Taking risks with your wardrobe is what fashion is all about. Mixing prints really allow you to experiment with your wardrobe and create new and interesting outfits. Combining different prints is easy and there are a variety of ways to do it. The biggest hurdle is usually convincing yourself to take the risk and step outside of your comfort zone. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to replicate this trend by just being ok with your outfit being a little mixed matched. Below, I am going to visually take you through 4 different ways I mix prints from easy to more complex.
Easy: Shoes and Socks
The first way I like to mix print is through the use of shoes. Having shoes that are a different print than that of your outfit is a safe way to dip your toe in the water of mixing prints.
Pictured above is me in Barcelona, Spain. Here I am mixing prints in a few ways. My shirt is striped and, if you look closely at the heels of my shoes, they are a chevron print. I did intentionally because it’s slight, barely noticeable but adds a nice dynamic to a fairly straightforward outfit. Additionally, the floral print lace adds another element of print mixing.
When in California visiting family and hanging with my beautiful niece, I paired this herringbone print dress with floral slides to create a more colorful and interesting outfit. Because the herringbone print was small (and black and white), pairing the sandals with it was an easy call to spice the dress up a bit. I find neutral colored prints (like in the dress above) are easy to mix with more colorful prints when using shoes to mix things up.
Here is me in Central Park last November when my girls came to visit (read all about that trip here). This is THE most subtle way I mix prints and it always surprises me when people notice. Usually, the notice comes with a compliment. If you look closely, you can see I paired my floral embellished dress with striped pink socks. Floral and stripes are probably my two most frequently mixed prints. I find they almost always compliment each other especially when both prints are in the same color scheme.
Give mixing prints with shoes and socks a try, it’s an easy way to add more style and flavor to an outfit. You’ll be surprised how many people take note of such a subtle style move.
Medium: Bring on the Bags
The next way I like to mix prints is through the use of bags and clutches. Typically this happens when I don’t have any bag to go with a particular outfit, so rather than find a perfect match, I look for a print that would compliment the one I am already wearing.
While attending my good friend Lauren’s dental school graduation, I wore one of my favorite dresses: a multi-colored houndstooth print dress with a frayed hem. I paired this great dress with my leopard clutch. If you are nervous about mixing prints start with leopard, it’s a neutral disguised as a print, I promise. As you’ll soon see, if you keep reading this post, leopard goes with anything and thus it’s my go-to print to mix. I love adding a clutch in a different print because I feel it always take the outfit to the next level when done well.
Here is another example of how to used a clutch to mix prints. I have no clue where I was going here, but I am in front of my old Baltimore home (insert heart emoji). Another trick for doing this if you find it intimating is to mix prints in the same color scheme. Both the floral dress and lined clutch are black and white making the print mixing noticeable but not as obvious.
This is not the best picture (shrugs) but another example of me using my leopard clutch to print mix, this time with shoes. I paired my leopard clutch with my floral print shoes to make an otherwise pretty basic outfit interesting.
A great way to start mixing prints with bags is to just buy a good leopard, striped, or floral clutch and try it with different printed clothing you already own. You’ll be surprised at how often it compliments rather than clashes with other prints.
Medium: Get a good printed coat
As previously mentioned, leopard print is basically a neutral color. I bought this great faux fur leopard print coat from French Connection this fall. Coats are a fast way for me to I mix prints. I simply throw it on with anything, and it somehow works (but definitely not always). Getting a great jacket in a print is possibly one of the fastest ways to start mixing prints, especially in the winter.
Here I wore my leopard coat on a trip to the apple store (yes, this beautiful backdrop is just the apple store). I work it with my favorite thrifted striped shirt (read about how to thrift here). The leopard print is something I almost always mix with stripes or florals. Adding the leopard coat once again gave the outfit more style and the mixed print made the outfit more appealing to the eye.
While having a drink and enjoying the view at PH-D lounge in Manhatten, I once again donned on my leopard coat with a simple floral dress. I re-wear all my spring dresses in the winter and since I love floral print dresses, this gives me a great opportunity to use my leopard coat to mix prints. As I mentioned before, I typically pair leopard print with florals and stripes. I think those prints compliment each other nicely without clashing. When mixing these prints, however, one print should be more dominant than the other. For example, the floral dress here is the dominant print where the leopard print in this coat is lighter which is what prevents the prints from looking like they are clashing.
On my birthday, pictured above, I again used my leopard coat to combine two different prints. The sheer floral in print paired nicely with the leopard print and created a well-finished mix printing look.
Hard (ish): All in!
The last way to mix prints is to go all in, by that I mean lose the subtleness and be completely mix matched, but somehow complimentary. “All in” requires a full commitment to being mixed matched and the confidence to know your outfit is bomb.
The easiest way to get into to mixing prints with a full outfit is to mix two prints that are in the same color scheme. Above, I paired a polka dot top that is blue and white with a blue and white horizontal striped full skirt. Even though the prints are vastly different, they look great together and the color matching makes it feel a bit safer (lol).
This over filtered photo (oops) is from my favorite trip to Positano (read about that here). I don’t know what pattern is on these adorable silk shorts I borrowed from my friend Ebony, but I mixed it with my favorite off the shoulder striped body suit. When I initially put on the shorts, I realized the orange color was going to be hard to match so I was going to just wear a white crop top. When I tried on the shorts with said white crop top the whole look was boring and the print in the short was less noticeable. When I paired it with this striped bodysuit the print mixing emphasized the patterns creating a great outfit. I find that stripes are (as I mentioned) one of my go-to prints whenever I want to put different prints together, especially stripes in a neutral color.
I love this picture because I was headed to my niece’s second birthday party. My sister always throws great intimate parties that everyone loves. For my niece’s birthday, I wore this thrifted bird print pleated shirt (yes bird print lol), with a checkered print shirt I actually got from target years ago. This is one of those random print mixing success stories which is the fun part about pairing together different prints. The skirt is navy blue, white, and red, but it somehow looks great with this black and white shirt. Something about the checkered squares in the skirt and the pleats of the skirt just work beautifully together. Additionally, since the bird pattern is relatively subtle, it pairs nicely with the busy pattern of the top.
Mixing prints can be intimidating but it’s also one of those things that makes fashion individualized and fun. It lets you get creative with how to wear your clothes. It also lets you reimage pieces you have had for a while by wearing them with something unexpected. Fashion is all about taking a risk and print mixing is one of the most fun ways to do this.
How do you mix prints?