Today, I’m talking all things pattern and print, and how you can use them to delight your clients who then go on to recommend you to everyone they know.
Recommendations and referrals are incredible for your business because they mean your clients are doing your marketing for you for free! Send them away overjoyed with all you’ve done for them, and they won’t stop talking about you.
Helping your clients choose their best patterns and prints is just one of many weapons in a personal stylist’s arsenal but is often overlooked.
When I trained in colour and style, I received minimal guidance in selecting the best patterns and prints. My trainer told me that:
– Summers should wear soft, watercolour prints. Anything floral that looks dusty or misty.
– Winters should wear geometric prints in high contrast colours.
– Autumns should wear prints inspired by nature, like falling leaves.
– Springs should wear small, delicate ditzy prints in bright colours.
We’ve all seen clients that don’t fit neatly into these categories, just like they don’t fit neatly into one colour season. Let’s take me as an example. I’m a cool summer, and I was advised to wear florals. However, because I have a classic look and have rounded features, stick me in florals, and I look round and old-fashioned. Totally the opposite of the fresh, young and modern vibe I want.
Being told just to wear florals was not helpful to me. It put me off wearing any print at all for years because I felt it made me look like a granny!
As a stylist, if you stick to basic recommendations regarding pattern and print, you’re doing your clients a disservice.
The main problem I’ve identified with us stylists is that we try to cram everything into a single consultation with our clients. So, when people come to us for their colour analysis, it’s tempting to give them everything because we want to impart ALL our knowledge so they can look their very best. The consultations then end up being long and exhausting for you and the client, and they don’t retain a lot of the information you give.
Therefore, I recommend working on mastering patterns and prints and then offering it as a separate in-depth consultation, which allows you to earn more.
Online working gives you much more opportunity to study your clients than a face-to-face appointment because they send you their photos ahead of time. That gives you loads of time to review the images, look at the line, design, surface and texture in their face and body, and then make tailored pattern and print recommendations based on that.
It’s a fantastic opportunity, and I’m amazed that no one has yet niched into being a pattern and print expert. In terms of the market, it’s a wide-open blue ocean where there is no competition from other stylists because nobody I’m aware of covers pattern and print in any real detail.
Now, let’s get into the specifics of choosing print and pattern. 👇👇👇
What to consider when choosing pattern and prints for your clients
When identifying your clients’ best patterns and prints, just like colour, you’re looking at a continuation of what you already see in the body. You’ll need to determine:
1) Their colouring and level of contrast
2) The texture of their skin and hair
3) The lines in the face and body (more on this later)
4) The scale of their features and body
5) Their style personality
That’s a lot to do and why I believe it merits a separate consultation! Your clients will thank you forever if you take the time for a detailed session because selecting patterns and prints is the hardest of the styling elements for them to master.
What do we mean when talking about the lines of the face and body?
There are another five things to drill into here:
6) The eyebrows – are they curved or straight?
7) The eyes – are the lines in the eyes curved or straight? What about the hood of the eye? Is it curved or straight? Is it big or small?
8) The nose – is the tip of the nose rounded, or is it thinner? What about the length of the nose?
9) The mouth – is the mouth more curved or straight? Or is it a combination? Take me as an example again: I have very straight diagonal lines on my upper lip, but the lower lip is fuller and more curved.
10) The shape of the face and hairline – these are important to consider too.
All these considerations help you to form your opinion of whether your clients look better in a curved or straight pattern or, like most people, whether they would do better with a combination.
Look closely at the face, neckline, shoulders and collarbones ( if visible) for the predominant line of movement too.
Is it more curved or straight?
What about the clarity of the edges? Are they very definite or softer and more blurred?
The clarity of the edges should directly relate to the print and pattern you’re choosing. So too, should the space around the facial features and the scale of the features.
If the features are well spaced out, then the print features need to have a moderate to large amount of space between them. The scale of your clients’ features will also determine whether you select a large or small print.
Talk about detail!
If you decided to specialise in print and pattern, you could write a book on it, no problem!
If it’s something you’re interested in, I’d explore how you can increase your knowledge and become an expert, and then consider how to create a package around it because it would enable you to stand out from the crowd.
How to become an expert in pattern and print
1) Become a forensic scientist
I don’t mean a real scientist, but do adopt scientific principles. Look at all the clues you see in your clients. They will be different for everyone. If you’re going to send your clients away delighted, you must move away from the generalised recommendations I mentioned earlier, e.g., florals for summers. You have to get deep into the detail and give them personalised advice, and they’ll adore you for it because you’ll be showing them how to make the very best of their natural beauty.
2) Embrace the benefits of online working
If you still prefer in-person consultations, do like the online stylists and request photos beforehand so you can study your clients and come up with tailored recommendations you can talk them through when you meet. You’ll have more time and less pressure preparing in advance.
3) Have a separate consultation on patterns and prints
I’ve already covered this a couple of times, so hopefully, you now see the value in this suggestion.
4) Become an expert on yourself
Work out what YOUR best patterns and prints are, as that’s always the best place to start. It will give you the confidence to take the next step and start working on it with your clients.
5) Buy specialist training on pattern and print
You can access in-depth print and pattern training in my 5 Weeks to Online Colour Expert program. Not only do you receive lifetime access to the training, but you also get lifetime advice and guidance in the support group that runs alongside it. There are now almost 70 stylists in the group, so there’s always someone to ask if you’re unsure.