Patterned clothing can be rather terrifying. Solids, we understand. Color blocking, doable with practice. Patterns? They are best categorized as uncharted territory. Mixing patterns? Even more distressing. However, this does not necessarily have to be the case. Floral shirts need not be match with black jeans, nor striped shirts with classic blue denim. Break out of your style shell and mix patterns with patterns — without looking like your Great Aunt Sally. Before you start mixing, take a look at our Pattern Mixing Rulebook for some fashion inspiration.

 

 

Whitney Port (www.orlyshani.blogspot.com)

Whitney Port (orlyshani.blogspot.com)

Rule #1: Stay in the same color family. This rule comes from AllWomenStalk.com, which says, “you can use contrasting colors, as long as the prints have a color in common.” Mixing colors is definitely a lot for the eye to take in, so you want to make sure you are tying it all together in some way or another.

 

Rule #2: Do not match too much. Now, we did just tell you to keep your look in the same color palettes, but that does not mean it should be matchy-matchy. Stripes on stripes or all polka dots on polka dots are not what you are aiming for. Even if they are different sizes, too much of the same thing can be overwhelming. The goal is to complement without matching.

 

 

Rule #3: Mix bold and subtle. The key to looking put-together is having one aspect of the outfit stand out against the rest. Choose one piece to be the center of attention and pair it with more subtle textures. “By mixing sizes and densities, there’s no battling for attention. One pattern becomes the focus, while the other sits sidecar,” says Cheryl Fenton of the Boston Globe.

 

Rule #4: Pair big with small. One consistent size of pattern shapes will leave you wearing a miss-mantled jumpsuit. A fine pattern paired with larger scaled shapes allows for one pattern to catch your eye, while the other pattern supports the look, without outshining one another.

 

Peter Som for DesigNation Mixed-Print Dress (www.Kohls.com)

Peter Som for DesigNation Mixed-Print Dress (Kohls.com)

Rule #5: Break it up. Add a few solid accessories to your outfit to help break up the patterns. “Adding basic colors is one of the best strategies to wearing prints subtly,” says The Chic Fashionista. A simple belt or a solid blazer will help pull everything together.

 

Rule #6: When in doubt, seek professional help. Many designers have clothing created out of mixed patterns. If you are new to mixing prints and patterns, or just want to avoid any fashion faux pas, opt for a pre-mixed design like this cute DesigNation dress from Kohl’s.

 

Follow these simple tips and you will be mixing patterns like a professional in no time.

 

What are your thoughts on mixing patterns? Let us know in the comments below or tweet me @LydiaYekalam