Mixology: How to Mix Prints

Outfit 1: stripes and paisley

I love using stripes as my base print. Also, the fact that this whole outfit is comprised of white, black, and tan makes print-mixing much less scary.  Check out rules #1 and #2 below.


Outfit 2: stripes and (literal) animal print

Again with the stripes, right?  But I use rule #3 when trying to be more daring with my color choices.  Even though the prints in both the dress and scarf are pretty bold, the tangerine color pulls the outfit together.


Yes, those are actual cheetahs on my scarf.

Outfit 3: Graphic tee and animal print

Not all prints have to literally lay on top of each other.  Check out rule #4 below.  And rule #5.  Because.


Outfit 4: stripes and plaid and leopard (oh my!)

This outfit is from a previous post this fall, but it’s worth mentioning that you absolutely are allowed to have three prints on your body at the same time!  It might also help you to understand rule #6.


Outfit 5: stars and stripes

Check out my Baby A getting in on the mixology action!


In my attempt to find things other than all black to wear out in public (like olive!), I’ve discovered an absolute love for patterns, particularly stripes.  I used to buy into the old warning that horizontal stripes make you look fat, but the more I looked around when shopping, the more I realized that vertical stripes just aren’t a thing.  Horizontal stripes are where it’s at, so I decided to stick it to the conventional adage and brace my hips for widening.  But it didn’t happen.  Horizontal stripes are freaking adorable and I’m obsessed.

This burgeoning love for stripes eventually grew into a dangerous desire to break even more fashion rules. Call me crazy, but I was ready to start wearing white after Labor Day and to throw on all my silver jewelry with all of my gold jewelry.  This new-found freedom got  me experimenting with a fashion choice I had never dared to attempt: mixing prints.  It started out small, with a patterned shoe to go with my striped dress.  And then it flourished into a full-blown belief system.  I love to mix prints.  In fact, I think everyone should be mixing prints like crazy.

But I think, like me, a lot of people are initially intimidated by the idea of doing such a thing.  We are very comfortable pairing our prints with a nice, responsible black or navy.  We fear the overwhelming power of the couture runway and imagine we’re supposed to look like this:

Image result for pattern mixing on the runway   Mixing prints and patterns is not only acceptable — it's supremely on-trend.  Ace & Jig Fall 2016 Ready-to-Wear Fashion Show:

(Photo cred: Pinterest)

But it doesn’t have to be that bold.  If, instead, you start small, you’ll realize how simple it is to mix your prints, and you won’t be able to get enough.  Here are some suggestions that I grew to understand when I first started doing this:

  1. If you’re nervous about print-mixing, start with a basic stripe.  It’s the easiest thing to mix another pattern with.  It also looks amazing with plaid.  Always.
  2. Ease into a print mash-up by choosing patterns that have more neutral colors, like blacks, greys, or browns in them.
  3. Pick up a minor color in one print with a matching major color in the second print.  If you have a plaid with a thin line of yellow in it, consider pairing it with a patterned scarf that has a lot of yellow in it (making sure that the yellows match or are complementary).
  4. If you’re worried about layering one print right on top of another print, consider mixing your prints separately on your body, like wearing a print top with a different print shoe.
  5. Use animal print.  Just do it.  It looks surprisingly amazing with almost everything.
  6. Invest in the following items: a plaid blanket scarf, a striped t-shirt dress, animal print shoes, a paisley scarf, a polka dotted blouse, a striped blazer, and a leopard print belt.


Prints for the non-preggos:

 ASTR 'Rue' Plaid Wrap Front Dress     Current/Elliott The Greta Leopard Print Sweatshirt 

Prints for the preggos:



      BP. Leopard Print Slouchy Beanie  UGG® 'Keile' Genuine Calf Hair Sneaker (Women)   BP. Jacquard Scarf  Halogen® 'Owen' Pointy Toe Ghillie Flat (Women) Børn 'Calliston' Slip-On Sneaker (Women)  Hinge Folklore Floral Print Scarf


PS-If you want to know what other fashion faux-pas you’re totally allowed to break, check out this article.

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