today, I’ll show you three ways to style patterned shorts. The concepts work with any patterned bottom, so use these as inspiration for your pieces, but don’t feel confined by them. As Tim Gunn would say, “Make it work!”

1. Choose a solid top and add a statement necklace.

  • A simple tank, tee, or blouse lets the pattern be the star of the show. Add a statement necklace and wedges to dress up the look just a bit.
  • To create an office-appropriate look, swap the shorts for a pair of printed bermudas or pants and add a cardigan.

2. Pair prints with a button up. 

  • Mixing a bold piece with a tailored piece is a great way to look modern and pulled together.
  • Cotton button ups and flowy fabrics are both great lightweight options in the dead of summer. A chambray button up like this one is perfect for running errands or worn to a cookout.
  • Style the shirt a couple of different ways for a fresh take: half-tucked as shown, fully tucked in for a tailored look, or knotted at the waist to give off a retro vibe. Dress up the look with a silky button up and some wedges in place of the more relaxed pieces.

3. Add a completer piece of your choice. 

  • Jean jackets are perfect for pulling together a casual look, or you can pair a tailored pair of patterned pants with a blazer or cropped jacket for work.
  • If it’s extra hot, opt for a lightweight cardigan or a statement necklace instead.

Because I love tricks and breaking down why things work so you can apply them to your very own closet, here are a few more for ya! 

  • To create a cohesive look, pull colors for the rest of the outfit from the color of the pattern (like the tank under the jean jacket), pair your print with a neutral (such as the button up), or go for a color that compliments the shades in your pattern (like the yellow necklace). 
  • Be bold and mix prints! For fool-proof pattern mixing, just be sure to mix no more than 2 prints at a time, ground the look with a neutral, and let one print be the star of the show. For example: pair a large print with a smaller one, or pair a colored print with a neutral pattern.

What about you? Do you have a pair of printed bottoms or do they freak you out? Or make you laugh like me because I’m immature and can’t say, write, or type ‘patterned bottoms’ without breaking out into hysterical giggling.

About the Author


  • Becky @ bybmg August 19, 2014 at 9:04 AM

    I LOVE printed bottoms! I got my first pair of printed shorts this summer, but I’ve had printed pants for a while now and I love it!

  • Amy G August 19, 2014 at 7:08 PM

    I’ve had printed skirts in my closet forever, but I keep thinking about trying some printed shorts. They look like so much fun! But I haven’t had a chance to try any on, and with how mild our weather has been this summer, I’m not sure it’s worth it.

    • Caitlin Author August 20, 2014 at 7:43 AM

      It may not be! I’ll trade you our heat for a little cool breeze… :) Hope you’re having a great week, Amy!

  • Felicia August 19, 2014 at 11:24 PM

    I love the length and pattern of these shorts. Great work!

  • Jenni August 21, 2014 at 10:03 AM

    I’m so glad to have found someone battling the Texas heat this summer! We drove to Austin last weekend (I live near Waco), and oh my goodness, 100+ degrees and outside way too much. I’ve had my eye on patterned shorts all summer but haven’t taken the time to really look for any. Maybe now I will!

    • Caitlin Author August 22, 2014 at 9:27 AM

      It’s the perfect time to buy since they’re all on sale! :) Hope you have a cooler weekend!

Leave a Reply