How Unexpected Pairings Make Casual Dressing More Interesting

Kimara Mitchell Stokes

Combining prints may be a hot trend but having the talent to make this work without looking like a disorganized mess is another thing, unless you are Kimara Mitchell Stokes.

Kimara is an award winning art director, the creator of the San Fransisco Fashion Film Festival, and a lifestyle/fashion blogger. With that kind of background it’s no wonder she’s an expert at mixing things up.

Kimara’s got a great eye for color and pattern and knows how to creatively combine pieces to give her outfit that perfect twist.

Even I, who had never worn a lot of pattern, am starting to think twice about playing with prints. Kimara’s interesting style has my wheels turning and given me a few ideas for how to pair pieces in a way that adds more personality to my casual wardrobe.

Here’s a peek at Kimara modeling some cool clothing combos and the story behind these looks which I hope will inspire you too.

DeborahBoland2124Deb: Kim – You  look so relaxed and confident in your photos like you’ve been dressing this way all your life. Has this always been your style, or did you grow into it? 

I used to be a major tomboy, wearing vintage men’s blazers, over-sized button-down shirts, pegged jeans, and loafers. But now I mix in feminine pieces. I love unexpected pairings like a pencil skirt with a graphic t-shirt or evening pieces during the day like sequins and shine.

Deb: Tell us a bit about the 3 looks you sent in and where you wore them?

Look # 1 – Work-To-Party Outfit

Deb: This outfit looks so practical and so cute at the same time. I admire how you took a chance with all the mixed prints. It’s pretty interesting. Was this a first for you?

Kimara: A print skirt with a t-shirt is a go-to for me, and this time around, I wanted to try something different from my usual solid colored tee.

I had never worn these pieces together before, and when I put the outfit together in my head, I thought it would look great. It been one of my favorite looks ever since.

I’d say this is the quintessential work-to-party look for me. On the day I wore this outfit, I had meetings during the day and a blog event that evening, so I wanted to be comfortable and confident and I was!

Look # 2 – Business Presentation

Deb: Wow, these color blocked pants are a really fun statement and you pull this look off with class.

Kimara: Thank You, Yes, I’m lucky that I work for a fashion retailer. My dress code is pretty flexible. This is another business look for me that I wore for a presentation.Being from the East coast, wearing color is fairly new for me, but I’ve been experimenting with which colors look best on me.

I’ve always been a dresses/skirts and jeans girl. Because I have a pear shape, finding pants has been a challenge. I had these tailored to close the front slash pockets in order to make the hip/thigh area more flattering.

I loved the colors of these pants as soon as I saw them. They are very versatile and look great with flat sandals and a tee shirt. For the meeting, I added a blazer and tri-tone pumps.

Look #3 – Girls’ Night Out

Deb: When I saw this I thought, here are a few really plain, casual pieces that many of us probably have sitting around in our closets. You’ve taken them from ordinary to elegant all through your styling. Where were you going when you put this on?

Kimara: I wore this outfit to a girls’ night out which consisted of shopping, then dinner and drinks. I could easily wear something like this for work.

I know many people consider a black blazer to be a wardrobe staple, but I wear my two white blazers much more often. It’s the perfect topper to jeans, leather pants, skirts and dresses.

Plus, white blazers work year round whereas black ones can sometimes be too heavy. I scored mine at a vintage shop in the city, and customized it by having the sleeves shortened.


Deborah BolandDeb: Kimara, Do you have any style tips you’d like to pass on to my Fabulous After 40 readers?

Kimara: Dress to make yourself happy. I believe in wearing what you like and having fun with it. I don’t have to get dressed up for work, and I am often asked why I do. The simple answer is that I like getting dressed up.

I definitely have my days in jeans and sneakers, or even sweats around the house. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been exploring more with fashion and trying new things.

Experiment and have fun with it…it’s just fashion!

Kimara, Thanks for those words of fashion wisdom. I agree. you’ve got to play a little to find the real you. Thanks!

To see more of Kimara’s one of kind style be sure to visit her beautiful lifestyle and fashion blog, J’adore Couture which explores the intersection of fashion and design.

Join the Conversation

7 thoughts on “How Unexpected Pairings Make Casual Dressing More Interesting

  1. Kimara should wear more skirts–she’s got the legs for it whether above the knee or below. I liked the first combination, but not the second one. If the second combo wasn’t long-sleeved, I’d like it more. Loved the color blocked pants and orange blazer. Fav is the last photo. I am not brave enough to mix, but admire the gals that do, and pull it off. Thanks for sharing ideas.

  2. I love the mix of stripes with florals, and Kimara nailed it! But my favorite of all, is the last pic with the white blazer and tee…SO chic!!!

  3. Not a fan of the first and second looks. I just do not think they look pulled together enough. They make me feel unsettled when I look at those combos.
    In the first picture the striped top looks too overpowering in design and color to be in balance with the skirt. In the second picture the top confuses the mind after looking at the skirt and the whole effect is blah.
    This may just be me, but that is what I feel when seeing this.

      1. Totally with you ladies on those two outfits. Howerver, I love the blue shoes and yellow bag. Pairing them with just plain old blue jeans and a white T-shirt or a beautiful blouse would have made the cut.

    1. I usually have several black or navy tee shirts, and if I wear a printed skirt I will always wear it with a navy or black tee-shirt, these definitely can be combined to go with such a look ,however if I wear stripes I would also go with a plain solid jacket or cardigan for a pulled-together look. as I always think it’s too much when you combine two prints.

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