Mixed and Unmatched
Put On The Wildest Prints and Patterns
There probably isn’t a fashion rule more tired than “don’t mix your prints” (OK, “don’t wear white after Labor Day” is pretty bad, too). Yet it’s funny how, despite runway upon runway featuring boldly mixed prints and street style inspiration, we still tend to put the sartorial breaks on when it comes to trying it ourselves. It’s easier than it looks, can make you look at pairing choices that you never would have before (remember Mondo from Project Runway?), and it’s a great way to inject some new life into getting dressed. Looking like an uncoordinated mess is really part of the fun, as long as you don’t overthink it. Here are some helpful tips to help you become a true closet mixologist.
1. Start simple with a “neutral” print.
The term “neutral print” may sound confusing. Think animal prints like leopard, which provide a good base as far as mixing prints is concerned. The colors in leopard are pretty neutral themselves (black/brown), so your next paired piece won’t look garish paired with it. Try a striped shirt mixed with a leopard skirt, or a leopard jacket paired with a boxprint pant. You’ll find that’s it pretty easy, and soon enough you’ll look at animal print as the “gateway print” for even bolder mixing choices.
2. Yes, color still matters.
Just because you’re mixing prints doesn’t mean you’re allowed to forget about color altogether. The easiest way to pull off a mixed print is to match a lighter print with a darker one. Basically, the print colors should be inverses of each other or complement each other with the same tones. Once you have a good color pairing, the actual mixing of the prints won’t be nearly as daunting of a task.
3. Keep the silhouette in mind.
You’re mixing two clashing prints, so let that do the talking and keep the overall shape itself simple. Remember that it isn’t solely about the colors of the prints you’re pairing together – it’s also the shape of the garments they’re rendered on. Stick to clean lines when putting prints together and leave more playful shapes and silhouettes for a solid color day.
4. Remember that it’s supposed to be FUN.
As I said before, looking quasi-ridiculous is part of the fun and really kind of the point. Bask in it. Just because you’ve decided on that loud palm-print shirt doesn’t mean you have to pair it with a solid pant or skirt. The only fashion rules you live by are ones you impose on yourself. Fashion is about enjoying yourself and expressing yourself creatively. Combining different prints constantly gives you the chance to surprise yourself, so break out of the formulaic mold and don’t be afraid to mix it up.