How to Mix and Match Patterns Like a Pro

Mixing and matching patterns can be intimidating for many people, but when done correctly, it can elevate any outfit and showcase your unique style. Whether you’re new to pattern mixing or looking to up your game, this article will guide you through everything you need to know about mixing and matching patterns like a pro. From understanding the basics of pattern mixing to incorporating bold prints into your wardrobe, we’ve got you covered.

Understanding the Basics of Pattern Mixing

Before we jump into the nitty-gritty of mixing and matching patterns, it’s essential to understand the basic principles behind it. First, let’s define what we mean by “patterns.” In the fashion world, patterns refer to any design that repeats itself, such as stripes, polka dots, florals, or plaids. When mixing patterns, it’s crucial to keep in mind a few key elements – color, scale, and contrast.


When mixing patterns, color is the most critical element to consider. You want to choose colors that complement each other or have a common thread. For example, pairing black and white stripes with a black and white polka dot top creates a cohesive look. On the other hand, pairing a bright pink floral top with a neon green plaid skirt may not be as visually appealing. It’s best to stick to a color scheme or choose one dominant color and use the other pattern as an accent.


Another important factor to consider is the scale of the patterns. Mixing patterns of different sizes can create visual interest and dimension in an outfit. For instance, pairing a large floral print with a small geometric print can add depth to your look. However, too many large patterns can overwhelm the eye, so it’s best to balance them out with smaller prints.


Contrast refers to the difference between light and dark patterns. When mixing patterns, it’s essential to have some contrast. Otherwise, the patterns may blend together and create a confusing look. For example, pairing a light and airy floral print with a dark and bold stripe creates a visually pleasing contrast.

How to Mix and Match Patterns Like a Pro

How to Mix and Match Patterns Like a Pro

Now that we’ve covered the basics let’s dive into how you can mix and match patterns like a pro. Follow these tips, and you’ll be creating effortlessly chic looks in no time.

1. Start Small

If you’re new to pattern mixing, it’s best to start small by incorporating one pattern into your outfit. You can do this by choosing a statement piece, such as a printed dress or skirt, and keeping the rest of your outfit simple. Once you feel comfortable with one pattern, you can begin to add more to your look.

2. Stick to Two Patterns

When mixing patterns, it’s best to stick to two different prints. Three or more patterns can become overwhelming and challenging to pull off. Plus, sticking to two patterns will keep your outfit looking cohesive and put-together.

3. Mix Prints of Different Sizes

As mentioned earlier, mixing patterns of varying sizes adds dimension to your outfit. Pairing a large print with a smaller one helps create an interesting and balanced look. However, make sure to stick to the same color scheme or common thread to avoid clashing patterns.

4. Use Neutrals as a Base

When in doubt, use neutrals as a base for your pattern mixing. Neutral colors such as black, white, grey, and beige are versatile and can go with almost any pattern. They also provide a blank canvas for your patterns to stand out.

5. Experiment with Different Fabrics

Don’t be afraid to mix different fabrics when pattern mixing. Combining textures can add interest to your outfit, making it look more elevated and unique. For example, pairing a flowy silk top with a structured tweed skirt creates a beautiful contrast.

6. Use Accessories to Tie the Look Together

Accessories are an excellent way to tie your pattern mixing look together. For instance, if you’re wearing a striped top and a floral skirt, you can add a belt or scarf that incorporates both patterns. This will create a sense of cohesiveness and complete your outfit.

Examples of Mixing and Matching Patterns Like a Pro

How to Mix and Match Patterns Like a Pro

To give you some inspiration, here are some examples of how you can mix and match patterns in your outfits:

  • Pair a black and white striped top with a leopard print skirt for a chic and edgy look.
  • Combine a gingham print dress with a bold floral blazer for a playful and feminine vibe.
  • Mix a polka dot blouse with a plaid midi skirt for a classic and sophisticated look.
  • Try pairing a striped turtleneck with a houndstooth skirt for a bold and trendy outfit.
  • Combine a chevron printed dress with a geometric patterned scarf for a bohemian-inspired look.

Comparisons for Pattern Mixing

When it comes to pattern mixing, there are no hard and fast rules. However, here are some comparisons to keep in mind when creating your looks:

  • Stick to patterns within the same color family or choose one dominant color and use the other as an accent.
  • Balance out larger prints with smaller ones to avoid overwhelming the eye.
  • Avoid mixing too many busy patterns, as it can make your outfit look messy and chaotic.
  • Consider the occasion and purpose of your outfit – some patterns may be more appropriate than others.
  • Have fun and experiment with different combinations – sometimes the most unexpected patterns can work together beautifully.

Advice for Mastering Pattern Mixing

As with any fashion trend, practice makes perfect. Don’t be afraid to try new combinations and take risks with your pattern mixing. Keep in mind the basics of color, scale, and contrast, and trust your instincts. Most importantly, have fun and let your unique style shine through.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I mix two different prints in the same color?

A: Yes, you can mix two different prints in the same color for a cohesive look. Make sure to vary the scale and contrast of the patterns.

Q: How do I mix patterns without looking too busy?

A: Stick to two patterns and balance them out with neutrals or solid pieces. Also, consider the scale and contrast of the patterns to avoid overwhelming the eye.

Q: Can I mix patterns in formal wear?

A: Yes, you can mix patterns in formal wear. Just make sure to choose more refined and subtle patterns and stick to a cohesive color scheme.

Q: Is there a difference between pattern mixing and print clashing?

A: Yes, there is a difference. Pattern mixing involves pairing complementary patterns, while print clashing is about intentionally mixing contrasting patterns for a bold and edgy look.

Q: Can I mix patterns in menswear?

A: Absolutely. Men can also mix patterns by following similar guidelines such as sticking to two patterns and incorporating neutral or solid pieces.


Pattern mixing can seem daunting at first, but with these tips and tricks, you can master it like a pro. Remember to keep the basics of color, scale, and contrast in mind, and don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun. With the right combination of patterns, you can elevate any outfit and showcase your unique sense of style. So go ahead and mix and match with confidence!

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