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Mixing Prints || A How To Guide

Updated: Jul 7, 2023

The very idea of mixing prints can be quite terrifying. Some days we are lucky to simply throw on yoga pants and a tank top. It feels like it would require a lot of thought, careful planning, and a dose of courage. With a few basic tricks up your sleeve, it isn't that hard.

I have many clients who say, "I love prints so much, but I don't know how to wear them." or "Where would I wear something like that?" First, if you love something we will find the right way to wear it. Second, you wear it wherever you want! Below you'll see many options on how to wear something and I'll share where I'd wear it.

Mixing prints is one of those things you have to play with. Try it on, try again. The more you play around with it the more fine-tuned it will become. I, too, still don't always get it right on the first try, however, playing around with different pieces can be a lot of fun.


Prints That Play Well Together

There are a few prints that generally lend themselves to work well together. If you're just starting with mixing prints, take one of these classic pairings and anchor your outfit with a solid 3rd layer or accessories. For example, in the first picture, they anchor the stripes and polka dots with a solid green cardigan.

Take a peek at the following pairs...

Stripes & Polka Stripes & Florals Leopard + ANY Polka & Floral

Leopard print acts as a neutral. It plays nice with really any other pattern. However, there are so many different types of leopard prints. Here are some basic tips I keep in mind.

  1. Match one of the colors in the leopard print with the other printed piece you choose.

  2. Leopard print ALWAYS looks great with denim

  3. Pick another neutral-printed option to wear with your leopard print

  4. Choose a color that complements one of the colors in the leopard print.


The Basics

I hate the idea of rules when it comes to styling. If you feel comfortable in something...then rock it! So let's just say these are some basic tools you can use to mix your favorite prints.

1. Neutrals Neutrals Neutrals

One of the easiest ways to start your print mixing journey is with neutral colors. You probably already know that black and white look amazing together. How about all black? (So sleek!) Brown and cream...swoon! Take your favorite neutral combo and translate that into printed pieces.

2. Contains a Common Color

Notice how both the leopard-printed shirt and plaid pants have a light blue color that ties them together. Finding a common color that runs through both prints is a really simple way to play with patterns and create an outfit that looks intentional. See how to break this rule the right way in #3.

3. Graphic & Whimsical

This is why florals and stripes look so great together; it creates balance. When you anchor a more whimsical print with a strong graphic one, you have a match made in heaven. Notice in this combination I don't have a common color tying the two pieces together. It works because blue and orange-red complement each other nicely. As I tell my daughters, "No, they don't match. They go together".

4. Scale

This may be one of the more advanced ways to think about mixing prints. But we've got this! I love mixing a big print with a smaller print like you see in this picture. This even looks great when you try this trick with the same print. For example a wide striped skirt with a micro striped top in the same colors. When attempting this remember your common color trick! An easier way to try playing with scale is with a micro or small print. Imagine a pinstripe with a larger conversational printed top.

5. Accessorize

Adding printed accessories to your outfit is an easy way to dip your toes into the world of mixing prints. Both the jacket and shoes act as neutrals and have the common black color to tie them together. Imagine completing this outfit with a pair of black skinnies and a cute lace black cami. (So Chic!!)


Idea Gallery

On each image, you will see a tag indicating where I'd wear the outfit. This is just one of many places you could wear each outfit. A simple change of shoes and/or jewelry could make an outfit more casual or dressed up.

I hope this article has given you tons of inspiration on how to mix and match prints. The one thing that really makes an outfit shine is your own confidence. So go out there and rock what you chose to wear today!

Please comment below and share which outfit above is your favorite. Also, if you are looking to enhance your style I'd love to help you out! Check out all the styling services on my website and book your FREE Styling consultation today.

Cheers, Katie

Where Can I Find It?

Below you'll find affiliate links for some of the items above, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you.

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