How To Mix Prints and Patterns

Prints and patterns can be a great way of adding interest to your wardrobe and having fun with your styling. Prints are cheery and full of energy, and one of the best ways of making a strong sartorial statement. They break the monotony, but also can be challenging for some if sported in an impropriate way. Moreover, when two or more prints or patterns come together, you are likely to get a too-busy and sometimes even crazy look. Figuring on how to mix prints and patterns and how to wear prints like a pro can be a little daunting, but once you have the right source of inspiration, you might engage into a journey of style, where you can explore your secret style fantasies of wearing different prints and patterns in the same outfit. All you have to do is find the middle road to looking edgy, but classy and with the help of some tiny guidelines you are sure to come up with stunning attire options that scream print and style at the same time.

How To Mix Prints and Patterns

How To Choose Prints

The most important step in looking great while mixing prints is to know what prints flatter your figure. Try to be honest to yourself, while choosing prints. Learn your best and worst features to know which areas to highlight and which to conceal, as prints tend to instantly draw attention to the areas sported. For instance, if you have wide hips and want to make them look smaller, stay away from prints that enlarge and draw attention to that area, like horizontal stripes. On the other hand, if you have large hips but a small bust, you can put horizontal stripes across your bust and balance things out.

Pay attention to the size of the prints you choose in relation to you. If you are slim, you can try medium to small prints. A really large print will make you look childish and somehow frail. However, keep in mind that too large prints don’t look good on large figures either, as they enlarge the figure even more and make one look frumpy. Actually, a really large print works the best for middle sized women ” not too petite, not too voluptuous. Medium to large prints that aren’t too busy look great for almost all figure types.

How To Mix Prints and Patterns

How To Mix Prints and Patterns

Tips on Mixing Prints and Patterns

Now you can go on and mix the prints and patterns you have chosen. Mixing prints is really exciting and can lead to something unexpected. You can try to wear military prints with florals, stripes with florals, graphics with animal prints, stripes with polka dots, stars with stripes and more. Options are endless, still there are some rules to be taken into account while playing mix-it-up.

Establish a Commonality

Although you are mixing it up, your prints and patterns should have something in common, should talk the same language to tie it all altogether. Try to stick to the same color scheme or go uniform with your texture. This will prevent your prints from clashing or looking too busy.

Stay in the Same Color Family

To pull off stylish mixed prints look, always try to choose prints and patterns in hues of the same color family. This way, you can balance things out and keep the look bold, yet not over-the-top. A great idea is to start mixing prints and patterns with neutral colors, such as black. When you feel more confident and experienced, you can start mixing colorful prints.

How To Mix Prints and Patterns

How To Mix Prints and Patterns

Pay Attention to the Scale

A great way of creating some separation between two prints is to play with the scale of the patterns. Start with simpler prints, like stripes and polka dots and once you feel more comfortable, you can go for bolder and more complex prints. Note that prints with variation of size look the best together. For instance, two large prints will look off, just as two small prints can look somehow dizzying. So prints and patterns of the same size compete and appear unbalanced, while a small pattern with a large one creates a harmony and evens out the ensemble.

Stay Away from Competing or Matchy-Matchy Pattern Choices

Well, actually you want to mix different prints and patterns and not the same ones just of different sizes or colors. To avoid coming up with an offensive cluster of prints, try to create some sort of distinction between two adjacent prints. For example, florals are great but don’t turn yourself into a floral lady by matching them with other florals. Instead, you can combine two completely different patterns, such as floral prints with military ones ” the beauty and the beast composition that looks just amazing ” or florals with stripes, dots and other prints.

How To Mix Prints and Patterns

How To Mix Prints and Patterns
Create Distance between Prints

To play it safe with mixing prints and patterns, try to create some distance between the patterned pieces you are wearing. For example you can wear a pair of printed pants, keep the rest of your outfit monochrome and finish off your look with a printed scarf. A great idea is also to keep your entire look monochrome and wear just prints tights and a printed scarf.

Create Subtle Pops with Accessories

If you love prints and patterns, yet aren’t bold enough for nailing down the trend of mixing prints, you can just go for printed accessories. No need to wear two big crazy printed pieces to make a statement. Accessories are the easiest way of mixing prints, whether it’s a scarf, a headband, tights or a hat. One great option is to wear a printed dress, like striped of floral printed, and a dotted headband.

Embrace Old Favorites

So if you plan to make a mix-print statement, no need to go and buy new printed pieces. Instead play with the patterned pieces you already have in your wardrobe, like leopard or houndstooth, paired with something a little edgier. This way, you are more likely to feel confident while mixing prints.

Mixing Prints with Black

Black is a neutral and classic color, but it won’t work great with bright prints. In order not to create a too heavy look, try to match solid black only with a dark or black printed item.

Ready-to-Wear Print Mix

So if you still feel unconfident about mixing prints, you can just try ready-to-wear pieces in mixed prints. Find some stylish frock in mixed prints and accessorize it with solid color footwear and other accessories. A great idea is to choose one color from the print and use it in shoes, the bag or just go neutral.

Mixing prints, patterns and colors is trendy, chic and fun, unless you feel maximum confident. So if you follow these great style tips on how to mix prints and patterns, there is no way to mess it up ” instead go ahead and mix it up!

How To Mix Prints and Patterns

How To Mix Prints and Patterns

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Written by Armine Karapetyan
Armine is the founder of and an avid fashion lover. When she's not busy examining the latest fashion trends and news, she's exploring a new style for herself or is pursuing new adventures and dreams. Find her on Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn.