An Unexpected Match: Mixing Prints

Studio 5 contributor ShaLyse Walker shows us a few simple guidelines that will help you master the art of mixing it up.

Wearing florals, stripes, geometric patterns and textured fabric can make any outfit interesting. However, mixing prints and textures has long stumped even the savviest of fashionistas. Afraid you’ll get nabbed by the fashion police? With a few simple guidelines, you’ll master the art of mixing it up.

Mix Florals with Geometric Prints

Mixing a feminine floral with a geometrical top or bottom works because the prints are so different. Geometric prints like polka dots or stripes tend to be clean and non-fussy, while a floral print lacks organization and tends toward the more abstract. The two prints don’t compete! To pull off this look, choose a softer stripe with a bold floral or vice-versa. The top and the bottom don’t have to match exactly but be sure the colors in the top and bottom compliment each other.

Striped Top: Allihop $68
Floral Skirt: Plenty by Tracy Reese $128
Looks available at Anthropologie

Choose a Theme

Whether you’re going for whimsical and colorful or clean and nautical, mixing two prints works when they fit under an overall theme. For example, pairing a nautical dress with a navy and cream anchor print cardigan looks quirky and unexpected but still put together. The gold hardware and similar color schemes on both items look as if they were made to be worn together!

Nautical Dress: Lauren Moffatt $298
Anchor Print Cardigan: Red Berry $44
Looks available at Koo de Ker

Choose a Color Scheme

Choosing a color scheme is just as important as choosing a theme when it comes to mixing prints. In fact, this is the most important tip that will make the difference between looking like you got dressed in the dark and looking absolutely stunning. Even if your top only brings one of the colors in your bottom into play, that element of matching pulls the entire look together and makes it look like you put the two pieces together on purpose. Matching perfectly defeats the purpose of mixing unexpected prints together, but staying within the same realm of color really makes the look work.

Striped cardigan: Merona $34.99
Yellow tank: Merona $19.99
Polka dot skirt: Merona $24.99
Looks available at Target

Treat Animal Print Accessories as Neutrals

Pair your leopard flat or shoe with anything, including floral or graphic tops. This rule also applies to zebra or cheetah print belts or headbands. However, never wear two animal prints at once to avoid looking like Jane of the Jungle or Peg Bundy from Married with Children. Keep it classy and simple with a shoe or belt. Because of the neutral color schemes in animal prints like brown, tan and black in leopard, and the black and white in zebra, you’ll be amazed at how fabulous they look with most things in your closet. Although matching an animal print isn’t for the faint of heart, if you dare to pull it off, you’ll look like a style maven.

Floral Tunic: Bellatrix $68
Leopard Print Ballerina Flats: BP $59.95
Looks available at Nordstrom

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