I admired the look of print mixing for AGES before I finally felt comfortable enough to give it a whirl myself. I still tend to play it safe, and I still believe that this post from Unusual Form is just about the perfect primer for aspiring print mixers. But I thought I’d share a few simple tips for those of you who feel curious but unsure. Most of these are far less daring than the three-plus mixes that some folks concoct, which may make them feel tame … but hopefully will also make them feel do-able!
Separate prints with solids
This outfit includes a big geometric print in the scarf, a varied houndstooth in the skirt, and snakeskin on the pumps. All three prints are broken up by big swaths of solid black, so they just barely interact. It may be a bit warm for tights just now, but this outfit would also work with bare legs. Try incorporating several patterns, but separate them with solids.
Add a printed accessory
One printed garment and a printed bag, belt, or scarf is all it takes to get a fun mix going! This is an easy cheat for the truly shy since printed accessories tend to take up far less real estate than clothes.
Combine prints with shared colors
As you move into mixing printed garments, it helps to remember that they often work best if they’ve got at least one element in mind. Color is an easy one, and prints that share colors often mix well. Here, two very different prints work together because both are black and white. Even one shared color can create a bridge between prints.
Or make sure colors are echoed
This scarf has an orange pattern, but a magenta background that mirrors the tights. So although the two prints don’t share any colors, the repetition of magenta ties the look together.
Try stripes with florals
Of course, the print mix I use most is one that combines prints that have very little in common! Stripes work well in many print mixes because they read as neutral to most observing eyes. Pairing them with organic, flowy florals works beautifully, more often than not.
Mix two versions of identical prints
This technique requires you to have to identical – or near-identical – printed garments that can also be worn together. (You may have two pairs of polka-dot pants in two different colorways, but you’d be hard pressed to wear them together.) But when it can be done, it looks amazing. Dots, stripes, and other regular geometrics are often easiest to track down in identical prints but different colors.
Let Desigual do the work for you
And if none of those appeal, just track down a Desigual dress or skirt that features a perfect mix of prints, and call it a day!
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Originally posted 2012-04-11 06:29:21.