Mixing prints is a daring and edgy way of showing off your style and getting the most wear from your clothing. Often referred to as power-clashing, mixing prints and patterns is often considered a faux-pas in styling, but with the right patterns and a good eye, this style can create amazing outfits.
Know your prints.
Classic prints include stripes, polka dots, gingham, plaid, houndstooth, and cheetah print. Pair these simple prints with something more modern like chevron, something soft like floral or paisley, or something bold and geometric. Some prints can be treated like a neutral and can be easily paired with other prints. Stripes, polka dots, and cheetah print often fall into this category.
Now you can categorize your prints by pattern, size, and colour and start mixing and matching. Here are our rules of thumb when it comes to mixing prints:
Match prints that are in the same colour family. This is a great way to create cohesion in an outfit. Choose a colour to anchor on and find another piece with a pattern featuring the same colour. For example, an orange skirt with white polka dots paired with a white shirt with stripes in the same shade of orange. By staying in the same colour family, you create cohesion and intentionality in your look.
Play with the size of the prints. Pair a small print with a larger print. A tight polka dot print would pair beautifully with a larger geometric print. You can stay in the same print family (large stripes with narrow stripes) or two contrasting prints.
Treat classic prints like neutrals. Lastly, you can take a classic print and pair it with something bold, treating the classic print in the same way you would a neutral. By pairing something graphic and punchy with something familiar like stripes or cheetah, you create a playful, bold look.
Mistakes to avoid:
- Clashing colours - it’s best to match colours, not prints. Just because two prints work together on paper, if the colours are off it will throw off the entire look.
- Too many large prints - mixing large prints can be jarring and overly-busy.
When shopping for a variety of prints, hit up your local consignment store. The wide variety of pieces and styles from a wide range of designers gives you endless possibilities of prints, patterns, and textures to play with. However you choose to style your prints, just remember to trust your inner fashion instincts. If you love it and it makes you feel amazing then rock it! Confidence is any outfit's best accessory.