Pattern Mixing: Yay or Nay?

Thanks to Stacy and Clinton from What Not to Wear, we all know that there are 4 different things you can incorporate to make an outfit interesting:

  • Color
  • Texture
  • Pattern
  • Shine

I love to use all of these things in my outfits, but in moderation, so I look classy and interesting without being over-the-top. Pattern is an especially fun way to add interest to an outfit as pattern can actually incorporate all three of the other elements of interest at times.

The more I play with my wardrobe, the more fun I seem to have with it as lately I?ve started doing more and more pattern mixing. I?m still careful to make sure that I?m not over-the-top with my pattern mixing as I?ve seen some pretty scary outfits come out when people try to mess around with pattern mixing. But I do think there are times that pattern mixing can be fun and tasteful. Here are a few rules to keep in mind when you try pattern mixing.

Vary the Size

One of the first rules of pattern mixing is to avoid using two large, loud prints in the same outfit. I?ve seen some people use two different big floral patterns in the same outfit, and for me that is just too much (though part of it might be my more conservative nature). In order for me to feel comfortable with pattern mixing, I try to pick one bold pattern and one smaller pattern to mix together.


Tank Top; Jacket; Jeggings; Boat Shoes;?Purse

Break Them Up

Placement of the patterns in your outfit can also a make a huge difference. Sometimes it?s okay to put one patterned item right up against another, especially is if of them is very subtle, but most of the time breaking them up is a better idea. Wearing a striped shirt with an animal print bag or shoe is a great way to mix pattern because they are broken up and therefore the solid pieces in between bring some calmness to the outfit.

Stick with the Same Color Family

Another great way to try pattern mixing when you are first starting out is sticking to two patterns that use the same color family. This makes your pattern mixing less noticeable, which is a great way to start out if you are unsure about the pattern mixing trend.


Tank Top; Jacket; Jeggings; Wedges; Purse

Use One Subtle or Neutral Pattern

One of my favorite pieces to use for pattern mixing is my black on black animal print blazer. The blazer is comfortable and professional enough to wear for work, but the embossed black animal print adds a little fun to an otherwise plain black blazer. The pattern is also a very subtle one that you wouldn?t notice unless you look pretty close. This makes the blazer ideal to put next to a patterned shirt.

Items that have very small prints, like tiny polka dots or small stripes, can be used as if they were a solid piece, which makes pattern mixing easy. This is especially true if you use items that have these small, subtle patterns in a neutral color (like my black embossed blazer). Even though it has a pattern, they can be used as a sold neutral in most outfits.

Have you ever tried pattern mixing? Do you like it? Why or why not.

PS: This post also shows one piece multiple ways. 🙂

About the author

Kennedi Rose

Kate @ Money Propeller - March 12, 2015

Actually, I haven’t tried pattern mixing before and I think it’s about time to try it. I can say that I’m not good when it comes to outfit mixing and this one really inspires me.

    Kayla - March 12, 2015

    I’m glad you find pattern mixing interesting. It’s a good way to add some spice to your life. If you are unsure about it, start small. 🙂

Jessica - March 12, 2015

I love to mix stripes with either polka dots, leopard or florals. (can we just admit that leopard and stripes are pretty much neutrals? :P). I tend to opt for combinations within the same color family, but I also like to use neutral patterns too. Pattern mixing is a great way to find new uses for favorite items.

    Kayla - March 13, 2015

    I also like to use animal prints (leopard, zebra, etc.) as a neutral. I personally don’t like stripes, but I’ve seen a lot of people use them as a neutral too. 🙂

Yard Work and What's Going On? - Shoeaholic No MoreShoeaholic No More - March 20, 2015

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