Crazy Pattern Mixing

Work Wears with Elsie Larson : A Beautiful MessLast week Emma kicked off our new fashion feature, Work Wears! It's a pretty simple concept (and God knows we need simple right now!). We're sharing real outfits that we wear at work along with some little peeks of what we're working on at the moment. 

We didn't always put effort into our work clothes. Years of DIYing trained us to be pretty casual (read— lazy) with our work wear. For me it's been mostly a yoga pants uniform for the past few years (nothing wrong with yoga pants, but I'm not doing ANY yoga here at work—haha!). This past year, we started dressing up more. Nothing like hiring employees to help keep us accountable! And you know what? It's been really fun. I feel more productive and more ready for my work day when I'm excited about what I'm wearing. It's a total mind game, but it works for me. All of that to say—we're excited to share some of our office looks with you. This will be fun! 

ElsieWhat I'm wearing: Vera Scarf/The Birdcage Vintage Etsy, Necklace/Need Supply, Top/F21 (I cut the sleeves off), Skirt/Anthropologie (a few years old), Bag/Madewell, Clogs c/o Swedish Hasbeens. Oh, and a fitbit… function over fashion right there. 

Work Wears with Elsie Larson : A Beautiful Mess Work Wears with Elsie Larson : A Beautiful Mess Elsie's messy officeCurrent project? Decorating my new office. My goal is to have it done and ready to share with you by September. Andddd this is how it looks today. 

So—funny story! We recently decided to move all the office spaces upstairs so we could give people a bit more space. When we were planning the rooms, Jacki and Sarah immediately "called" sharing Emma's office because she's clean and very quiet when she's working. I volunteered to share my room with Laura, but because I am storing a bunch of supplies for one of our new projects in there, Emma said I could have my own office. Basically, nobody wanted to share with me because I'm messy. Ha! 

Washi tape + rope
Washi tape + rope
Washi tape + ropeEven though I am, by far, the messiest person here at A Beautiful Mess, I am working really hard to create an organized, colorful, and functional office area. It's a ton of fun! I'll share more as we go. 

Washi tape + ropeLaura brought me this disposable camera snap from Costa Rica, and it's my first photo in the new space. Many more to come, but this one's a keeper! Reminds me of ALL my photos from high school. 

Washi tape + ropeI've been collecting vintage Vera Nuemann scarves from Etsy for a while now. They have so much personality, and there seems to be an endless supply of different patterns and colors. It's my favorite vintage collection at the moment. 

It's tooooo cold in hereOh, and before I go, here's a not-so-subtle hint to some of my co-workers (cough, cough, Trey George) who like to keep it reallll chilly around here. Hoodies are, sadly, a big part of my summertime work outfits. Haha! 

Love you guys! Elsie 

Credits // Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with Stella and Merit from The Signature Collection

  • Hi Elsie,

    I have a really awesome vintage Vera scarf that I would love to send you pictures of. It’s a long rectangle instead of a square, and it is black and white gingham print with a red band across the bottom that has drawings of bicycles all the way across in white. It’s probably about 3 1/2-4 ft. long. Please e-mail me at if you’d like to see, or let me know where I can send you some pictures. I love it but it’s just been sitting in a basket, and I’d love it to go to someone who will both use and appreciate it! 🙂

  • I once heard this type of pattern-mixing as “power clashing” 🙂 and you pull it off so well!

  • Ah, you have inspired me with this series to actually get dressed every day! I work from home, plus I have a 6 month old, so getting dressed has been the last thing on my list… even though pre-baby I swore I’d never be that mom. HA!

    But getting dressed every day makes such a huge difference in productivity levels, and how I feel about myself and the day!
    Your outfit is so cute! And haha, I’m pretty sure nobody would want to share an office with me, either, cuz I’m messy.

  • Ah well, I dance in everything in the dressingroom, to see whether I like dancing in it and to see how it looks when I actually move in it 🙂

    So for me the rule is: buy it if dancing in it feels AND looks good!

  • Elsie, I just love it when you write personnal posts. You´re so sweet, vibrant and gracious!

  • Yeah I totally get that. My sister and I do have one rule when we’re shopping together…if it makes you dance in the dressing room…BUY IT! 🙂 So I guess I can rephrase that to “if it makes you dance in the mirror when you get dressed in the morning…WEAR IT!” 🙂

  • YAY! I love it!! That was me that commented on Instagram about needed fashion advice for work! Thank you guys so much for this, I can’t wait to see what all is in store 🙂 🙂

  • Cute outfit and nice concept! 🙂 Have a nice Sunday!

  • Those are definitely the two hardest things about sharing a space- differences in cleanliness and preferred temperature! Having friends around all the time makes it worth having to wear a sweater around the house and doing a few extra dishes. <3

  • I totally agree with you, Katie. It’d be awesome to see what some of the others wear too!

  • Score! Your own office means you can listen to whatever music you want, whenever you want and you have freedom to spread out! Woo!

    I’m a really messy worker also. My ‘clean’ house doesn’t stand a chance when I take on a new project. haha

  • You have a super cute style! I love it 🙂

    From Jodie at:

  • It would be really great to see what some of the other ABMers wear sometimes, too. I enjoy sister style a lot, but we never really get to see Sarah, Laura, Katie, Mandi, or the guys’ styles.

  • I wish I could rock something like this! She pulls it off just perfectly! This has inspired me to be more daring with my fashion choices!

  • Haha! I’d have to wear hoodies, too. Hate being cold. I admire Vera Neumann so much!

  • Super cute outfit! That skirt is so much fun!

  • I love the bow print, and the look of first photo is geast great, i’m fooly in love with the red shous.

    Simona by

  • Incredible how what you wear can totally change how you focus! Love the skirt 🙂

  • LOL. This write up made me laugh Elsie. It’s okay at least you’d get a whole office to DIY! I seriously love the pattern on your skirt and you girls have made me fallen in love with those shoes. I’m excited to see more of your office!

  • I dream of having an office space like yours one day. Thanks for being an inspiration to all of us bloggers. If you work hard, your dreams will come true. Wondering if you have or could do a post on how to make blogging a full time job? What I really want to know is, did you really blog everyday and how did you not burn out? I love blogging but it can be exhausting sometimes 🙁


  • love this feature, so fun to see 🙂 the scarf is so pretty!
    xo, cheyenne

  • I find myself wearing a lot of long sleeves and hoodies in the summer, too. I can never go to a restaurant without something to cover up with. Love the pattern mixing!

  • That’s such a creative way to organize tape. I think I might try that!

    – Christina

  • LOVE the mixing! And I DEFINITELY need a pair of those shoes!!
    Pretty Lovely

  • Lol, that is so me with the hoodie! I’m always cold! Super cute outfit as usual :). I love all of your fashion posts.



  • May have a “messy” (doesn’t really look that way to me though) office but you seem to have a balanced life and that is all that matters!



  • I love that you’re a self-proclaimed messy; it’s endearing.

  • Haha..that is a funny story! Don’t worry, they’ll all probably end up hanging out in your office anyway. My room was always messy growing up, piles of unfinished projects, but everyone gravitated to it. I guess it was cozy!

  • tory burch just came out with some really fun accessories for the fitbit if you’re interested!

  • That skirt is the cutest thing ever, makes me want to paint circles on everything, haha.

  • It’s funny those scarves and other things from Vera Neumann in the 60’s and 70’s weren’t considered hip and mod then, that’s was what our grandmothers wore. Our mom’s were the ones wearing the hip/cool stuff! Interesting how things come back around and take on a whole new perspective. To me, it still reminds me of my Grandma 🙂

  • I am TERRIBLE at mixing patterns, so I’m so envious of people who can do it well. Elsie’s outfit with the polka dot skirt and striped top looks so cute! Dressing up for work can be fun, but sometimes it makes me a little self conscious. I wore red lipstick today and everyone asked if I had a client meeting! Nope, just keeping things interesting.


  • I love this outfit! Mixing patterns can be tricky but you pulled it off beautifully 🙂

  • i’v been looking for large wallhangings checking out a lot of swedish tablecloths, thanks for pointing me towards vera neumann – love the colors and the big floral prints, maybe ill do one of her scarves or tablecloths

  • I have always loved the idea of mixing print but I don’t know where or how to begin! But you carried it off beautifully! If you had a moment could you check out my blog!

  • I agree, dressing up totally makes you more productive! I try to have a nice outfit every morning especially in the summertime!

  • Lovely outfit! And I hear you with the cold office.. I thought it was just me who was always cold at my desk begging for the guys to turn the air con off haha!

  • I am totally smitten with this outfit! I love mixing fun prints and this skirt is the bomb diggity (wait – did I really just say bomb diggity?)! You and Emma remind me so much of my own sister and I. I’m the neat one and she is definitely the more hands-on type of worker (read: messy, but in her eyes, organized). Definitely digging this new series!


  • I love this new feature! Can’t wait to see your finished office!

  • Love that you posted this! I used to do this all the time when I had an office job way back when and I came up with the cutest patterns. I love that you’re fearless!


    Laurali Star

  • Love this look, so COLORFUL! That scarf is fab, and so is the skirt. Happy organizing, and yay to own office, even though its messy!


  • Love it! I wish I could wear colour to work – I have to wear black, so my wardrobe is looking pretty dull!

  • this kinda felt like a casual friday post!
    love it!

    the washi tape idea, its awesome!
    i recently signed up for a snail mail swap and sent over some tape….so it wouldnt be bouncing around i tied it up like that and then i realized that now that i am getting in to it, i can do that as well!!!
    “necessity is the mother of all inventions!!!”

    and as for the cold, even better of an excuse to buy some cute sweaters and coats! (:
    although if you lived out here in california, all you would have to do is step outside!!! lol

    have a great weekend!!!

  • Nope! I just try to like my outfits when I walk out the door in the morning. If I can get that done, nothing else matters. That’s hard enough, you know? 🙂
    xx- Elsie

  • Thanks for sharing more behind the scenes of your work day. Do you have any rules you go by when you are planning to mix patterns?

  • We are still doing them! Don’t worry. This week was just extra busy and everyone was either behind on work, sick or traveling. There will probably be one next week. 🙂
    xx- Elsie

  • These are fun but whatever happened to the Casual Fridays posts?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.