Dressed for: Fiber Clash

Already Pretty outfit featuring military jacket, olive green sandals, watercolor dress, Suzi Chin dress

Dress – Suzi Chin via Ideeli – similar print
Jacket – thrifted – similar
Sandals -INC via Opitzsimilar (in olive green)
Bracelets – Target (no longer available) – similar
Earrings – Swirly Keen courtesy April Kawaoka

Recently, I’ve worked with two clients who had questions and concerns about fiber harmony. When I paired silky dresses with stiff jackets – as I’ve done here – they said this clashed with their own ideas about which fibers and materials work together. For many of us, instinct dictates that silky goes with silky, flowy, soft materials, while stiff goes with structured, crisp, harder materials. So we talked about ideas of juxtaposition within outfits – how a military jacket like this creates interesting contrast with the slippery silk dress. One client loved the idea, one was more reluctant!

And you? Do you feel more comfortable keeping like with like when it comes to fibers, or do you like to mix it up and juxtapose?


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13 Responses to “Dressed for: Fiber Clash”

  1. Cynthia

    Sally, I love this combination, but I must admit that sometimes I have trouble figuring out whether my juxtapositions “work” or not. Do you have nay easy rules for this?

    • Sally

      Hmm, good question, Cynthia. I’m not much for strict rules, but I find that in my own outfits doing just one item in the “clashing” style can work well. So here, it’s flowy dress, heeled sandals, fairly organic jewelry and the single “tough” element is the jacket. Might that formula help you?

      • Cynthia

        Perfect! So simple, but I hadn’t picked up on that. Many thanks — I love your blog and have learned so much since I started following 🙂

  2. AnnR

    I think the trend has been towards mixing types of fibers, but it’s always good to do a reality check…

    A lot depends on the circumstance. At work you may not want to look like you threw an army-surplus jacket on over a slip.

  3. Vive

    It took me awhile to realize that my favorite combos have this kind of juxtaposition — military jackets and silky dresses; lacy, flowy shirts with jeans and boots; feminine skirts with jean jackets. I don’t always have the guts to go for them, but I’m always drawn to them. I love this look on you, and I’ve always loved that jacket. I went out looking to replicate it in my own wardrobe.

  4. Patti @ NotDeadYet Style

    I like to mix soft and rougher fabrics too, and I love a denim jacket with everything. It’s one of the reason I don’t often buy “sets”, or at least don’t wear them that way. Your outfit has the unexpected mix : >

  5. Kookoo

    I think you mix this well, and am all for it since the weight of the shoes and jacket balance the dress? I will do similar fabric combos, but not everyone is a fan. Good thing they can look away.

  6. Anna

    This summer I found a classic denim jacket on sale! my size! the right length! that I snapped up but have not yet worn because it’s still too hot. While waiting for cooler weather, every so often I haul it out and try combining it with various lighter-weight garments, other colors (but no denim-with-denim for me, thank you) as a rehearsal for the fall. By now, during this incubation period, I have invented so many ways to wear it that I’ll be able to go for weeks without repeating any combination. None of mine will duplicate the look here (I have no print dresses) but I can see that my one-and-only print skirt will play well with the jacket. I love the freedom offered by these many possibilities.

  7. Dee

    I mix fibers all the time, but when I think about it I have two rules: one, the heavier fabric/fiber has to be the outer piece of clothing. For instance I would usually not wear a silky jacket over a stiff fabric, but would do the reverse like Sal is doing. My second rule is that I won’t wear a fiber that is “not in season” with one that is, for instance no cordoroy jackets over linen or summery fabrics. Some fabrics are pretty seasonless such as silks and cottons, twills and denim. One of my pet peeves is people that wear fabrics out of season — for example, just because its a cool day, if its still summer DON’T put on a WOOL OR VELVET sweater or jacket! I much prefer to see a denim jacket or a cotton cardigan (not a wool one!). I love denim jackets and as they are very popular right now, at least in the midwest, you can seem to get away with wearing them in almost all settings depending what you pair it with.

  8. Kate

    Hey Sal,

    When you’re wearing jackets or cardigans, could you show maybe one picture without the jacket or cardigan on? Sometimes I wish I could see the dress better! 🙂


  9. Aging fashionista

    Love that look. Agree it depends on the setting, work, date, etc. but,its a fun way to punch up a look