Firstly while admitting that all creators have their own unique design styles, a pit fall I find it is easy to fall into when designing costumes is creating a outfit with overpowering patterns. This largely stems from some limitations in the character creation tool in SOULCALIBUR. Despite the tool being robust, often not all the unique elements on specific components have individually editable colours and patterns. For example, a t-shirt in the game would only be able to hold a single colour or pattern across the entire costume object, but in real life often even simple t-shirts have different coloured trims and sleeves.
Within this limitation what is the first thing someone does when adding details to an item? Splattering it with a beautiful pattern. The problem with this is the majority of patterns when utilized at large are visually overpowering. Simply put, it draws the eye too much and ends up making the design look fake. When designing a complicated costume in which you are attempting to blend a variety of shapes and colours, having large patterns on the clothing often makes it pop too aggressively!
Of course there are exceptions to every rule, as sometimes we even want that aggressive pop. However, if we are looking for a more subtle or blended design that utilizes patterns, a very useful technique you can utilize is to leverage stickers to break up the patterns.
But enough talk you say, Show me! Very well my creator friends, very well. Find some examples below that will give you an idea of what I am talking about. For each of the photos below, the photo on the left is the costume utilizing stickers to break patterns, and the very similar photo on the right is the costume when the technique isn't being utilized.
Simple Pattern Breaking
Note: Number 1 (Number 1) utilized to break up the brown chest pattern with a white center trim while adding colour unification elements to the outfit.
Note: Pocket (motif 32) utilized to add a fabric covering effect and break up the powerful flower pattern on the dress.
Intermediate Pattern Breaking
Note: Fancy Pocket (motif 33) and Zipper (motif 31) stickers utilized to break up the Oriental pattern while adding a sectional top element and adding colour unification elements to the design.
Note: Pocket (motif 32) and Griffin Emblem (motif 52) utilized to break up the heavy European pattern and create a padded sectional look on the outfit.
Advanced Pattern Breaking
Note: Pocket Sticker (motif 32) and Fancy Star (motif 11) utilized to break up the uniformity of the European pattern while simultaneously adding a corset like look.
Note: Polygon (motif 5) and Wooden Mural (motif 126) utilized to break up the visually heavy diamond pattern on the shoulders, and add a unique unifying colour element on the top hat.
Hopefully the above examples explain visually the concept clearly, but simply put, you can use stickers not only as a focus point on a costume but as well as a tool to make patterns look less busy.
In my eyes, stickers are both the most powerful and challenging tool to use appropriately in character creation, and they are a key element in making creations take that large step from good to great! In my work as a creator, the majority of my alternative costumes utilize all their sticker slots, but as you see in many examples above, I often use them in very subtle manners. This is as in my vision, a strong costume contains a variety of subtle elements that are only discoverable upon detailed inspection (similar to the standard main cast costumes). Be it a stray seam on a fabric, or a subtle yet unified pattern, it is these details that make a costume extra special!
With that all said hopefully the examples I have showcased paint the picture of the idea as an interesting concept that you may try out on some of your own costumes. And even more so, hopefully this changes your perception of the very purpose of stickers; they are useful not only as focal points on your creation, but as well as a tool to make certain details less focal.