Mixed and Unmatched

Put On The Wildest Prints and Patterns

Image Above: Bottega Veneta Men's Collection, Balenciaga Women's Collection, Balenciaga Men's Collection, Versace Women's Collection, Balenciaga Women's Collection; Cover Page Image: Balenciaga Women's Collection

BY: Andy Shoulders

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.

Male Runway Model Wearing Red Plaid Blazer, Zebra Print Shirt, and Yellow Pants
Bottega Veneta Men’s Collection


Female Runway Model Wearing Beige Puffer Jacket with Black Plaid , Orange Print Shirt, Zebra stockings that cover her shoes, carrying a black bag
Balenciaga Fall 2018


African American Male Runway Model Wearing Cool Blue Sunglasses, Red Turtleneck, red, blue and white striped shirt, black and white extra big shirt jacket, royal blue pants and orange and blue trainers
Balenciaga Men’s Collection


Female Runway Model wearing green and black wool motorcycle jacket, blue, red, black and yellow dress, yellow and black sunglasses and gold necklace
Versace Women’s Collection


Female Runway Model Wearing Gray Coat with Black Leather Trim on the shoulders, blue and green zipper sweater, pink, purple and yellow fur jacket and red checked skirt-Balenciaga Collection
Balenciaga Women’s Collection


Male Runway Model Wearing Brown Leopard Print Pants and Black Short Sleeve Shirt with White Polka Dots-Burberry Men's Collection
Burberry Men’s Collection-Spring/Summer 2019


African American Runway Model Wearing Beige Vest, Black, Royal Blue and Orang Short-Sleeve Shirt, White Pants with Blue and Black Floral Pants and White Patent Leather Pointy Ankle Boots with Buckle
Louis Vuitton Women’s Collection 2019


Female model wearing Red and Grey Norwegian Print Sweater with Black and White Striped Left Sleeve, Green and Blue Sarong and white ankle boots by Preen by Thornton- Bregazzi-Resort 2019


Male Runway Model Wearing short sleeve jacket half white and half black with black and white pockets, orange accents, brown and black leopard print sleeves, black and gray geometric pants-Burberry Men's Collection 2019
Burberry Men’s Collection Spring/Summer 2019


African American Female Runway Model wearing and orange jacket, red and blue block print top, red, yellow and blue pencil skirt carrying a mini tote
Versace Women’s Collection-Spring/Summer 2019


Asian Female Runway Model Wearing Red and White Hat, Black Blazer with Red and White Stripes on Left Side and Stars on the Right side over a shite peasant dress with 2 colorful birds and orange sneakers
Anna Sui Spring/Summer 2019


female model wearing balenciaga scarf, print dress, bright orange tights covering her shoes and holding a whimsical black bag
Balenciaga Resort-2019