Mixing Patterns Guide: #8 Tips To Slay The Trend

A long time ago, in fashion magazines far far away, it was said that you could only wear one patterned item of clothing per look for it to be considered a good combination. But times have changed and in recent years we’re seeing the rise of mixed pattern looks, and along with it come a bunch of questions, such as “how do I mix two patterns in one outfit without looking strange?”, “which patterns look good together?” or “is there a ‘golden rule’ for this trend?”. The answer for that last one is no, there isn’t, but there are a handful of tips that can help make it easier for all of us who aren’t fashion experts.

  1. 1. Change scales

    “Mixing” doesn’t always have to mean wearing different prints, maybe it just means different scales of the same print. For example wearing tiny polka dots on top and bigger ones on the bottom creates a really cool effect and doesn’t look weird.

  2. 2. Keep it in the same colour family

    Pick one group of colours and choose different patterns within that group to add a little twist to a semi-monochromatic ensemble. This creates a sense of unity in your look and it still looks fun.

  3. 3. Pick one to be the main event and one to accentuate

    Rack of clothes

    Different patterns work the best when they don’t look like they’re fighting to outshine each other. So, to avoid that, choose one patterned item to “dominate” the outfit and wear a more subtle one just to compliment it.

  4. 4. Don’t forget the neutrals!

    woman wearing puffer coat and plaid trousers bristol fashion

    Neutral pieces help give more emphasis to the different patterns in your outfit. For example, a plain white crop top and jean jacket can help direct the eyes to the patterned pieces on the bottom half of your look.

  5. 5. Stripes can be treated as neutrals

    Anna Schultz-Crossed Hands With Rings

    Here’s the thing: thin stripes can be considered the neutrals of pattern mixing. Whether you’re still weary of throwing together an outfit using different prints or just don’t feel like being too bold for the day, just add a bit of spice with this semi-neutral and you’ll be good to go.

  6. 6. Belts are your friends

    Belts can be used to “break” one print from the other and create cohesion in the outfit. This is a way to avoid the clash between the top print and the bottom print. And they’re pretty stylish anyway, so why not?

  7. 7. Accessories count as part of your outfit

    Baby steps can go a long way. Still unsure on how to approach pattern mixing? Start with one print in your clothes and another on an accessory, such as a handbag or your earrings. It’s subtle, but adds a great touch to the final look.

  8. 8. When in doubt, stick to the classics

    Yeah, I said there’s no “golden rule” here, but there are some combinations that work nearly every time, and stripes with polka dots is one of those. Like I said on item 5, stripes are almost like a neutral, so pair that with the timeless classic that are polka dots and you’ve got a winning combo.


The article above was edited by Gabriela Sartorato.

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