3 Tips for Perfect Pattern Mixing and How I Put Them to Use

3 Tips for Perfect Pattern Mixing (and 4 Ways I Put Them to Use)

A couple weeks ago I came across these three great fashion tips for pattern mixing, on this blog I follow, authored by Merrick White.

When attempting to mix patterns, follow these three tips as identified by Merrick:

1. One Small Pattern, One Big Pattern. If both of your patterns are tiny the outfit becomes really busy and hard to look at. If both patterns are big, the outfit can overwhelm your frame. So stick with one of each. 

2. Find One Common Color in Your Patterns. To make the outfit cohesive, even if there are crazy patterns going on, your patterns need to have at least one color in common. 

3. Start with Stripes. If you’re a beginner pattern mixer, try mixing any pattern with stripes and I promise you it will work. Polka dots, florals, and leopard are also good beginner pattern mixing choices!

polka dots and floraltop, LC Lauren Conrad
floral skirt, Elle
pumps, Target

bag, MG Collection

I put these tips to use when I came up with this work outfit.  I think the polka dots border on being slightly too large of a print (stretching tip number one), but I think since the floral pattern of my skirt is so big and the polka dot pattern itself is tight and structured it still works.   Since I’m still in the office environment two days a week, utilizing tips like these are how I’m finding I’m getting the most mileage out of the “work clothes” I still have in my closet.

But that still leaves five other days of the week that this outfit is most definitely inappropriate for.  Can you imagine the stares at the grocery store? Or any attempt at hoeing a garden? Ha ha. I think not!

So it occurred to me that with a few swaps of accessories and shoes I could make this core outfit work for not only at the office, but for a mom outfit,  a potential date night on Saturday night as well as church on Sunday morning.  Behold the magic.

polka dots, floral, baseball cap and TOMS

top, Lauren Conrad
floral skirt, Elle
flats, TOMS
baseball cap, Target
backpack, Target

 Here I swapped my peep toe pumps for some TOMS. Changed out the structured tote for a less than square boho backpack. Throw on a baseball cap to hide bed head and you’re ready to hit the produce section.

polka dots, floral, leather jacket and a clutch

top, Lauren Conrad
floral skirt, Elle
pumps, Shoemint
faux leather jacket, SheInside

 By replacing my TOMS with some open toed pumps I’ve “pumped” (pun intended) a little edginess into this feminine and flowy outfit.  Complete the juxtaposition with a black leather jacket and simple clutch and I’m doing double takes in the mirror.  Who is this person?

polka dots, floral, blazer and booties

top, Lauren Conrad
floral skirt, Elle
ankle boots, Pink & Pepper
blazer, Elle
bag, Forever 21
And finally, here I’ve ditched the pumps, leather jacket and clutch (obviously) — replacing them with a pair of taupe ankle boots, turquoise blazer and a slouchy neutral bag. Ready for our Sunday morning.

I couldn’t find any way around hoeing a garden in either that shirt or skirt.  I guess somethings are best suited for jeans and a t shirt!

I’m finding it challenging but also extremely rewarding (and fun) trying to simply mix up pieces in my wardrobe. All in an effort to over come the “I have nothing to wear” phenomenon and to smother the ever present urge to buy clothes that I don’t really need!

What other pattern mixing tips have you found useful and inspiring?

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  • Reply
    Tania Smith
    January 17, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    This is a great post! I usually avoid pattern mixing like the plague but will have a forage in my wardrobe to have a go. I suspect I don’t actually have any to mix so I’ll look into that for my next capsule.

    • Reply
      January 17, 2015 at 11:02 pm

      Pattern mixing has always been one of my favs, good to hear you may have been inspired to try it out yourself! I must warn you though… it’s totally addicting! ;)

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