What Your Plates Say About Your Personality

Twelve best-selling fine and everyday china patterns we love—and what they say about your entertaining style.

Add Pattern with your China
Let your china provide a dining room's color and pattern. It's the secret to classic style that's not overdone. See the rest of this dining room. Photo: Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Whether you inherited your grandmother's heirloom china, spent hours agonizing over patterns for your wedding registry, or simply picked the first plates that appealed to you, your china—both the good stuff you save for special occasions like Easter and Christmas, and the everyday kind you employ fo low-key pizza nights and casual dinner parties—says something about your sense of style and how you like to entertain. Take Mottahedeh's Blue Canton, for instance. The classic blue-and-white motif is a timeless choice that straddles styles and aesthetics—from country farmhouse to contemporary. Doubling as fine and everyday china, it appeals to those who value efficiency and practicality as much as elegance.

For all of you who married young and hate the dinnerware you chose in a stress-fueled pre-wedding haze, don't worry; there's a reason Replacements does such brisk business. Read on to discover twelve more patterns we covet and what tastes they might attract. Maybe you'll rethink old place settings or find inspiration to start anew.

Fine China

Mottahedeh ‘Tobacco Leaf’
Neiman Marcus

Mottahedeh Tobacco Leaf

If you've got a dozen place settings of this enduring 18th-century floral style, you're not afraid to make a statement. "Tobacco Leaf is one of Mottahedeh's oldest patterns," says interior designer Jeffrey Bannon, whose eponymous gift shop has been serving Charleston brides for more than 25 years. "Colorful and bright, it looks like it could have been handed down through family but still reads young and fun with its bright fuchsia, teal, and deep navy." And, because Tobacco Leaf fans add sophisticated touches to any event no matter how casual, the classic design comes in tin plates, too—perfect for outdoor entertaining.

Arcades by Philippe Deshoulieres
Arcades by Philippe Deshoulieres. Courtesy of Replacements.com

Arcades by Philippe Deshoulieres

A table set with Arcades by Philippe Deshoulieres exudes understated elegance. You like beautiful things, but you aren't fussy. You probably have a closet full of impeccably made white button-ups, tailored black pants, and a great shoe collection—a chic daily uniform. This French-made, Italian-inspired china comes in two color-ways: apple green and gray, both with gold accents. "The gray is more clean-lined," says Jeffrey Bannon. "Modern but still formal."

Vera Wang by Wedgwood Vera Lace Floral in White and Gold
Vera Wang by Wedgwood in white and gold. Dillard's

Vera Wang Gold Lace by Wedgwood

"Brides are mixing and matching patterns today," says Jeffrey Bannon. "This white dinner plate with delicate gold bands is kind of like the little black dress of dinnerware. It makes a great base pattern." So, what might have been a straight-down-the-middle traditional choice a few decades ago is now a blank canvas that allows you to play with pattern, color, and style. Vera Wang Gold Lace is a great pick for the consummate collector because it goes with almost anything else you might pick up. And at just $50 per dinner plate, it offers great value, too.

Herend Queen Victoria
Herend Queen Victoria. Bloomingdale's

Herend Queen Victoria

"The Queen Victoria customer has a flair for elegant, beautiful porcelain, with a love of the traditional refinement from the past," says Lois MacRitchie of The Boutique in Charleston. One of the renowned Austrian maker's most famous patterns, the colorful floral-butterfly motif is quite literally fit for a queen. Following the Great Exhibition of London in 1851, the Herend pattern's namesake ordered a complete table service for Windsor Castle. To personalize your own place settings, choose a peach, pink, green, navy, or light blue border.

Herend ‘Chinese Bouquet’
Herend Chinese Bouquet in orange. Neiman Marcus

Herend Chinese Bouquet

There's a subtle refinement to Herend Chinese Bouquet, which comes in a range of color-ways, that suggests a confident host or hostess. One who could easily do all the work themselves but keeps a trusted florist and cater on speed dial. But, Samantha Price of Corzine & Co. in Nashville loves the pattern for its versatility. "Chinese Bouquet can fit different aesthetics without feeling trendy. Plus, you can dress it up or dress it down," she says. "We love putting it back with a woven placemat and cool napkin to make it something that appeals to customers of all ages."

Oriente Italiano by Richard Ginori in blue
Oriente Italiano by Richard Ginori in blue. Courtesy of Replacements.com

Oriente Italiano by Richard Ginori

Carnations have never looked so glamourous. This inky floral collection, featuring a hand painted "garofano," or carnation, is made in Italy and comes in a range of surprising color combinations—peach and indigo, mint and charcoal, petal pink and fuchsia, among others. "Some customers mix and match the colors or do all the same hue," says Samantha Price. "There is a timelessness to it, so whether you are making the pattern more traditional or more modern, there are so many ways to personalize it." Fans of Oriente Italiano delight in the unexpected. They aren't tied down to one style or aesthetic but find beauty in the mix.

Anna Weatherley ‘Old Master Tulips’
Anna Weatherley Old Master Tulips. Neiman Marcus

Anna Weatherley Old Master Tulips

Floriography, or the language of flowers, dates back to the Victorian Age when flowers were often used to communicate unspoken feelings. Tulips represented a perfect or unconditional love, so if you're choosing a wedding china, it's hard to do better than Anna Weatherley's Old Master Tulips, which are hand-decorated in Budapest. An affinity for this classic garden-inspired pattern indicates a keen admiration for artistry and craftsmanship. "You appreciate every little vein, in every little leaf and petal that a real artist put there," says Lois MacRitchie of The Boutique in Charleston, South Carolina. At heart, you're an old-school romantic with a penchant for classic Nora Ephron films.

Everyday China

Juliska Berry & Thread Whitewash
Juliska Berry & Thread in white. via Neiman Marcus

Juliska Berry + Thread

Sure, you're going to eat cereal and leftover takeout with this dinnerware, but the rustic yet refined Berry + Thread pattern in classic white makes us think of al fresco dinners in the French countryside. Fans of this pattern enjoy the sense of community and conviviality the simplest shared meal creates—even if it's toaster oven waffles at the kitchen counter with your kids on a lazy Sunday morning. And while Samantha Price of Corzine & Co. in Nashville says it is a popular bridal registry selection or first everyday china purchase, the pattern ages well, and if you get tired of the basic white, mix it up. "Juliska is always coming out with new patterns that you can bring in," says Jeffrey Bannon. Pro tip: Try the blue-and-white Country Estate.

Juliska Puro in white
Juliska Puro in white. Courtesy of Replacements.com

Juliska Puro

"Puro tends to draw the 'I am looking for new plates because I am tired of what I have' people or someone shopping for a second home," says Samantha Price. Puro's beauty is in its simplicity—the organic shape, subtle texture, and pure white glaze.

Vietri Lastra White
Vietri Lastra in white. via Vietri

Vietri Lastra

If you dig the clean modern lines of Vietri Lastra, you probably keep a tidy kitchen and your pantry is likely labeled (and alphabetized), but you also appreciate quality craftsmanship and a sense of history that adds warmth to your home. Inspired by the circular wooden molds used to create cheese molds in Italy for centuries, this casually sophisticated dinnerware has an organic handmade look that keeps the all-white dishes from appearing austere. Like Juliska Berry + Thread, Lastra is a great base, allowing you to mix in more ornate patterns. Interior designer and Charleston shop owner Jeffrey Bannon suggests Vietri Santorini.

Louvre by Bernardaud 
Louvre by Bernardaud . Courtesy of Replacements.com

Louvre by Bernardaud

If you love to cook—chefs agree food presents best on white dishes—but can't bear to look at the exact same plate meal after meal, then Louvre by Bernarduad is the collection for you. "It's all white but each plate has a different motif on the borders," says Samantha Price of Corzine & Co. in Nashville. "It's a great durable option that you can dress up or down and throw in the dishwasher. Plus, the serving pieces look beautiful with fine china so that is also helpful." Louvre is for the person who wants the longevity of white dinnerware but still craves something decorative.

Spode Woodland Pheasant
Spode Woodland pheasant. Southern Living

Spode Woodland

Maybe you're a bit of an Anglophile. You probably love Downton Abbey, vintage Barbour coats, and hunter green wellies. This British-inspired floral, which features hunting dogs, rabbits, ducks, turkeys, pheasants, and a host of other wild game, dates back to 1831. And while it feels decidedly Old World, the timeless Spode Woodland pattern can be brought into the twenty-first century when paired with something more contemporary like Juliska Berry + Thread.

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