This season there are loads of geometric, often art nouveau-esque prints for Fall.  These are a few of my very favorites.

Tapestry, floral, and geometric patterns from the runway

I'd wear these one of two ways:
1.  Just a couple of patterned items, mixed seamlessly with classics.  
2.  Devil-may-care pattern on top of pattern on top of pattern.

Mixing patterns together is so tricky, and still often eludes me (see photo below).  But when done right, it has a whimsical, albeit bizarre, bohemian appeal (see photos at the verrrry bottom).

To answer your question, no; non-fashion people will not understand.  Yes, they will think you're slightly eccentric off your rocker, and that's part of the fun. 

Prada Clutch  /  Miu Miu printed jacket  /  Proenza Schouler platform boots  /  Marni silk printed blouse  /   Proenza Schouler woven clutch  /  Marni beaded clutch  /  Missoni skirt  /  Balenciaga tri-color heels

Example of Pattern Mixing Gone Wrong:

Blogger Style experiment with patterns gone wrong
Me.  Oh yeah.  2009 in NYC.

Oh, this is shameful!  This was me during my senior year of college. I was clearly feeling effervescent (earlier) that morning, and decided to experiment with mixing pattern, and (unfortunately) color, too.  Anyways, allow me to teach you a lesson:  if you must experiment (and indeed, you must) please try for one or the other.  Not both.  Okay, this is painful to look at.  Let's move on...

Reassurance that I dress cool sometimes:

stylist wardrobe, mixing patterns and leather
Me & a friend in front of FIT between classes.  NYC, 2009.

My friend there, yes, he has much better pattern intuition than I do.  I think he's working for Proenza Schouler these days.  He definitely belongs there, with the Kings of pattern and print.

[Big Tangent Right Here]
Oh, do you observe me wearing leggings as pants beneath a headline that reads, "I Dress Cool"?
Indeed!  Your eyes do not deceive you.  This too is a tricky thing to wear, but luckily I mastered it early on.  Yes, shameless me - I mastered it!  The trick is...
A) know your size/shape, don't lie to yourself, and love yourself anyway.  if you're the type who can't get away with leggings, don't sweat it.  there are plenty of other awesome options for you.  if you're the type who can't get away with leggings, but doesn't give a fuck what anyone else thinks, mad props to you.  I'd love to wear your skin (and chutzpah) for a day.
B) Always wear nude underwear that matches your own ass.  Ideally, it should be ridiculously smooth, thin, and as minimal as possible.  Yes, I'm talking about G-strings.
C) if you don't want your butt cheeks to be the center of everyone's attention, wear a tunic or long shirt that covers some, most, or all of your behind.
D) tights & panty hose are not leggings.  at all.  ever.

This is one of my go-to looks for fall.  Even in 2012.

Finally, some samples of successful pattern mixing:

Street Style: pattern mixing during fashion week.  Photo by Tommy Ton

I'll be honest with you, I don't understand why the outfit on the right works, but it does.
Yes, my fashion degree is no help in this case.

Alas, the difference between nature & nurture.

Granny florals on the street during fashion week.  Photo by Tommy Ton

So granny.  So wonderful.

Pattern Mixing on the Street during Fashion Week.  Photo by Tommy Ton

Woman on the right - I'm in love.  Floral + polka dot + oversized check?  I envy her gall.

Let's hear it for mixing it up.


last 3 photos via Tommy Ton 

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