Even frogs love to mix and match


Pretty frog, but it is also among the most toxic animals on the planet! Credit Image: Mathieu Chouteau, Université de Montréal
Leopard pattern and stripes? Of course. All fashionistas know that clashing these prints against one another is attractive. Many designers like Altuzarra, Gucci and Marc Jacobs have also used this mix & match in their collections. Were they inspired by the patterns and colors of the Ranitomeya imitator, a tiny frog in the Amazon rainforest? Probably not.
One thing is certain, however —Nature thought about it long before them. In the world of frogs, being colorful with patterned is not about style. It’s about sending a clear message to predators: “Don’t come near me, I’m poisonous!
But why are some green with a leopard pattern and other yellow lines while belonging to the same species? According to a study by two researchers at the University of Montreal, natural selection has played a role in the development of the many skin patterns of the Ranitomeya imitator poison dart frog. The biologist Mathieu Chouteau arrived at this conclusion after carrying out his doctoral research under the direction of Professor Bernard Anger. His results have been published in the November 2011 edition of American Naturalist.
In the world of fashion, combined leopard and stripes seems to target a different goal. The art of the mix and matched pattern is synonymous with individual style and used by fashionistas to communicate their artistic skills. Mixing leopard is easy since this print is considered as a neutral. But with other prints it could be tricky. The key to successful mixing is to vary the size and the density of the patterns. If print-on-print is just too much for you, just layer in some solid colored clothes to calm things down.
Another trick is to distribute your prints, i. e. one on the top and one on the bottom. The use of neutral colors helps balance the outfit. You can also approach this look by wearing a bold color. It could be your outfit’s focal point or used as an accent. If you use more than three colors with patterns, a thoughtful color palette is a must. Ideally, the colors should relate the ones in your patterns.
Unless you want to say that you are maybe a little poisonous…
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