Skip to main content

Three Tips for Mixing Prints

The old rules are dead.

By Sara Antonuccio

You can’t mix stripes with polka dots. 

Never wear animal print with floral print.

Always pair a pattern with a solid - it’s the rule.

Not anymore. Throw these old ideas out the window - it’s time to modernize your fashion guidelines! We’re going to teach you how to mix prints like a fashion expert. Bring some fun back into your wardrobe and come up with combinations you never thought possible using these tips:

Families Stick Together
There are several print families: florals, stripes, polka dots, animal prints, checkers, and so many more. Start with two pieces in the same family, such as two different florals, and get crazier from there. Some ideas to keep your look from getting too busy are to choose pieces with the same print in different sizes or colors. You could go for a skirt with large polka dots and pair it with a shirt that features smaller ones, or wear traditional leopard print on top and the same print in a different color on the bottom. There are many different ways to make this work, so start experimenting!

Get Creative with Colors
In addition to pairing print families, you can also match colors. If one print features a lot of blue, make sure the other one has the same or a similar shade of blue. This adds a touch of cohesiveness that prevents your outfit from appearing too dissimilar. You can also embrace contrast - pair a pattern in a lighter color with one that’s dark. Black and white are the best examples of contrast that works exceptionally well.

Throw in a Solid to Tame the Look
While it’s no longer a rule that you have to wear a solid if part of your outfit features a pattern, you can utilize solids to make your mixed prints stand out from one another. The best way to incorporate a solid is to place it between prints and use it to break them up. For instance, you can wear a striped shirt, solid skirt, and leopard print flats, or a printed cardigan, solid shirt, and patterned pants. There are many more ways to make solids work to your advantage, so don’t be afraid to try unexpected combinations!

Fashion rules are more like guidelines, and even then they can become outdated. The new rule is there are no rules, so get ready to jump out of your comfort zone and grab all the patterns and prints you want. You’re free to mix to your leisure!