Prints are like the spices of your wardrobe. In the right dosage and combination, they can take a bland base and make it truly stand out! But add too much, or put together a jarring combination, and you end up wanting to bin the whole thing.
Which is why many people are afraid to even try their hand at patterns and prints. And while you can veer on the safer side of solid colours, you may also feel like you’re missing out! Would you absolutely love to start having more fun with your daily looks? Then follow my below tips for mixing and matching prints!
Two at a time.
If you’re just dipping your toe in the pool of prints, I’d recommend keeping to two per outfit. They’ll be more than enough to showcase your creativity without risking a huge clash-fest. Three+ prints are more forgiving of advanced trendsetters, and should be approached carefully.
That being said, you can be a bit cheeky and sneak in a third print through accessories. For example, the studs on my bag here look a bit like polka dots from afar. So they just “happen to” mimic the polka dots on my top, giving the impression of a third print. The colour also vibes well with my raspberry lipstick, making the look more harmonious and interesting, thanks to the pops of red.
Keep it in the family.
The same colour family, that is! It’s a lot easier to start mixing printed items by matching their dominant colours. For example, it will be much easier to match a fuchsia and white striped blouse with a black skirt littered with hot fuchsia flowers.
Or as is the case here, a white blouse with blue polka dots works quite well with a blue and white paisley skirt. It would have made my job that much more difficult to start adding in multiple colours and still keep a cohesive look.
One big, one small.
This may just be me, but in my experience, it’s a lot easier to start off by mixing a smaller print and a larger one. Small, cluttered prints can be seen as a whole image by the eye, so they don’t come across as “PRINTS!” as much.
And similarly, it would be a lot more difficult to pull off a large, bold floral print next to a super loud geometric one. This, of course, will also depend on your sartorial personality, on how much you want to stand out, or on which part of yourself you want to draw more attention to.
I think it’s safe to say dramatic, maximalist gals will gravitate towards big prints with a strong contrast (the bigger the better, right?) While more understated ladies will often reach for delicate pastel prints, barely defined shapes or smaller patterns.
Start with tried and true combos.
One of the simplest ways you can start addressing multiple prints is by doubling the same type. This is fairly foolproof, and the excitement in your look comes from the different colours and textures. So you can easily wear a polka dot shirt and bag for example, or a mariniere skirt with a nautical print scarf for example.
A few other great combos you can’t fail with are: florals & stripes, polka dots & stripes, abstract, natural prints (like fruits & botanicals) together. If you are brave and want to try clashing prints, give the following a try! Animal prints & polka dots, polka dots & paisley or florals & geometrical patterns work surprisingly well together.
Stay true to your style.
I think a lot of women are scared of prints because they see them as a declaration of excentricity. And as much as fashion encourages us to be daring and quirky, those adjectives don’t always match our personal style.
So here’s the key take away: you don’t have to sacrifice your unique style when playing with prints! You can still mix them and be minimal, classic or romantic, if that’s who you are.
Case in point, a black blouse with subtle white grids, topped with a houndstooth coat is a statement in refinement. Just like sliding a pastel chiffon polka dot top in the waistband of a satin blush skirt covered in red poppies is pure, delicious romance.
Now my dears, I hope that I’ve managed to debunk the idea that wearing prints is hard or scary. You just need to want to try and then give’em a whirl! Your eye will become practiced in recognizing amazing combinations, if you allow yourself the freedom to experiment.
And remember: be playful, be bold, try all the combinations that you want! Even if you don’t end up loving all of them. The point is to learn what looks suit you, and which ones make you smile back at your reflection in the mirror.
Photos by Natalia Bylok, edited by me
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