Simple rules for mixing patterns

I was thinking about my last post and mixing patterns and textures can be really tricky and easily result in wrong combinations that don’t look that good. But seriously, it can look amazing if done correctly we just have to obey to the following rules:

1. Mix patterns from the same color family.


Using hues from one main color when mixing patterns can create a very subtle look, while still showing your daring side. It’s still visually stimulating for the eye, but in a refined way.

5320122655_e756ff3e7d 5320762514_84c83e70ebDiane von Furstenburg, Anna Sui

2. Think of some patterns/textures as solids


If you have a houndstooth skirt, think of that as a solid. Same can go for small polka dots, thin stripes or checks. They’re small enough and understated that the eye can view them as a solid, even though they’re really not.

5320121739_7285c86cbc 5320724114_7dcfaf5f32Marc Jacobs, Jonathan Saunders

3. Look for patterns that complement each other


The last thing you want to do is look like you got dressed in the dark. One way to make sure that doesn’t happen is to choose patterns that complement each other. Stripes and floral always mesh well, as do leopard and stripes or polka dots.

5320122547_87bf01fe3c 5320121983_7036b9f6c1Alexander Wang, DKNY

4. Don’t go too matchy-matchy

Mixing patterns is supposed to be fun. Although it can look cool, don’t go out head-to-toe in one pattern. That’s too matchy-matchy and can make you look more like Peg Bundy than you want. Although, if you want to push the envelope, switch up the colors of the matching patterns like Rihanna did. It’s a new twist on pattern mixing that keeps the overly matchy-matchy concept fresh.5320160239_2a381b013e 5320121273_651f6918df

Anna Sui, Rihanna

5. Space the patterns out


There is no need to wear a patterned skirt with a patterned jacket, or top. Sometimes mixing a top or skirt with patterned shoes can give your outfit the right amount of “wow” you’re looking for. Or try a patterned scarf with a solid top and patterned bottoms.

5320121805_13004242c8 5320762310_523a46194bAlexander Wang, Zac Posen

6. Include neutrals in your outfit

When you add a solid with two or more patterns, you allow the visual space of the outfit to be broken up. You do this with stockings, shoes, accessories or another article of clothing. Whatever you chose to add, it’ll help your outfit look even better.

5320723712_4b30f8fe05 5320160079_21052fcdc1Dries van Noten, Zac Posen

7. Combine patterns of different densities/sizes

Rather than mix dense prints with dense prints, which can cause a big mess, try mixing a dense print with a sparse print. The same goes for larger prints and smaller prints. Usually if you mix different densities and sizes, the prints balance each other out, because one becomes the focal point and the other becomes the sidekick.

5320160033_523dd0c444 5320723954_aea3565a22-1Marc Jacobs, Zac Posen

8. Use accessories wisely

As discussed in #5, sometimes spacing out patterns can help breakup the visual space. Accessories are your friend and your foe when mixing patterns. They can overwhelm or balance an outfit. Using a colored belt to break up two different patterned pieces can work really well, as can colored shoes or a neutral purse. Just be careful not to overdo it, because the focus of the outfit is the pattern, not the accessories.

5320122455_d15b071c49 5320121625_0961dfc720Proenza Schouler, Anna Sui

Credits: Suze Geeks Out