How to Mix Prints

Michele Zipp

Matching prints can be a total headache. How to pair plaids, stripes, and different color combinations can be confusing. I think that's why I don't do it very often. Most mornings I'm lucky to even match socks with all the running around. But an outfit can look so stylish by mixing prints. Let's see how to do it.

Lucky magazine has a great slideshow of mixed print outfits. You can mix your own with these rules of thumb:

  • Mix prints that have matching colors. A subtle purple and muted grey leopard print top can match with a grey and black bold stripe cardigan.
  • Different black and white prints almost always work well together. As do muted and neutral hues.
  • Don't be afraid of stripes. A striped top can match with a printed bottom as long as there are like colors. 
  • You can mix like prints. A large polka-dotted cardigan would look cute with a pin-dot polka-dotted blouse underneath.

I put together a collage of outfits with mixed prints and why they work.

From top left:

  • This skirt already has two layers of different prints, a brown print and a plaid, so they made it easy. When worn with a green top and striped gloves, it all blends together in a grungy-kind of style.
  • The plaid top has black, white, grey, and green in it. Dress with a black and white patterned scarf for a chic look.
  • Stripes and prints work in this look because the bold colors work well together especially when toned down with a solid jacket.
  • Showing how muted tones work well even if the print is different, this look has a cool bohemian feel.

Do you have any other tips on how to mix prints?

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