Pulling off mixed prints is a fashion statement that will make you stand out easily. Fashionistas do it boldly all the time. It will make you look instantly stylish if done correctly, but many people are scared to do it because things can go wrong pretty easily. Learn 4 easy principles on how to mix prints like a pro. You’ll be able to mix prints without second-guessing yourself! It’s not as hard as it seems and it will allow you to create many more looks from your closet.
The first principle for mixing prints is the easiest and it’s all about mixing neutrals with prints. Neutrals are typically solid colors, but stripes are now considered neutrals so they can be mixed with anything. Now the chicest way to mix a neutral with a solid color is to match the main or dominant color of your print garment with the same color that’s on the solid color garment.
- Mix prints with neutrals (solid colors), which is the simplest approach.
- Treat stripes as neutrals as they are now considered and function as neutrals. Stripes of any size are the easiest print to mix into an outfit and can be paired with almost anything such as paisley, ikat, and polka dots. You could wear a striped jacket over a patterned dress, or a striped top with a printed skirt and it will look put-together but not overdone. They also give a more casual vibe to any garment, which is why it’s a good print for the girl next door archetype.
- When in doubt, polka dots and stripes always work together
- The chicest way to mix a neutral with a solid color is to match the main color of your print garment with the same color that’s on the solid color garment. Ex: Cream blouse with black polka-dots cream skirt.
- Check my Pinterest board called “print mixing – neutrals” for examples and ideas. Click here to access my Pinterest boards page. Make sure you click the follow button to get my fashion images in your feed!
The second principle is mixing a print with textures, which can also be considered or used as a neutral.
- Textured fabrics like perforated leather or ribbed sweaters or lace for example can be used as a “neutral print” in the sense that it will bring more sparkle and interest to your outfit and make you look more stylish. It’s the best way to look chic if in doubt. One of my favorite ways to add interest to an outfit is to bring different textures. Different fabrics have their own texture and look and, combined, they will result in a visually interesting combination.
- Check my Pinterest board called “print mixing – texture” for examples and ideas. Click here to access my Pinterest boards page. Make sure you click the follow button to get my fashion images in your feed!
Mix Prints of Different Scales:
The third principle is to Mix Prints of Different Scales.
- Wearing two bold prints together can be overwhelming and look too busy. Instead, pair a large print with a less dominant one. In other words, pick your large print as your main focus and use a smaller print as an accent. This will create harmony instead of headaches. For example, pair a big polka dot pattern bottom with a thin striped top. The roundness of the dots offset the straight lines in plaids and stripes, which will make your outfit look more interesting.
- The bigger the Print, the more you stand out. If you want to be more subdued and classic, use smaller scale prints.
- If you want to use the same scale in the same pattern, invert the colors or use one color in common (black polka-dots on top with white background and white polka-dots on the bottom with black background or polka-dot top and a different color polka-dot bottom that have one color in common)
- You can combine two types of the same print in a larger or smaller scale (small flower top with bigger flower skirt)
- Check my Pinterest board called “print mixing – scale” for examples and ideas. Click here to access my Pinterest boards page. Make sure you click the follow button to get my fashion images in your feed!
The fourth principle is about colors.
- The prints should have at least one color in common. This helps prints complement each other instead of clashing. They can make two completely different prints look like they were made for each other.
- The safest and chicest way is to pick two prints with the same dominant color. For example, you can easily mix stripe and flower prints if the main colors are similar.
- For a more audacious look, which I do not advise if you are not an expert so to speak, you can pick a less dominant color from the first print and match it to the second print.
- Stick to the same color family and Mix prints with similar color tones. The colors don’t have to match exactly but they should be close enough so it’s obvious they are meant to go together.
- Pick two different prints that share at least one of the same color. Two or three of the same color is best.
- I don’t advise mixing only super bright colors together as it would not look as chic or work-appropriate as incorporating neutrals. Really bright colors need natural tones to tone them down and complement them.
- Pair the same print in boldly contrasting colors (in this case, you can forego the scale rule). This is especially true for animal prints such as zebra, tiger, and leopard. The organic patterns in animal prints naturally look good together. Check Rihanna’s picture in her red bottom and green top leopard outfit on the Pinterest board called print mixing – color for a perfect example of this principle
- Mix black and white prints together as they are the safest and easiest colors to mix without looking overdone. You can use bolder patterns when sticking to this combo.
- Check my Pinterest board called “print mixing – color” for examples and ideas. Click here to access my Pinterest boards page. Make sure you click the follow button to get my fashion images in your feed!
- If you want to go all out and mix three different prints, the largest print should take up 60% of the outfit, The medium print 30%, and the smallest print 10% (as an accent). This prevents the outfit to look overdone or over-styled and balances things out.
- Check my Pinterest board called “print mixing – scale” and try to notice this principle in the pictures. Click here to access my Pinterest boards page. Make sure you click the follow button to get my fashion images in your feed!
Don’t go overboard.
- Break up patterns with a belt or a solid color that matches both prints in between the prints rather than having the prints layered on top of each other. This will give you a more polished and cohesive look
- Outfits can easily become too much and not very chic when too many prints are used, so sticking to one or two is a safe way to go unless of course, it’s a high-quality dress like this one that is meant to look different or original. Designers know what works and doesn’t work, so if print mixing is part of a dress, it probably looks good. If you feel your outfit is turning into a costume, replace a print with a solid and reevaluate. Integrating neutrals into an outfit will create a more polished look by breaking up the printed pieces. Or choose a bold print mixed with a low-contrast neutral-toned garment (such as a light taupe and ivory zebra print or this striped grey sweater) which will act as a neutral but create an interesting look without looking too overwhelming.
- Once you get used to mixing and matching, you will start to get a feel about what works and what doesn’t.
Now that you learned how to mix prints to enhance your personal brand image, you can develop your personal brand style even more by clicking here and taking this quick personal brand style assessment I created. In it, you’ll learn what personal brand style you are, what inspires your brand, and specific stores you should start paying attention to.
Au revoir! Xx