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Marvelous mixed prints
August 28, 2017, 5:05 pm

There are some fashion-girl trends that even the most style adept have trouble mastering with total confidence:  the print-on-print-on-(sometimes)-print trend, which combines two or more patterns to exuberant effect. Thing is, you don't have to have a stylist's eye to pull off this seemingly tricky look. All you need are a few guidelines — and a lot of attitude — and you will be mixing and matching spring's best florals, stripes, and ginghams in no time.  To print-clash like a pro, here are some best tips and tricks to making it look easy and cool.

Keep your classics handy:  A few safe prints to wear together are: stripes and leopard print, polka dot and leopard print. Tap into some old-school glamour with a few key pieces in a bold print, and begin swapping those for other hallmarks of your wardrobe. Swap the black ballet flats you would wear with jeans and a striped button-down for a leopard pair, for instance; or, you can jump in head-first with a striped Breton tee and a bright floral skirt.

Don't shy away from prints in the same family:  When thinking mixed prints, your instinct might be to grab two totally different patterns—but consider sticking to a single theme or family. A good formula for a print clash is to mix similar prints in varying designs. For example, take ditzy florals and pair with gigantic ones. You can also mix similar-based artworks—for example, a few different paisley colors and patterns, and put them all together as a look. This trick works in a range of categories, from gingham to florals.

Take color into account:  Achieving the visual balance you want from print-clashing really relies on the color palette. A fool-proof way to print mix is to match a lighter print with a darker one, for example, you can match a lighter blue watercolor floral with a black micro-floral print with hints of blue, white, and red; essentially, both prints need to be either inverses of each other or reflecting a similar tone. Mixing patterns isn’t so much about the prints as it is about the colors of the prints, and the only way for two prints to work is if the color is the focus. So when scanning your closet for graphics that could pair well together, think about how the colors complement each other.

Play with silhouettes:  When it comes to prints, it's not just color that makes a difference—it's also the garment they are rendered on. When planning your clashing patterns, give emphasis on the silhouettes to make sure they don't detract from the graphics you want to show off. Keep it simple, keep it classic, and let the print-mixing do the talking. Some no-fail options include pixie pants, midi skirts, and clean off-the-shoulder tops; leave the more eye-catching shapes for a monochromatic outfit day.

Have fun with it:  Don't take the print-styling process too seriously.  Just because you have reached for the loudest print in your arsenal—like pajama-inspired silk palm-print pants, for instance, or the brightest floral dress you can find—doesn’t mean you have to pair it with neutrals or solids. If anything, it's an opportunity to really have fun and express yourself creatively.  

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