Did anyone else have a "clash day" in elementary school? You would get dressed in the silliest mis-matched clothing items you could find and parade proudly through the halls? Again, being a child of the 80s, the neon colors and oversized everything made clash day all that more fun. Well it turns out that mixing those striped pants with that polka dot top is not only totally acceptable, it's actually pretty darn trendy. However, I can see where some people might be a bit hesitant to jump headfirst into all this mixing and matching. How do you mix prints in a way that says 'yes, I meant to do this and it looks fabulous' rather than 'yes, I picked the first two things off my floor and hope I don't run into anyone I know today'? Well, I'm here to hopefully help!
I'm a strong believer that "rules" in fashion just don't apply. No white after labor day? Never mix black and navy? Your shoes should match your bag? Forget it - break the rules. That being said, when it comes to mixing prints, their are a few guidelines that might make it a little easier to ensure you look hot....and not like a hot mess.
First, don't worry about matching patterns. Just because you do a zebra print on the bottom does not mean you have to do a leopard print on the top. Focus more on overall color and texture. The Oscar de la Renta outfit below is a perfect example of this concept. The skirt features an almost checked, hashed print, while the top is a floral print. The important idea here is that the blues in both pieces mesh flawlessly. Second, consider proportion when mixing. Take a look at the ASOS dress below. Both the checked pattern and the circle pattern are somewhat large, exaggerated shapes. The outfit wouldn't work as well if the large checks on the bottom were matched with tiny circles or dots on top. Finally, stripes and gingham checks are your friends. Seriously, I consider these two prints neutrals - especially if they are black and white. By "neutral" I mean you can easily pair a stripe or check with almost any other print and it will work! I am especially in love with stripes and checks with floral prints for summer. The first Pinterest photo below is a great example!
How mixing prints is done on the runway:
Pinterest is all over the mixing game - of course:
Outfits that do the mixing for you:
Outfits you can mix on your own:
1. J-Crew Factory - here
Remember: mixing prints is all about shaking up the rules and not taking yourself too seriously. I'd love for you to share your favorite tips and ideas for mixing prints @yeswearthat on Twitter and Instagram!