Patterns That Easily Mix Together and Why They Work


Pattern, and whether or not you like it, and the kinds of patterns you like, is based on your personality and not everyone is into pattern mixing. You don’t have to like or wear it, but if you do, go for it. So as a little guide, I’ve done up an image with a limited range of clothes (sorry, couldn’t necessarily find the perfect garments, but just to give you an idea).


Patterns That Easily Mix Together and Why They Work

Patterns That Easily Mix Together and Why They Work

1. Floral + Stripes: Stripes are not really considered to be a pattern, so you can mix them with any print, from floral to graphic, just tone the colours in (sorry I would have preferred the cardigan to have been green, but them’s the breaks), with colours in the pattern to work it back.

2. Leopard + Floral: What you’ll notice here, is that the leopard is a dense small print, whilst the floral is a sparse medium print, yet they work together. We want slightly different scales, and different density when mixing prints.

3. Floral + Graphic + Leopard: Ok, I’ve cheated a little here and found a dress which already has the graphic, larger, sparse print, mixed with the smaller scale dense floral print, but notice how the designer has used the same colour scheme, which unifies the dress. I’ve gone out on a limb and added the leopard print boots, because even though a different print, again the print is slightly smaller, and it relates to the small floral print on the hem.

4. Military + Floral: It’s tough dramatic chic meets feminine romantic print. Again it’s the colours that link the two garments, with one more dense print, and one garment that has more negative space (that’s the bit between the pattern or print). Interestingly when putting together this image, I played around with few skirt options and didn’t feel that any of the more sparse prints worked as well as this dense floral. The black boots tie the look together.

If you want some real life inspiration, check out my style, mixing prints post

Do you mix your prints?

More tips on mixing prints and patterns

How to Mix Patterns in Your Outfit

How to Mix Stripes with Prints

The Secrets to Mixing Prints in a Wardrobe Capsule

How To Combine Patterned Tops with Scarves



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  • Imogen, I love these combinations!

    It’s been one of my biggest style challenges to overcome the “rule” I grew up with about *never* mixing prints (stripes included). But the other day I wore a leopard print sweater with a scarf with broad stripes! Baby steps….

    BTW, I sent you a question through your website a couple of days ago, don’t know if you saw it.

  • Hi Deja,

    Yes I got your email – didn’t you get my reply? I’ve just resent – let me know if you don’t get it.

    Great that you’re experimenting – rules are meant to be broken – like blue and green should never be seen – that’s one I break almost every week!

  • Another amazing how-to – printing this out for future reference. I’ve lived in fear of mixing prints, but now that I see the theory behind the pairings, it seems much less daunting!

  • Oh, it pains me to see that Alexander McQueen cardigan! I love that. I bought the dress version on sale and it looked terrible on me, so I had to send it back. But I still find the design so beautiful!

    Oh, and I’m incapable of mixing prints. 🙂

  • Wendy – I could so see you in that cardigan! Pity it didn’t work for you.

    Fifi – clothes are an artistic expression of self – go ahead and play!

    Sal – I’d love to see what you do on your blog.

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