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Olivero striped leather skirt with Liz Claiborne silk top, Notations floral blazer, L.K. Bennett wedge pumps, Esprit shoulder bag (all own) and rose gold bangle c/o Robert Matthew

Mixing prints and patterns for a stylish you is an art. This guide reveals the best stylists’ tricks and secrets on mixing prints and patterns like a pro.

  1. Mixing Prints and Patterns – Yay or Nay?
  2. How to Mix Patterns and/or Prints
  3. Mixed Prints and Patterns Outfit Ideas
    • Mixing Florals and Stripes
    • Animal plus …
    • Stripes and Plaid
    • Floral and Plaid
    • Stripes and Polka Dots
    • Polka dots with plaid
    • Camouflage plus Others
    • Mixing Three and Prints/Patterns
    • Try the Same Print, but Different Size/Color
  4. What Doesn’t Work When Mixing Prints and Patterns?
  5. Wrapping Up Mixing Prints and Patterns for a Stylish You


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Mixing Prints and Patterns – Yay or Nay?

Well, it’s an old fashion rule to only wear one print or pattern in an outfit.

Just one print per outfit is so yesteryear. #fashiontrends Click To Tweet

Today, mixing prints and patterns is a modern way to look stylish. However, what is too much for one women, may be just right for another. When I wear a print or pattern I rarely wear just one. Somehow I do love to mix them.


post banner to mixing prints and patterns for a stylish you glencheck with floral


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How to Mix Patterns and/or Prints

… without looking like you dressed in the dark due to an outage. Here is a list of the tricks to get the mixed print-pattern trend right to the spot.

  1. Polka dots of about the same size look great when the colors of the dots and background are inverted, or the dots have the same color, but the background has a different color. This polka dots on different color is a favorite next mix-and-match of fashion designers. The same applies for stripes. This type of mix is the easiest way to start mixing prints and pattern when you are new to it.
  2. You can mix all patterns when they are gray.
  3. Ground your prints/patterns with a solid color. If the print/pattern has black using black is foolproof. Otherwise the color that dominates the print is a good one to use.
  4. Mix prints/patterns that have several colors in common.
  5. Try to mix printed pieces which are in the same color scheme, but have different shades.
  6. Make sure the prints have a different size or they are the same print and size, but different colors.
  7. Only one animal print per outfit is foolproof.
  8. To look ageless in animal print choose it in its natural or close to natural colors and treat the animal print as a neutral paired with large floral print with or without stripes that pick up colors of the print.
  9. Try different geometric prints together that have common colors.
  10. Try florals of different size with common colors.
  11. Restrict yourself to two neutrals like black and white or white and blue.


stylish casual outfit with stripes and leopard print
Stripes and leopard in blue, gray, white and black


mature style blogger mixing prints and pattern in one outfit
Outfit details: Jeanne Pierre sweater with leopard print scarf, Oliveo denim skirt, GNW tights, statement belt, Prada dome bag, and Puma sneakers. In this OOTD, blue is the grounding color.



Mixed Prints and Patterns Outfit Ideas

Here are some outfit examples for inspiration how to mix prints and/or patterns to look effortlessly stylish. They are ordered by type so they are easy-to-recreate from your own closet.


Floral and Stripes

Heidi Klum is a style icon who rocks the stripes and floral print look to the perfection. The typical combination is a striped top with a floral skirt. However, you can create the look also with other pieces as demonstrated below.  More on styling floral print.


style blogger in striped shirt with A-line leather skirt
Florals and two different types of stripes


details of wooden watch
Zoom-in on the scarf and accessories that tie the look together


style book author in denim jacket tan skirt stripes floral print scarf
Outfit details: Dr. Scholl wedge sandals (thrifted), unbranded silk scarf, Ray Ban sunglasses, coin statement bracelet, Halogen A-line  leather skirt, Levis denim jacket, Ray Ban sunglasses, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Kate Moss for Longchamp bag, striped T-shirt c/o Marine Layer, and wooden watches c/o Jord


blogger Nicole in modest clothing with abstract flowers scarf and striped leather skirt
Insert flattering A-line top c/o Covered Perfectly, own GNW tight, Jimmy Choo tall boots, Oliveo leather skirt, floral print silk scarf, gemstone necklace, Hermes collier de chien bangle and self-made silver bangle


#styleover50 over 50 years old women layering summer clothes with a long sleeve cardigan for protection from mosquitoes
Talbot floral skirt, Loft striped sweater, Isaac Mizrahi long sleeve cardigan, Jaeger tote, peacock statement necklace , and slides c/o Vionic


Animal plus …

Animal print behaves like a neutral. Thus, it is the easiest to wear with other non-solid colored clothing. Wearing a multi-color around-the-knee length summer dress with leopard-print mules is foolproof. Think Rihanna.


ootd with diagonal plaid A-line skirt with giraffe print sweater
Layering top under giraffe print V-neck sweater with diagonal plaid A-line skirt, GNW tight and Gucci statement belt


fashion blogger mixing a plaid sheath with giraffe print
Ruby Belle plaid sheath, giraffe print sweater, Harley Davidson booties, grounded with black GNW tights, Festina watch, Hermes collier de chien bangle and Ray Ban sunglasses



Mixing Stripes and Plaid

midlife blogger mixing tartan and stripes in a knee length skirt, Tee, pink pumps and bag outfit
Moda International bomber jacket, Burberry skirt, 3.1 Phillip Lim pashli, Cartier just un clou, Hermes collier de chien bangle, pearl necklace, wooden sunglasses c/o Winkwood, top c/o Coolibar and Ivanka Trump pumps c/o Wikibuy



You can find more ideas how to style a pink plaid skirt at this link.



Floral and Plaid

fashionista wearing a scuba abstract floral print dress with gingham shirt mixed pattern trend
Calvin Klein scuba abstract floral print dress, GNW purple tights, Chanel thin belt, Vince Camuto boots, amethyst earrings, and gingham shirt c/o Whistle River



Stripes and Polka Dots

fashionover40 woman in winter work outfit with mixed pattern
GNW polka dots cardigan, ethnic belt, Oliveo striped leather skirt, GNW tight, Jord bamboo watch, Musse & Cloud booties c/o Coolway and best girlfriend bracelet c/o Chico’s


Polka Dots with Plaid

stylist mixing a polka dot print skirt with a plaid pattern shirt
Oliveo plaid cotton shirt with Ralph Lauren polka dot skirt, Celine tote, Ray Ban sunglasses, Kieselstein Cord belt and buckle, and L.K. Bennett pumps



Camouflage plus Others

Alaskan woman in black and white camo print pants, zebra print cardigan, necklace with black top and coat
Notations zebra cardigan, layering top, Rebecca Collins gemstone necklace, Fendi boots, Jake’s shearling coat, camouflage pants c/o Femme Luxe and vegan backpack c/o JORD


Mixing Three and More Prints/Patterns

Going all the way donning more than two prints is high risk, high reward. Why? Because more than the match of two is difficult to pull off unless your way of dressing has an Eclectic Style attitude.

Mixing three or more prints in one outfit is easiest when all prints have the same two colors like the blue and white trend in the example outfit below. It also works when all prints/patterns are from the same color family.

fashion blogger Nicole of of High Latitude Style in cardigan with polka dot skirt
Ralph Lauren skirt with GNW cardigan, BP wedge espadrille wedges, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Longchamp cuir pliage bag, Ray Ban sunglasses, Bulova watch



Women with a luxury Bohemian Style may also get away with multiple prints in one look. Note that the first mentioned style may convey the message “I don’t care about the rules.”, while the second may read poverty, when it goes wrong.


over 50 years old style blogger mixing strips, dots, and floral prints
Notations floral cardigan worn as top under Jones New York striped cardigan with Ralph Lauren polka dot pleated skirt, Modalu Pippa bag, Kieselstein Cord belt and buckle, Paloma Picasso sunglasses, and Christian Louboutin heels


The above example outfit is grounded by white. White occurs in all pieces and the pumps. Navy blue and white are both neutrals. Thus, they balance the abstract blossoms of the top.


stylist showing mixing prints and patterns
Example floral print with stripes dress with paisley print cardigan worn as top


midlife blogger in floral top, leopard cardigan camo Femme Luxe pants and booties
Camouflage pants c/o Femme Luxe with own GNW leopard cardigan, Pineapple Vintage top, smoky quartz necklace and earrings, Antonio Melani booties, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Festina watch



Try Using the Same Print, but Different Size/Color

This approach is relatively easy, but has great style impact.

mature lady in skirt and shirt mixing plaids of different size
Pendleton skirt, L.K. Bennett suede tall boots, Kieselstein Cord belt with three horses buckle, and shirt c/o Ethyl Clothing


The outfit inspiration below uses  the red of the floral print on black background, red background of the polka dots and the red stripes for grounding. In other words, you can use other colors than black to ground your look.


fashion influencer in chic summer outfit with three patterns
Back view of summer outfit with floral print, polka dots and stripes


stylist in posh in floral skirt and striped top
Outfit details: Polka dot print Keds, Celine bag, Paloma Picasso sunglasses, Brooks Brothers striped sweater, Hermes collier de chien bangle, and Talbots floral skirt


What Doesn’t Work when Mixing Prints and Patterns?

Before I wrap up the most important points, let’s quickly review the most frequent fashion faux-pas. You want to make sure to avoid them when you adopt the trend.

  1. Stay away from animal prints in non-natural colors with solids and/or other prints. This means don’t fall for fantasy animal prints. More on ageless style in animal prints.
  2. Never pair prints or patterns of same size that have nothing in common, but the size because it clashes them.
  3. Also avoid to create outfits that look similar to a quilted bed throw, and
  4. Anything too busy like hounds-tooth with polka dots of same size.


Wrapping Up Mixing Prints and Patterns for a Stylish You

Be creative, experiment. To obtain the most stylish results when mixing prints and patterns, try out everything with everything. Then go with what looks the best wrong. Make the mix the statement.

How are you mixing prints and patterns for a stylish you? Or do you wear just one print or pattern at a time? I’m just curious.

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Photos: G. Kramm

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