Dressing Tips · Fashion · Style

4 Tips for Mixing Patterns

“My favorite color is pattern.”

My friend Kayla told me once that I should change my tag line on the blog to pattern mixing queen. She’s not wrong. I do love to mix pattern, wear bold colors and lively prints. I know y’all aren’t coming here for minimalism and simplicity.

Tiffany in snakeprint dress and houndstooth jacket
Tiffany in snakeprint dress and houndstooth jacket
Tiffany in snakeprint dress and houndstooth jacket

When I come up with a bold pattern mixing choice I will get comments like, “I would never think to put that together” or “I don’t know how you put those colors together.” To me mixing patterns is a lot like how I decorate my home. Something in my mind just sees it and I know it works. But even seeing it there is still a little method to the madness. I have been paying attention when I am pulling an outfit together and wanted to share a few of my tips.

Tiffany in snakeprint dress and houndstooth jacket: 4 tips for mixing pattern

1. Start with One Item

When I am dressing I always pick an item I want to wear and start there. This may seem a little ridiculous to be mentioning but pay attention. When you are mixing prints and patterns it is easy to get off course. If you keep switching your main item you are going to be lost in your closet for hours. So, I start with one item and then start pulling different ideas to mix with it. I always making sure that the additional items are working with the starting one. Make sense?

Pro Tip: Just keep it simple and don’t make it harder on yourself than it needs to be.

Tiffany in heart print sweater and polka dot skirt.

2. Sizes and Directions

I find when I am mixing prints and patterns it helps me to look at the sizes and directions of the prints. Usually it will work like this; large/small, scattered/linear, print/textiles. I am going to show you some examples.

Large/ Small – I started with the dress for this outfit. I knew I wanted to play on the beige in the dress so the copper in the jacket went nicely. The snake print was also in a stripe design which made it work with the houndstooth on the jacket.

Tiffany in snakeprint dress and houndstooth jacket : 4 tips for mixing pattern

Scattered/Linear – For this outfit I knew I wanted to put the skirt with a stripe top. I tried several different stripe sizes before settling on this one. I think it helps that the colors are all neutral too so it worked with the light leopard print.

Tiffany in stripe tank, cardigan and leopard skirt - 4 tips for mixing pattern

Print/Textile – If you are dipping your toe into pattern mixing this will be a good way to start. Textiles are indeed a pattern but they feel less like one because they are usually not as busy. I mixed this floral print top with a striped textile skirt and the beige top also has stipes on it too. From this angle it doesn’t look like it has a lot going on but in reality this one is busier than the two above. If you enjoy simplicity in your patterns and prints then textiles will be your friend.

Tiffany in floral tank and sweater skirt

3. Base Colors

When you are looking at the colors in your outfits make sure to look for the base colors first. So a color like lavender will read two ways, blue or gray. It is important to recognize this because it will change which colors you are wanting to mix with it. Lavender that’s base is blue will unexpectedly mix well with red that also has a blue base.

Pro Tip: Break out that color wheel from art class in high school if you still have it!

4. Try it on

Looking at clothing on hangers is never the same as trying them on. If you have a pattern combo that you love but aren’t sure then put it on and add shoes and accessories. It is important to see the whole look before deciding if it works or not.

Tiffany in Eloquii Elements floral skirt and striped sweater: 4 tips for mixing pattern
Outfit Details

5. Bonus

The biggest thing is not to overthink it and don’t wear it if you don’t like it. Dressing is fun and expression of your own taste so keep it that way and relax!



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