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When does pattern become pattern overload?

A model wears a design created by Burberry Prorsum during London Fashion Week, Feb. 18, 2013. Heavily patterned and printed pieces are showing up on runways this year.

Joel Ryan/AP

The question:

Is there such a thing as too much mixing of colours, patterns and textures? Some of the stuff I'm seeing in fashion editorials looks overwrought. It's like a McDonald's playroom.

The answer:

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Surely this isn't the first time "overwrought" has come to mind when you've looked at the fashion industry's latest confections. Will women embrace the pattern overload you are seeing? It's hard to predict.

Consider this: The Paris haute boutique Colette recently devoted both its enormous windows to mixing brash, colourful floral prints. Each of the 10 mannequins wore a bold clash of blossoms from various brands. I heard one woman walk by and say, "C'est trop!" ("It's too much.") Two minutes later, another exclaimed, "Sublime!" Maybe our eyes just need to adjust.

By June, these visual medleys might look tame. Or perhaps you should ease into the look by combining a patterned jean and an ornately printed handbag with a T-shirt in a solid colour. There's no right answer other than that you should avoid any fashion that gives you a headache. You do have the McDonald's playroom for that.

Amy Verner is The Globe and Mail's Paris-based style reporter. Have a fashion question? E-mail style@globeandmail.com or follow her on Twitter @amyverner.

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