There’s always a cool lady that turns heads as she walks by in her effortlessly put together outfit. She’s wearing something that perhaps shouldn’t work together, but it does. That’s because she knows how to mix prints and patterns like an expert.
She’s smart, stylish and has an eye for color and pattern. She has put together different prints and patterns and somehow it looks fabulous.
Do you ever wish you can mix fashion prints and patterns like an expert? It’s not as hard as it looks. Let’s discover how to mix print and patterns today.
Mixing prints and patterns like an expert
Learning the art of mixing patterns couldn’t come at a better time.
Designers have been featuring more beautiful patterns and fashion prints recently.
70s fashion with its love of stripes and patterns is on trend, as well as florals and graphic, grid prints. With so many good prints in style to choose from, it’s time to get bold and try combining your favorites.
You can see here the prints that are on trend in this piece on the best trends for spring and summer 2023 for women over 40.
Guidelines on how to mix prints and patterns
One rule that will serve you best when you mix fashion prints and patterns is to keep colors cohesive.
This rule is what will save you from making an obvious fashion faux-pas.
Five of our easy, secret ways to a cohesive color story that make you look like a master at mixing prints include…
Sticking to two colors
A universally favorite color combo for mixing prints is black and white. You can easily mix different prints and then make it extra special by adding another color.
The example below mixes black, white and yellow, and looks cohesive as the yellow in the shirt is picked up in the floral details on the pants.
Picking one busy item
Picking the busiest print item and coordinating it with a simpler pattern piece that has fewer colors in it.
Boden Blouson Sleeve Occasion Top – 1822 Denim Bandana Print High Waist Demi Bootcut Jeans – FLY London T-Bar Sandals – Tory Burch Ella Coloblock Cotton Canvas Tote – ZENZII Acrylic Resin Teardrop Cutout Earrings
Keeping you look in one color pathway will ensure that you look cohesive. In the look below, you can see how you combine black and white prints, and add a pop of color.
Choosing same brand pieces
Mixing and matching patterns from the same store or brand. This will help you not clash, since most brands often work with a limited color range each season.
Layering with a solid color
Breaking up the different printed pieces by layering a solid on top to quiet down all the pattern.
A good way to do this is with a coordinating solid jacket or cardigan, where only a touch of pattern from the top shows through.
Urban Coco Open Front Blazer – Boden Printed Linen T-shirt – 1822 Denim Bandana Print High Waist Demi Bootcut Jeans – FLY London T-Bar Sandals – Tory Burch Ella Coloblock Cotton Canvas Tote – ZENZII Acrylic Resin Teardrop Cutout Earrings
You can add a print with textures
Texture often looks like print so, if you’re wearing textures like lace or faux fur, you’ll want to treat these as another print, and make sure your outfit isn’t too busy.
Match colors, not prints
If you think about matching your colors rather than how the prints will go together, it takes away any of the guessing about what will match.
use different scales
Another tip is to use the same print from top to toe, but to change the scale of the print, such as in the outfit below with big and small polka dots.
Add another print with your accessories
If you want to add another print to your outfit, but you want to keep your print mixing relatively subtle, then you could do so with your accessories. Again, make sure the colors you choose are cohesive.
An easy way to this is with a handbag.
Photo by Denton Taylor
The additional of a colorful printed handbag in below’s outfit makes this outfit a lot more fun and dynamic.
Urban Coco Open Front Blazer – Caslon Knot Detail Cotton Blend Tank – Arolina Wide Leg Palazzo Pants – Steve Madden Irenee Ankle Strap Sandal – Kate Spade New York All Day Lemon Toss Print Tote – Luv AJ Rosette Charm Hoop Earrings
Fonda @savvysouthernchic above chooses a floral top and adds a stripe bag to her outfit.
Another favorite way to mix prints in your outfits is to add patterned shoes.
Photo by Denton Taylor
Add texture with your accessories
Instead of print, you can also use texture in an accessory to make your outfit more interesting. Below is a great example of this.
Photo by Denton Taylor
Stripes work as neutrals
If you want a failsafe print to mix with your other patterns, then stripes tend to work as a neutral option. It works in the same way a plain item would, so you could choose stripes, and then add a different print.
This look below works because of the muted color palette which all works together. You could have difficulty combining two sets of vertical stripes but choosing stripes with a different print, or with horizontal stripes will go together.
Choose a dress that already incorporates print mixing
This is the easiest option of all as the designer has done the ‘hard’ work for you.
Photo by Denton Taylor
Things to keep in mind when you want to mix prints
Start with the ‘easy’ prints
Some prints like stripes and dots are naturals for mixing.
Start with the naturals and build up to bolder prints as you get more confident.
Some favorite, versatile prints that are easy to mix with almost any pattern are:
- Polka dots
- Grid patterns
You can use these three patterns to mix with more complicated prints like busy florals, swirls or abstract prints.
One idea on how to successfully mix prints and patterns is all about repetition.
Try making a whole outfit out of different stripes or nothing but polka dots together. There are two ways to do this:
- Use a large pattern for the top with the same pattern in a smaller scale for the bottom, or vice-versa
- Use the same scale for both patterns, but keep the colors the same. A fun, inventive way to do so is by using a white skirt with black polka dots with a black top with similar sized white polka dots. The mirror effect of the pattern’s colors in reverse is interesting and unique.
If you decide to stay monochromatic with your pattern mixing, have some fun with a bold accessory statement like a brightly colored belt or contrasting shoe, like above.
A capsule wardrobe for mixing prints and patterns
Here are some ideas if you are looking to put together a capsule wardrobe where everything works either together. You can also pair tops and bottoms with the block-colored pieces you already have in your closet.
Printed and patterned tops
We’ve stuck to a palette featuring black, white, red and blue here to ensure that everything is easy to coordinate.
These are some of the easiest prints to mix. Look out for stripes, polka dots and florals.
Kimba @kimbalikes above mixes different stripes in her outfit.
You can always add another print in your outfit with the jacket you choose. A striped jacket or the floral moto jacket (below) are versatile choices as they will go with most things in your closet. Or, choose a bolder print.
Printed and patterned pants
When it comes to pattern mixing, you can opt for smaller patterns on your pants and larger patterns on your tops, or vice versa. Keep your pants in the same color pathway as your tops. Or, you choose a pair of printed jeans that will go with many of the tops in your closet.
Natalia @odin.stylish.me above wears stripes and a graphic pattern. She adds purple with her shoes and bag.
dresses and skirts
If you choose printed dresses, you can mix and match your patterns by adding a print jacket, shoes or bag.
Shoes to wear with your printed and patterned clothes
When it comes to your shoes, opt to keep your outfit neutral, and add a pop of color with your shoes.
Or, you opt for neutral shoes so that they don’t take the attention away from the rest of your outfit. Of course, you can always add another print with your shoes.
Accessories to use with your printed and patterned clothes
If you are print and pattern mixing, I would try to keep the rest of your accessories relatively simple and cohesive so that your outfit doesn’t end up looking too busy.
Sticking to a color palette of three colors, including your accessories, is a good way to get started with more pattern mixing.
Brands to look out for if you love prints
How to mix prints and patterns like an expert – A capsule wardrobe
Here are some outfits created from the pieces chosen above. You can see that there are many other different ways you could combine these patterns. The moto jacket would go with any option. Or, you wear the stripe t-shirt with many of the pants, or the brown print jacket with the stripe pants or the print jeans.
shop mix print and pattern outfits below:
Read our ultimate guide to creating a capsule wardrobe that works best for you.
How will you mix prints this season?
- What To Wear In Summer – Our Top 10 Tips & Tricks
- My Secrets On How To Color Block Your Outfits Effortlessly
- How To Wear Printed Pants In A Casual Chic Way
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Streetstyle photos by Denton Taylor
Feature image by Megan
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