Color Crash Course - Print Mixing

It is a beautiful day today, but the wind chill is only seventeen, so as much as I want to go outside and take pictures, I am going to be a wimp and stay inside in a sunny window and use some pics from past posts. 

We hear many things about print mixing and a plethora of bloggers do a wonderful job of mixing all sorts of patterns and colors. What follows are some tips on learning to piece together an outfit that has a mix of patterns and colors that will leave you feeling confident and stylish. 

1. Choose a mix of bold/large patterns with more subtle/small patterns

print mixing

In the above post from January 24th (click on the date and it will take you to the original post), I wore a maxi dress with a bold black pattern around the hem line. The dress also has a more subtle print throughout. To top the dress off, after adding a similar blue pullover sweater I added a black blazer that has small white polka dots. 

2. Stripes can be mixed easily with anything

If you are at all trendy, then you know one of the big trends this spring is the mix of floral with stripes. I'm seeing this pattern mix everywhere and it works. 

pattern mixing

This was my post from Tuesday, the start of my series on the Pantone Spring 2017 colors. The tee from Jacket Society is the perfect mix of stripes and floral. But for another take on this trend see Catherine of Not Dressed as Lamb for her interpretation on floral and stripes together using her own pieces. 

Here is a different idea for mixing stripes with another pattern. This outfit was from a Color Crash Course column. In this outfit the stripes are vertical on the brown sweater. The scarf provides the other pattern. One reason this works is because the scarf pattern is kept tight around my neck and face, while my body is elongated by the stripes on the sweater. They are not competing with one another, but complementing one another. That leads me to the third tip for pattern mixing.

print mixing

3. When mixing it up, think color, color, color -

Most people who do pattern mixing well, would probably tell you it has to do with choosing a color that complements both pieces. For instance in the above outfit, the taupe is found in both the scarf and the sweater. The blue is also found in the jacket and pants, but I am speaking directly to pattern mixing.

print mixing

In this post from last week the pattern mix is masculine chic with the blue background of my top bringing up the blue stripe in my plaid trousers.

print mixing

This outfit from my Denim Days series late last summer mixes different size polka dots on the chambray shirt and pink jeans. Part of what makes this work is the varied size of the dots, but also the muted, soft colors mixed with the more subdued neutral accessories. 

This next outfit was from my Fall 2016 Pantone series and actually fits into two of my mixing tips, so I'll start with it in this color category.

print mixing

Originally this was just the skirt and top, which is its own version of print mixing. I will address that under the next tip. I added the scarf for a post I did on styling a pashmina scarf, only because the green in the scarf matched the green of the top. Voila! Print mixing with similar colors. 

4. Consider mixing prints with texture

If you a bit hesitant about mixing prints, try mixing a print with a texture. 

print mixing

My Lush Meadow top is a textured pattern. My maxi skirt is obviously a print. Part of what makes this work is the pattern shape. The diamond shapes on the top are similar to the diamond shapes on the skirt. The other trick to making this look work well is adding the belt. The belt divides the patterns and keeps it from looking too busy. Adding a solid piece, like a belt, vest, cardi or jacket can help tone the busyness of prints down and give the outfit a cohesive look.

print mixing

In this picture you can see the textured lace pattern of the top works beautifully with the leopard print cardigan. Inspired by Jennie of A Pocketful of Polka Dots, you can see my original post here.  If you still feel a bit intimidated by mixing patterns. try envisioning this same look with a black lace top or a more neutral tan. You are still mixing prints because of the texture, but it will be more subdued. 

5. Go for a monochrome look

print mixing

This outfit was based on a post by Liz of With Wonder and Whimsy (see her post here). Instead of trying to pull one central color out of two crazy patterned pieces, going for a monochrome look allows print mixing with a crisp, clean vibe. I seem to have this thing for polka dots that I didn't even know I had. Ha, ha. See my original post here

6. Try an accessory

If you want a more subtle look, try just adding a simple patterned accessory to your print. Check out the following ideas:

Patterned Scarf

print mixing

Adding this scarf to my snake skin jeans is a perfect pattern mix.

Textured Bag

print mixing

Patterned Bag

print mixing

Textured jacket

Print mixing

Print mixing can be intimidating, but you probably are already doing it and you didn't even know it. Don't be afraid to mix it up. Print mixing can be fun and it can also make your outfit more colorful and interesting.

Even my daughter likes to print mix. She sent me this pic of her most recent attempt. She pulled this off by using the base color of both her top and her scarf as well as mixing the larger scarf print with the smaller dots on the top. 

print mixing

We'd love to hear from you. Leave me some love in the comments section!

Have a great weekend!

Photo credit Rebecca Trumbull. Make up Rachel Christensen.

Thursday linking up with Nicole of High Latitude Style.    Friday linking up with Nancy of Nancy's Fashion Style, Jennie of A Pocketful of Polka Dots, Shelbee of Shelbee on the Edge,