How to Mix Patterns


Mixing patterns is a trend I am loving right now! I think this post will be helpful in all aspects of life. You can use these tips to help you design a room in your home or office. Pattern mixing is even popular among men. I love a man in a nice suit and tie with lots of pattern! Anyways, sometimes there is no method to the madness of mixing prints but I am going to give you some fool proof tips to help you mix patterns like a pro.


1. Start with a nice pattern

The first tip you need to know is to start with a nice pattern. You will not pull off mixing patterns if you have an ugly pattern to begin with. I think we all know what an ugly pattern is but if you don’t maybe we should just skip the mixing of patterns altogether. I will give an example of a picture I saw on Instagram of a gal wearing leopard print shoes, which were darling, and black and white striped pants. Stripes are fine, in fact stripes are an excellent print to add texture and variety to any outfit. But these striped pants were vertical stripes and they looked exactly like the pants Beetlejuice wears. Because the pants were so costume-y and funny looking, the whole mixing of patterns did not seem to work. So stick with pretty prints and you will rock it.

2. Follow a pattern of patterns

I like to follow the pattern of: busy, simple, bold or busy, simple, simple. Have one busy pattern, one simple pattern, and one bold pattern. “What is a ‘busy’ pattern?” you ask. Examples of a busy pattern would be florals, plaids, animal, paisley, aztec or anything that has more than 2 colors. A simple pattern is a print that has two colors that are close to being the same color or a fabric that has a textured design on it. CABLE KNIT is an example of a simple pattern. A bold pattern has two colors that are very opposite of each other like black and white or anything dark and light. Stripes, polka dots, chevron, and houndstooth are usually a bold pattern. If you are mixing only two patterns stay away from mixing busy and busy or simple and simple because busy and busy will look too… well… busy, and simple and simple can tend to look like you tried to match but failed or tried to pattern mix and it’s just not bold enough. However, rules can be broken in the world of fashion! I provided a couple examples in which patterns can be mixed. I thought to create more but I could have been at it all day! It was too fun!

3. Match a color or two

This is probably the most important rule to follow when mixing patterns. A lot of time their is more thought in an outfit than pretty patterns. I like to choose one pattern to be the center or focal point (usually the busy pattern because it has the most colors in it.) Then the other patterns should somehow tie in or match a color or two in the busy pattern. Sometimes I like to pick a color to match from the focal pattern that can barely be seen just to make it pop.

4. How to break the rules

You can break these rules. I give you permission! I see awesome pattern mixing trends that don’t follow any of these rules. One little piece of advice if you are going to break the rules, use patterns that are in the same color scheme. Examples of color schemes are earth tones/neutrals, soft muted colors, pastels, brights, jewel tones, and deep tones. Here are just a few examples of some colors in each color scheme. Just imagine a lovely pattern with each color.

I totally believe you will not fail if you use these rules and guidelines. Good luck and let me know how this helps you! I would love to see what you come up with after reading this so follow me on INSTAGRAM and use hashtag #patternmixingpro to show me your beautiful pattern mixing creations!

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  • Reply Denim Vest + Wyoming Living – Bows and Fringe 05/14/2015 at 1:20 pm

    […] pretty fun, don’t you think? I wrote a post all about how to mix patterns a couple weeks ago HERE if your interested in my pattern mixing theory. This month I am writing two posts showcasing my […]

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