Clashing your prints is hardly an act of evil, but it’s something we’re generally discouraged from doing. We are told to match and blend, to coordinate or tone, to colour block at a push. Clashing your prints either looks accidental (generally interpreted as a cry for help) or interesting (considered), both of which are hard to do without looking as if you’ve thought long and hard about it. You know, like no-makeup makeup or bed hair, both of which are incredibly lame and not easy to do.
Without doubt, it’s one of the season’s trickiest styles to pull off. Get it right and you’re a fashion maestro; get it wrong and you’re more bag lady than fab lady.
So how can I do it without looking like a tool? Gucci is behind it because the designer in question has been there for a couple of years, and is behind the colour clashing. Their message is eccentricity so that’s the way to go, and the key (according to their catwalk and campaigns) is to go hard. Commit this fashion faux pas via snakeskin & with a plant print! The whole thing hinges on madness which, like a weird marriage, is both bewildering and confusing, yet somehow works. But the classic style personality that I am, still says Really?
My advice is: go for whatever makes you comfortable yet a bit dizzy to look at or, if you are colour blind, feels strangely familiar. The key is to keep things simple. Choose base colours that work with one another, and floral patterns that are different sizes on each item.
Take a simple floral dress and team with an oversized print scarf, or a Breton stripe top with patterned pants.
Florals, stripes, polka dots, checks…chances are your wardrobe is full of them, all hanging happily side by side on the rail. However, wearing them out – together – takes confidence.
The key to clashing prints – if you want the result to be more Carrie Bradshaw than Edina from Ab Fab – is balance: colours need to complement each other, creating a harmonious feel that pulls your look together (usually a recurring shade within the prints you pick). Think adding matching accessories in the same colour, so wearing a pink polkadot shirts with a grey snakeskin print skirt, wear a pink bag with grey or silver jewellery. It still has to tone or compliment the other colour.
The contrast of small and a large print always works well. The larger print will be the attention-grabber, so wear on an area you want to highlight.
If in doubt, stripes and florals are a winner, so grab your trusty Breton and tuck into a floral skirt or trousers. Designers such as Preen and Rixo do this very well, but there are some more low key high street versions so you can test the waters before investing too much on this trend.
Most of us own a floral dress, so this is the simplest place to start. A muted check jacket complements floral prints and adds another dimension without seeming too brash. Buy one size up for a more modern look.
If all-over print feels too overpowering then try clashing your lower half. As shoes are such a small percentage of your outfit you can afford to go with a full-on wild print contrast.
Shades that sit opposite each other on the colour wheel always work well together. To tone down the effect a little, choose a pale top with a print that picks out a colour from the trousers.
If this trend is not for you then fine, but if you try and it fails and you are still struggling with this trend, then hey at least you tried. I will be trying a few different looks over the next few weeks, and I’m not ashamed to say I’m a little scared. So if you see me walking towards you in a mish mash of patterns and prints be kind…fingers crossed. x