Wednesday, February 13, 2019

10 Ideas to Inspire You to Mix Prints

black and white polka dot ruffle trousers and red plaid high heels

Mixing prints may not be a style choice that comes naturally to you and it might even seem challenging, but it's easier than you might think. It may seem difficult to find prints that you feel work well together, but the real trick is in simply having confidence in your choice and wearing it like a boss. Of course it helps to choose prints that are complementary, so here are some ideas to help you get started...

black and white striped shirt and red & green plaid skirt

1. Bold & Bashful
One of the easiest ways to wear this look is to mix one really bold pattern with another that's much more subtle, such as a large floral pattern paired with a microprint like Swiss dots, skinny stripes or even a tiny houndstooth. Make the look a bit more cohesive by choosing a colour for the microprint that's also present in the bold print. Alternatively, try clashing them in a way that's complementary.

2. Stripe on Stripe
I find this one a bit more tricky to pull off, but when it's right it's so good. Personally I love this look most when it's a clash of two more nautical looking stripes such as a navy & white Breton striped top with bottoms that also include navy stripes either with white or another colour like yellow, green or red. It's also a lot of fun to mix up various stripes in all the same colour like black & white or red & white.

leopard print & plaid

3. Leopard & Plaid
This is one of my new favourite ways to mix prints. I personally prefer to mix leopard with dark plaids in yellow, red or green because I think these colours are complimentary to the black & camel colours in the print. That said, I've seen a few people mix more muted, neutral plaids with animal prints and that works too. This is your chance to get creative and have fun with your look. You can either be bold or play it safe, but either way it's not going to be boring.

4. Clashing Plaid
I'm seeing more and more people these days mixing up their plaids and it's a lot of fun. Try mixing plaids that are in complementary colours. For example, a black and white plaid that features a small bit of red in it can pair nicely with a red plaid. Because this look is so busy, it's important to find complementary elements in both plaids that will work well together for a more cohesive look.

5. Stripes & Floral
A black and white striped skirt or trousers gets an instant upgrade when paired with a colourful, floral top. I love the way a dreamy floral can soften the harsh stripes and how the stripes bring a bit of structure to a romantic floral. I find this is easiest to wear if the stripes are quite neutral or in a colour represented in the floral pattern.

6. Animal Prints & Pinstripes
Sexy and chic, this print mix is super easy to wear because pinstripes are practically a neutral and it's a way you can get away with clashing patterns in a professional, formal work environment. A pinstripe suit or trousers with a leopard print camisole or a pair of animal print heels peeking out under wide leg pinstripe trousers are a couple of examples of how to wear this look.

gingham and polka dots

7. Polka Dots & Plaid or Gingham
I have recently come to love wearing spots with plaids. If you want to be more creative, pair a black and white polka dot dress with a pair of red plaid high heels and tie the look together with a few other colour pop accessories like a red scarf, jewellery or a bag. Another fun idea that works is pairing a gingham dress or skirt with polka dot tights.

8. Contrasting Polka Dots
When I was about 12 years old I asked my mother to make me a dress that was white with black dots on top and black with white dots on the bottom. It was probably my first experience with mixing patterns and to this day I remember that dress fondly. It was so cool and if I still had it and it would fit, I'd probably wear it today. This is in my opinion the best way to contrast polka dots - choose two prints that are the reverse of each other. That said, it could also work to use three colours if you're brave and savvy, making sure one colour is present in 2 or more polka dot prints. Another way to wear this print is to choose polka dots all in the same colour palette in different sizes. For example, pair a black and white micro dot blouse with a large print polka dot skirt in the same colours.

polka dots & stripes

9. Polka Dots & Stripes
Another favourite of mine, for this look you can work with only two print pieces or be bold and mix lots of different pieces with stripes and polka dots of different sizes. Find polka dot and striped pieces in all the same colours to wear this look with ease. Black and white works really well and is the easiest, but brights are fun too. Alternatively, work with three colours, but make sure at lease one of the colours is present in each of the pieces. For example, mixing red and white stripes with black and white polka dots can look really classic and chic. If you want to try this look, but you really aren't sure, start small with something like a Breton striped top with a corresponding polka dot scarf in the same colour worn around your neck, draped over your shoulders, tied around the handle of your handbag or even tied in your hair. Once you get comfortable mixing prints, you can start adding more pieces and expanding your options.

10. Polka Dots & Floral
In this combo, I like to let one print really shine and the other simply be supportive. For example, if the polka dots are bold, I'd choose a ditsy floral print, but if the floral print is bold and colourful, I might choose a micro black and white polka dot print or even one that's more subtle like a black sheer fabric with black polka dots. As far as the colours go, the sky is the limit here. Choose both prints in fun, bright colours, contrast the colours or use more muted, neutral tones in both prints. It's hard to go wrong as long as you let one print really shine and the colours you choose are complementary.

What are your favourite print mixing combinations?
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