The old rule
My mother always said “one pattern or print per outfit” and “the additional colors have to repeat colors of the print or pattern”. I never understood why. On the contrary, I always found it very tricky to get that rule to work as it comes close to color blocking with a print or pattern.
The new rule: Mix prints (and pattern) and ground them
I would not go so far to state that it would not work, actually it can work very well as Catherine Summer from Not Dressed As Lamb often demonstrates. Coming back to my mom’s fashion advice, the part I disagreed strongly with her was the advice not to mix pattern/prints. I love to mix pattern, and always did. I agree it is tricky too.
Here are my rules:
- Treat animal prints as a neutral. It plays well with floral prints, stripes.
- Try to pick prints of different size but same color scheme.
- Pick one color of the pattern to ground your prints. It is easiest using the background color of one of the prints. But most prints have black in them and that is a great color for grounding. Actually, it pull the look to more sophisticated.
- Keep accessorizing to a minimum and simple, but classic and let the print mix be the focus point of your outfit. You do not want that the people you meet look like they were scanning you.
In the example, I mixed a snow leopard print with a floral print. Both have a white background and lots of black. I grounded the outfit with a gray tweed skirt, gray ankle straps pumps and my shark gray Pippa bag.
Photos: G. Kramm (2014)
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