Mixing Prints & Patterns

Mixing prints and patterns can be intimidating.  No one wants to look foolish (or clownish).  

But, with a few tips its totally doable, I swear.  

To get started with ideas and inspiration, check out my Mixing Prints & Patterns Pinterest Board that I created specifically to go with this post.

How to Mix Prints - Alexa Webb

Tips for Mixing Prints & Patterns

  1. Mix big with small and small with big.  Wearing patterns and prints together is about creating interest and contrast.  So you’ll want to mix a bold stripe or print with a small stripe or print.  For example, a big floral print combines well with a small stripe.
  2. Treat stripes and dots as a solid color.  For example, treat a navy and white stripe as though it were just solid navy.  Wear it with a print or pattern you would ordinarily match to solid navy.
  3. Leopard is a neutral.  Period.  It goes with everything.  So is camo, in my opinion.
  4. Combine two prints to start.  Then add a neutral, such a leopard print or camo to really mix it up.
  5. Advanced Tip: Use the color wheel to mix and match complementary colors.  More on that here.

Below are examples of outfits that mix prints and patterns.  

I’ve added a little info about why each one “works.”

So do you feel ready to mix things up this fall?

You can find more of my styling educational posts in the Style 101 section.

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11 thoughts on “Mixing Prints & Patterns

  1. Alexa
    Hi my name is Terri, I go by Dee, I need help in mixing and matching plaids, strips, and everything in between. I am making a tie skirt (yes an actual skirt made with ties) I’ve always been very conservative so coming out of my comfort zone using these ties is a bit overwhelming. I’m making this skirt in honor of my late husband, next month it will be 13 yrs since his passing. He wore ties most of the time, so this is how I want to honor him by using most of his ties. Can you help please?

    1. Hi Terri,
      What a great idea! I love that! I would recommend using a color wheel to help you decide which ties to place next to one another. You can read a bit about color theory here. Also, I would reference quilting guides since what you are trying to put together is a lot like a strip quilt. There are a lot of resources on the internet for quilters to help figure out what are complementary prints and colors. If you are still struggling, I would recommend getting a quilting book from your local library or fabric store. Something like this.

  2. Hi Alexa,
    I feel invigorated,a wee bit anxious but overall excited about the application of your tips-thanx!

  3. This might be a long shot but O really lovel the pink and camel strriped sweater can you tell me where I can buy that and the leopard shirt

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