How To Mix And Match Prints Like A Fashion Guru
by Alexis Puebla
Are you ready to take the coveted fashion risk that is mixing different prints? Check out our editors’ top tips for mixing and matching prints like a pro. (Hint: It’s easier than it looks.)
1. Start Small: Switch Up An Accessory
If you’re new to mixing different prints, start small and go for switching out your normal white blouse for a fun floral pattern, or change out your trusty black flats for a pair of cheetah print loafers.
Once you go bold with your statement pieces, you’ll be much more prone to taking bigger fashion risks—and before you know it you’ll be turning heads as you strut your stuff in plaids, stripes, and florals on a Tuesday at the office.
In this chic office-approved look, we took a classic cotton blouse in a blue-and-white vertical striped pattern to pair with our go-to black slacks. Since we want to take a slight risk, we went for the cheetah print loafer—because in our book, cheetah print is basically a neutral. We then added a black studded tote and a gorgeous gold bib to give the outfit a touch of luxe flair.
2. Match Colors, Not Prints
When first starting to mix prints, stick to using different patterns that belong in the same color family. If you pair a plaid blouse with striped trousers, the look can be a tad overwhelming when you have tons of clashing colors fighting for their moment.
Instead, pick one color and make sure that color appears in both prints to ensure your outfit stays balanced but also takes that show-stopping risk you’re going for.
In this ensemble, black is the base color. The polka dot blouse uses black as the solid foundation color for the shirt, while the fun and floral skirt features soft hues of pink and green with a black backdrop that creates a perfect pairing.
With this outfit we went for a classic black mary-jane heel with gold embellishments to add a feminine touch, and paired it with a neutral Tory Burch bag to ensure the focus remains on the killer prints. To top it off, we put a gold statement necklace atop the polka dot blouse to bring a hint of sparkle to the already dazzling look.
3. When Pairing Contrasting Colors, Keep The Prints Simple
Whether it’s polka dots and houndstooth or stripes and florals, mixing different prints can get tricky the more intricate the pattern. Opt for a simple print to make pairing different patterns seamless. Wearing different shades of contrasting colors is totally fine if the print is pretty basic in design. (Although, there definitely won’t be anything basic about your outfit—that’s for sure.)
In this outfit, we chose a fun and bright floral top, bringing in a mix of both cool and warm tones with the green base and yellow accents. Because this top has a mix of lots of colors, we paired it with a very clean pair of trousers in forever classic black-and-white stripes.
4. Mixing Textures Counts As Being Bold
Whether you opt to stick to the same color palette or mix two different colors entirely, switching up your fabrics and textures definitely counts as taking a bold fashion risk in our book. You can easily take an ordinary outfit and make it majorly chic by pairing two different styles of clothing fabrics to form a rather extraordinary look.
The soft and subtle floral chiffon top with ruffled sleeves gives a contrast not only in pattern, but in texture.
For an unexpected pop of color, we added turquoise drop earrings because why not?!
5. When In Doubt, Double Up The Same Print
Sometimes the simplest change can make the biggest impact. When mixing prints, it’s often an overlooked tactic to flip the colors of your pattern of choice, but it can really make an outfit stand out.
If you’re going for plaid, use inverse colors for your top and bottoms or flip the colors of your favorite striped pieces to create a look that’s so well put together, you’ll have onlookers wondering if you bought it as a mix-matched set from heaven.
In this look, we took a classic black-and-white pattern and simply took the inverse of the prints to create magic. The black and white flowy skirt features a spotted white pattern atop a solid black background, and so for the simple camisole we found a chic but dainty floral pattern using white as the base color instead.