How to Mix Patterns Like a True Fashionista
Each year the fashion gods and goddesses grace us with new collections and trends. Unfortunately, not all of us are so fashion-forward as to instinctively know what to do with all of these new styles, hemlines and prints.
One of the easiest fashion trends to mess up in a really big way is the print. It doesn’t matter if it’s floral, geometric, stripes, or polka dots; if you don’t know how to work well with prints, it’s likely that you have abandoned all hope of ever becoming a fashionista.
However, there is hope for the fashion hopeless, and mixing prints is not as difficult as it seems. In fact, in many fashion circles, mixing prints has become an art form. Designers have sent models down the runways of the world in polka dots and stripes, animal prints and camo and everything in between. All it takes is a little bit of fashion sense and a whole lot of moxie and you can mix and match prints like a pro.
If you’re just beginning to tread the waters of fashion prints, it’s wise to take things slowly. Updating a monochromatic wardrobe can seem daunting initially, so begin by adding an accessory in a bold print. A leopard clutch or zebra belt can update a neutral outfit in a big way. If you’re fond of black, purchase a top in a subtle polka dot or stripe pattern to pair with a black skirt or shorts.
A little pop of color or pattern in your accessories will help you learn what you do and don’t like and will help you move on to bigger prints that make a much more bold statement.
Consider Your Silhouette
As with any outfit, you should consider your silhouette before you jump into the prints and patterns fray. Prints and patterns can work one of two ways — they can enhance your shape or they can keep you from looking your best.
If you’re tall and thin, one of the best ways to use a print is on your legs. Consider a pair of floral-patterned jeans or try a fun pair of leggings in a girly, paisley print. As you become more print savvy, consider something really funky like a legging or tight in a vertical rainbow stripe. Pair these with a belt or scarf in a small animal print for something fun and unexpected.
Have an Eye for Color
One of the biggest issues when attempting to mix prints and patterns is choosing the wrong colors. If the colors of your clothing aren’t complementary, your outfit might look like a costume and no one wants to be asked where their trick or treat bag is.
Become familiar with the color wheel and how it works. Patterns that might seem like they’d clash can actually work well if they’re in complementary colors, which are colors opposite each other on the wheel. Analogous colors, those that are next to each other on the color wheel, work well too. Think of a striped skirt in a sunny yellow paired with a tank in a green print. You can also take clues from the world around us and use colors that are found together naturally.
Remember the Classics
For those who might not be quite ready to dive headfirst into the uncharted waters of patterns and prints, remember that the classics count too. The tartan skirt, tweed jacket, and herringbone socks are all prints and have never really gone out of style. In fact, these pieces can be paired with other prints for a classic, understated overall look.
Tweed is especially useful as it is typically neutral in its own right. Therefore a tweed jacket or skirt can be paired with a floral pattern, a stripe or even an animal print. A skirt with a small design like herringbone can mesh beautifully with a floral top or scarf. Utilizing the classics you already have in your closet is a great way to get an idea for the types of prints you do and don’t like.
Of course, prints aren’t for everyone, but everyone should at least try them on for size. You might find that you’re not into animal prints, but floral patterns suit you perfectly. Plaids may remind you too much of the grunge era, but you may fall in love with stripes. As with any fashion style, it’s a personal choice, so why not try something new, something fresh and something fun?