Clash-Free Zone: An Expert Fashion Guide to Pattern Mixing

Pattern mixing is a fun, creative way to play with the different prints and patterns in your closet. We tell you how to match stripes, spots, florals, and more!

Are you stuck in a rut of go-to solids and neutral designs? It's time to break out of your boring routine and get down with this year's fashion!

For many years, pattern mixing in fashion has been a no-go. The 1980s put everyone off the trend. But in 2019, mixing prints is not only acceptable, but it's totally on trend.

If you're wondering how to mix patterns like an expert, you've come to the right place. Read on for the 411 on how to match patterns.

Are you ready? Let's mix it up!

Pattern Mixing 411

From polka dots and geometrics to plaid and animal prints, patterns are HUGE in 2019. And as the saying goes, you can never have too much of a good thing. But when mixing patterns, there are some rules to follow.

According to Vogue, "There is a certain art form to piled-on prints, especially when at first glance they may seem to clash". Yes, to get it right, you've got to master the art of proportions and palettes.

Follow this guide below, and by the end, you'll be a master at mixing and matching.

Size Matters

When mixing patterns, does the size of the patterns matter? Yes, it does. When mixing up your outfit, take note of which item of clothing is the focal point.

For example, if you're wearing a floral dress as your statement piece, the pattern on the dress should be the biggest and boldest. Your jacket should have a smaller pattern which complements the dress, yet doesn't steal the limelight. For example, mini polka dots.

For an ultimate cohesive look, use the exact same pattern for two pieces but on different scales. For example, use a large pattern on top, and use the same pattern on a smaller scale for the bottom. Or vice versa.

Complementary Colors

One of the biggest faux pas when mixing prints is to go for a color clash. While this can sometimes work, it's very rare. It's best to keep your fabrics in the same color family.

Choosing mixed patterns from a single color palette will stop your outfit from looking thrown together. For example, Mindy Kaling wore an outfit with four contrasting patterns. But because she kept the entire outfit within two colors, it worked.

But if your patterned fashion piece is pretty unique and you can't match the color, use neutral colored patterns instead. For example, bright floral patterned pants matched with a white and gray striped shirt. The understated pattern will make a statement in a subtle, yet elegant way.

Inverted Designs

Using inverted color when mixing prints is another great way to make a statement without looking mismatched.

Try using the same scale for both patterns, but have them in inverted colors. For example, a black skirt with white polka dots and a white top with black polka dots.

Tone Down With Solids

When trying out mixed prints, it's usually best to stick to two designs only. This means somewhere in your outfit you can include a solid color to quiet down the pattern.

For instance, try using a solid jacket or cardigan over patterned tops and bottoms. Or for a low key look, try a patterned top, solid pants, and patterned shoes. The solid area of color can tone it down without making the outfit seem dull.

Repetition Is Key

Another secret in how to match patterns successfully is to add a repetitive element. Create an entire outfit with one style of pattern.

For instance, stripes on stripes, florals on florals or polka dots on polka dots. When doing this, you can either keep the patterns on the same scale or try to mix it up. For example, large horizontal stripes on top and small vertical pinstripes on the bottom.

Shop Collections Wisely

When you're shopping and you're trying to figure out which patterns match and which don't, it's always good to stick to the same store or same brand. This is because most brands will keep their whole collection within a limited color range for each season.

Their cohesive collections will help you to avoid color or pattern clashes.

Ready-Made Mixed Patterns

Of course, if mixing patterns seems like too much of a risk for you, buy something ready made. Most fashion designers spend a long time deciding on what pattern matches what. If you opt for a piece that's ready-styled, you're sure to pull it off.

If in Doubt, Keep It Neutral

When learning how to mix patterns, there will be times you get it right, and times when you get it very wrong. So if you're looking at yourself in the mirror and you're unsure if your mixed patterns are working or not. It may be best to opt for something neutral instead.

Neutrals are always a safe choice, but that doesn't mean you need to give up bold prints completely. Stick to one statement piece and complement it with neutrals. Neutrals are a simple trick that brings your outfit back down to earth.

Let's Wrap Up...

Woah, that looks like a lot of info! Let's wrap up the main points:

  • The focal point of your outfit should have the biggest prints
  • Keep your colors in the same family for a cohesive look
  • Try inverted designs to mix and match
  • Tone down bold and busy prints with solids
  • Repeat patterns throughout the outfit
  • Shop from a specific collection
  • Choose ready-made if you're unsure
  • If in doubt, match up with something neutral!

It's clear to see that the art of mixing prints and patterns takes a bit of forethought. But if you follow these tips, you'll turn your wardrobe from drab to fab in minutes!

Life's Too Short to Wear Boring Clothes!

It's true, right? Life's way too short to be stuck in a rut when it comes to fashion. So experiment and try something new, you might feel surprised at the results.

Whether you're pattern mixing or not, you've got to check out our amazing online store. From florals, polka dots, and stripes to leopard print and plaid, we've got all the patterns you need to update your wardrobe.

So, what are you waiting for? Go take a look!

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