If I know one thing about the rules of fashion, it is that they are there to be broken. The only real rule is to wear whatever you’re drawn to and with confidence.
And for the Summer months it’s the rule of clashing prints that is yearning to be broken.
There’s always a cool lady that turns heads as she walks by in her effortlessly put together outfit. She’s smart, stylish and has an eye for colour and pattern. Do you ever wish you can mix prints and patterns like an expert? It’s not as hard as it looks.
Learning the art of mixing patterns couldn’t come at a better time. Designers have been featuring more beautiful patterns and prints recently. 70s fashion with its love of stripes and patterns is on trend, as well as florals and graphic, grid prints. With so many good prints in style to choose from, it’s time to get bold and try combining your favourites.
I have one rule that serves me best when I mix prints and patterns: keep colours cohesive.
This rule is what saves me from making an obvious fashion faux-pas. Five of my easy, secret ways to a cohesive colour story that makes me look like a master at mixing prints include:
1. Sticking to two colours. I have two favourite colour combo’s for mixing prints black and white and red & pink.
2. Picking the busiest print item and coordinating it with a simpler pattern piece that has fewer colours in it.
3. Mixing and matching patterns from the same store or brand. This will help you not clash, since most brands often work with a limited colour range each season.
4. Breaking up the different printed pieces by layering a solid on top to quiet down all the pattern. A good way to do this is with a coordinating solid jacket or cardigan, where only a touch of pattern from the top shows through.
5. Buying a dress where the print is already mixed for you.
Some prints are naturals for mixing.
Start with the naturals and build up to bolder prints as you get more confident. My favourite, versatile prints that are easy to mix with almost any pattern are:
• Polka dots
• Grid patterns
I like to use the three patterns above to mix with more complicated prints like busy florals, swirls or abstract prints.
Another idea on how to successfully mix prints and patterns is all about repetition. Try making a whole outfit out of different stripes or nothing but polka dots together. There are two ways to do this:
1. Use a large pattern for the top with the same pattern in a smaller scale for the bottom, or vice-versa
2. Use the same scale for both patterns, but keep the colours the same. A fun, inventive way to do so is by using a white skirt with black polka dots with a black top with similar sized white polka dots. The mirror effect of the pattern’s colours in reverse is interesting and unique.
If you decide to stay monochromatic with your pattern mixing, have some fun with a bold accessory statement like a brightly coloured belt or contrasting shoe
“You don’t necessarily have to stick to the same colour, but try shades based around the same colour palette or theme. The easiest being neutrals to build around. Once you’ve mastered putting prints together in blacks, browns, and even greys, it’ll be much easier to step up to shades of purple, blues, reds, etc… and eventually mix up colours too!”
Animal print is seeing a huge revival on its own right now (again!), with everything from vintage leopard designs to snakeskin prints leaping from accessories onto garments for this season. And for SS19, we’ve finally been given permission to mismatch the flamboyant garments like never before.
Ways to wear it include donning the same print in varying colours or pairing a bold print with an animal motif tee. Clash opposite skins with the most ease by combining one complete design, such as a leopard print skirt, with an item that only has wildlife-esque details – such as a tee with zebra print font.
Florals will always be a springtime favourite, forever the epitome of new life and fresh beginnings as the next season approaches. But now you can mix up the staple print by clashing together florals to give the feminine design an eye-grabbing, bold edge.
Not all clashing need be so coordinated. Mixing random patterns that are full of flair has also been given the green light this season, and allows you to take what you love from the previous two trends and introduced even more to it.
For example, the runways this season weren’t shy of combinations such as check jackets over leopard print dresses or a stripped jumpers with floral trousers. The key is to stick to just two major designs and keep makeup and accessories minimum.
Don’t want to actively think about how to perfectly clash your clothes together? Then tap into the trend by opting for an all-in-one piece that does the thinking for you.
This season, patchwork was plentiful with designed mixing together everything from fabrics and tones to patterns and prints into one slip-on item. While donning these, the key really is to let them do the talking and not to distract from the already busy piece.
The key is to have fun and try it, I’m a classic dramatic personality style so it doesn’t come naturally to me either, however I have learnt to experiment and have fun doing it! Give it a go!
If you need some convincing or someone to help you be bold then get in touch via my website on www.appearanceandattitude.com