Wear it Wednesday | 5 Rules for Effective Pattern Mixing

Last week Kayla walked us through color use for the summer season and now, I’d love to share with you the top 5 pattern mixing rules. Perfect for everyone whether you are casual, preppy, or professional! Anyone can incorporate pattern mixing into their wardrobe!

logo variations

  1. Match colors: The key to proper print mixing is to match the dominant colors in each print
  2. Pair Large & Small: by changing the size of the prints, you give yourself more visual interest and breaks up your look
  3. Think in terms of straight & curved: pair prints with opposites in mind stripes & florals, polka dots & plaid
  4. Break it up: Balance all that pattern with a neutral solid piece and tone it down, just because we are pattern mixing doesn’t mean we have to wear them one on top of the other. Have a great patterned skirt you want to wear; don’t reach for a patterned top, add printed shoes or a printed scarf over a solid top so there is room between prints.
  5. Treat a new texture the way you would a print: Have a fun textured top? Treat it like a print, let it stand on it’s own or pair with a coordinated print in terms of color, different size, or opposite. For example: I have a crochet overlay top that I love, to mix with another patterned piece I’d add a striped skirt or plaid scarf.


Via Anthropologie
Via Anthropologie

Buy a pre pattern mixed piece & try it out before jumping in the deep end head first. This one from Anthro has a small polka dot print back, striped front, and a floral front pocket and all you have to do is add jeans, or a coordinating floral swing skirt!

Via Sunsets & Stilettos
Via Sunsets & Stilettos

Sunsets & Stilettos casual pattern mixing works because she gives room between prints and allows the floral scarf to be the dominate piece in her ensemble.

Via Greater than Rubies
Via Greater than Rubies

Caitlin from Greater than Rubies, shows you that texture is a great play on a visual tonal pattern. She wears a cute lace detail top with mint pants and leopard stacked heels. She gives room between her two ‘prints’ uses, allowing her mint pants to break the contrast of her look.


Via Hello Gorgeous
Via Hello Gorgeous

Start with a bolder print try paisley or a graphic pattern print. The bold graphic print in Hello Gorgeous’ look dominates the look while her striped flats quietly bring it all together.

Via Tanesha Awashi
Via Tanesha Awashi

Try mixing simple patterns such as bold stripes and a romantic floral print, make sure they have the same base color, notice the difference in size, small stripes with big bold floral prints


Via Bloglovin'
Via Bloglovin’
Via My Little Magpie
Via My Little Magpie
Via Vogue in Vines
Via Vogue in Vines

Feeling comfortable with the first two pattern mixing tips try mixing 2-3 unique and different patterns, on top of each other! Or two of the same pattern!

Do a quick search on Pinterest to get inspired, no worries! I have done it for you already…just click here

You notice ALOT of stripes on this search right? Want to know why? Stripes are in general considered a neutral, so are leopard prints. That is why ladies can rock a simple leopard print flat with just about anything and look like the chic-est girl in the room.

Where to go from here, well, I’d start with patterned flats in stripes and leopard print, add a mixed print top, build the print selection in your closet, and add textures if you aren’t ready to jump into pattern. Remember the rules! I can’t wait to see what looks you try!

Wear it Wednesday with Shelby and Kayla Feature Photo copy

Post your photos to Instagram #adventurous_style #WIWstyle and tag us @adventurous_shelby & @theaccidentalnomadlifeblog

10 thoughts on “Wear it Wednesday | 5 Rules for Effective Pattern Mixing

  1. You’re definitely more bold than I am when it comes to mixing patterns in clothing pieces! Occasionally I wear a little polka dot scarf with a striped top, but that’s about as crazy as I get! I opened this post hoping for you to tell me that dots and stripes are an okay pair. Sounds like they are!

    1. That is great Sandy! If you like you can sign up for our newsletter, by doing so you get a fun pattern mixing printable perfect for printing and putting in your closet to help you dress more adventurously!


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