Want to mix prints like a pro but scared of looking like a clown? You’re not alone. For the uninitiated, mixing prints can be a tricky thing to do. So much so that most avoid it altogether. If you get it wrong and you feel awkward in it then heads will turn for all the wrong reasons. If you’re still starting out with prints then check out my last post how to really work prints first. If you’re wanting to up your game and get ready to give mixing prints a whirl then keep reading for all the tips to make sure you’re a print-mixing-maestro!
Negative Space – If two prints have the same amount of ‘negative space’ around the objects in them then that’s where the eyes will fall. Using two patterns that have a similar amount of negative space will automatically be pleasing to the eye. Notice how although the trousers and top have completely different prints, there’s a similar amount of white space in both.
Same colour family – One of the easiest ways of combining prints is to pick two completely different prints and find a common colour that ties the two together. In this example below, the orange and blue in the shirt and trousers are the key colours and they’ve even used the method to add in a bold orange and blue clutch.
Complimentary Colours – Ok so this one is a little bit harder as you have to know which colours work together and compliment each other. Some people intrinsically are great at putting colours together, for others it’s a bit more difficult. To get used to pulling together complimentary colours you can check out this Pinterest board I made. If you’re good with complimenting colours then find two prints with complimentary colours and voila! Just like the yellow and blue example below.
Repetition – We’re getting all ‘fancy pants’ again with this one. If there’s repetition in the two prints then they’ll work together. This can be an exact match and be all ‘matchy matchy’ in the same colour or it could be the same colour with similar repetition in each print. See below, the outfit on the right has vertical striping on the skirt and also the print on the top forms vertical lines with it’s pattern. It’s then drawn together with the similar ‘off’ red in each piece.
Something Different – There’s going to be some print combinations that can’t always be explained, they just look right. These can be seen on those that have a high fashion IQ. What I mean by that are those people who just seem to be naturally gifted at putting things together, always look effortless and have bags upon bags of confidence to finish it off. This look with the red plaid and leopard doesn’t really follow a ‘rule’ as such but works. It draws upon the classic red lips and leopard combo and takes it up a notch with the plaid print.
The Starring Role – You can pick a bolder print and mix it with a print that’s a little more subtle or not as strong. You’ll see people using striped pieces in this role, like a neutral. They then pair their striped tee or jacket with something that’s bolder in colour and bigger in terms of the print. You can see below the print on top is smaller and not as big or bold as the print on the skirt, which acts as the statement pieces of the outfit.
Monochrome Easy – Another easy way to mix it up with prints is to go monochrome. If you’re wanting to start out or you’re not sure which prints to put together then pick two simple monochrome prints like the fashion blogger’s fave: stripes and polka dots. I particularly like this look with the black and white stripes with the patterned black and white trousers.
Same Print… Different Colours – Another easy one to start off with. Take the same or very similar print and wear different colours on the top and bottom. The prints don’t have to be exact or be from the same brand or collection, as long as they’re very similar and the same size. The look below gives you an idea as does this picture of Miranda Kerr, if you look closely you can tell the print isn’t identical just similar and in a different colour.
So there you have it, everything you need to master mixing it up with prints. If you’re still unsure then feel free to leave a comment below. For those that are print lovers or print-mixing mavens…
Whats you’re favourite way of mixing prints?
I love reading and replying to all your comments so let me know your answer in the comments section below.