How to Mix Patterns like a Pro
For the first few years of college I only wore neutrals. This was partially due to the fact that the "hipster" culture was just emerging and minimalism was at an all time high, but also because I wasn't a huge fan of loud colors at that time and I had no clue how to mix and match patterned pieces.
Fast forward 5 years later and (obviously) my style has evolved and my styling skills have improved, but I do know that many of my friends are still stuck there. How do I mix colors without clashing? Can I have two separate prints? How do I not look like a clown? (That’s my most asked question when it comes to playing with patterns)
To help you out, here is a list of 5 things to consider when you’re building a multi-patterned outfit:
One Pattern Will Dominate and the Other Will be an Accent.
When mixing two patterns, don’t let them be the same size. A balance is created when one pattern is tiny and the other pattern is big and bold. Similarly, you can play with the same exact pattern in different sizes and still have a cohesive look (I.e putting together a pinstripe which is very thin and a Bengal stripe which is much thicker)
Have a Common Color.
In this outfit, my linked color is black. I have prominent black stripes and tiny black polka dots. Having one form of commonality, whether it be pattern type or color is going to really create a visual connection that makes sense to the eye.
Pair Neutrals and Brights.
Going back to that clown point (thank God it’s not 2016 clown sighting season so I can say that), think of how many colors are in a typical clown’s outfit, it’s overwhelming right? My dress is black and white, while my cardigan is black and bright yellow. Too much color can be a bad thing, so be careful to have a basic color combo and then you can accent with the bright, loud one.
Add a Solid Somewhere in the Mix to Break Up All the Patterns.
Usually this would mean wearing a belt to break up a patterned top and pants/skirt, but in this case, the solid belt brings the focus off of the two patterns. It is in contest for eye catching color with the yellow, but (because the buffalo plaid is so big), it doesn’t take away from the dress, in fact, with the dress it is a fun addition.
If All Else Fails, Polka Dots and Stripes Always Work.
If all other rules above are applied, I have never seen polka dots and stripes not work together. Whoever started marketing them together in the beginning was a genius.
What are your tips and tricks for mixing patterns? Did I miss an important point? Sound off below in the comments!