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The Art of Mixing and Matching Patterns: A Guide to Print Pairing

Mixing and matching patterns is an art form that requires a keen eye for design and a fearless approach to fashion. It is not something that you can do without any thought, though, as it is much more difficult than it first seems to get it right.

However, there are some people who get it right. For example, Alessandro Michele has brought a refreshing and eclectic aesthetic to the fashion world as the creative director of Gucci. Michele is known for his bold and whimsical approach to design, which includes a masterful mixing of patterns. His runway shows often feature a riot of prints, from florals and geometric shapes to animal motifs and vintage-inspired graphics.

Also, Belgian fashion designer Dries Van Noten is celebrated for his artful use of patterns and textures in his collections. Known for his eclectic prints and exquisite craftsmanship, Van Noten skillfully combines different patterns in a way that feels harmonious and sophisticated. His designs often feature an unexpected juxtaposition of florals, plaids, stripes, and abstract motifs, creating visually captivating and memorable looks.

Patterns can add a vibrant and playful element to your outfit, allowing you to showcase your unique style and personality. However, the thought of mixing and matching different prints can be intimidating for many. Fear not! With a few key tips and a sense of creativity, you can master the art of pattern pairing and create eye-catching and harmonious looks.

  1. Start with a Neutral Base

When combining patterns, it’s helpful to start with a neutral base. Choose a solid-colored item as the foundation of your outfit, such as a white blouse, black pants, or a denim skirt. Neutral tones like black, white, beige, or gray provide a balanced canvas that allows the patterns to stand out without overwhelming the overall look.

  1. Consider Scale and Proportion

When pairing patterns, consider the scale and proportion of each print. Mixing different sizes of patterns creates visual interest and prevents the combination from appearing too busy. For example, pair a large floral print with a smaller polka dot pattern or a bold striped top with a subtle gingham skirt. The contrast in scale adds depth and creates a visually appealing balance.

  1. Opt for Complementary Colors or Tones

To create a cohesive and harmonious pattern pairing, choose prints with complementary colors or tones. Look for colors that appear in both patterns or opt for shades from the same color family. This ensures that the patterns blend seamlessly together rather than competing for attention. For instance, pair a navy and white striped top with a floral skirt that incorporates hints of navy or white.

  1. Mix Different Pattern Types

Experiment with mixing different pattern types to add variety and intrigue to your outfit. Combine geometric prints with organic or floral patterns, or try pairing animal prints with abstract designs. The key is to find a common thread between the patterns, such as a shared color palette or a similar aesthetic. This combination adds visual contrast and keeps the overall look visually appealing.

  1. Use Solid Separators

If you’re feeling unsure about directly mixing patterns, use solid-colored separates as dividers. For example, wear a solid-colored blazer or cardigan between two patterned pieces to create a visual break and add balance. This approach allows you to ease into pattern mixing gradually while still incorporating prints into your outfit.

  1. Accessorize with Confidence

Don’t forget about the power of accessories when it comes to pattern pairing. Accessories like scarves, bags, or shoes can tie the whole look together and complement the patterns you’re wearing. Choose accessories in solid colors that match or complement the colors present in your patterns. This adds a cohesive element to your outfit and completes the overall aesthetic.

  1. Trust Your Instincts and Have Fun

Remember, fashion is an expression of your personal style, and pattern mixing is an opportunity to let your creativity shine. Trust your instincts and have fun with your combinations. Play with different patterns, experiment with unexpected pairings, and embrace the unique combinations that make you feel confident and stylish.


Mixing and matching patterns is a skill that can elevate your fashion game and allow you to create dynamic and visually captivating outfits. By considering scale, color, and proportion, and experimenting with different pattern types, you can confidently blend prints and showcase your individual style. So, embrace the art of pattern pairing, step out of your comfort zone, and let your fashion choices make a bold statement.



  1. Can I mix more than two patterns in one outfit?
    • Yes, you can mix more than two patterns in an outfit. However, it’s important to maintain a sense of balance and avoid overwhelming the look. Start with two patterns and gradually add more as you become more comfortable and confident with pattern pairing.2. How do I mix patterns without creating a chaotic look?
    • To avoid a chaotic look when mixing patterns, consider the scale and proportion of the prints, opt for complementary colors or tones, and use solid separators or neutral bases to create balance. Pay attention to the overall visual harmony and trust your instincts to ensure that the patterns work together cohesively.3. Can I mix patterns with different styles, such as floral and animal prints?
    • Absolutely! Mixing patterns with different styles can create interesting and unique outfits. The key is to find a common element between the patterns, whether it’s a shared color palette or a similar aesthetic. Experiment with different combinations and let your personal style shine through.4. Are there any patterns that are difficult to mix with others?
    • While there are no strict rules, some patterns can be more challenging to mix with others. For example, very bold and busy prints might compete with each other and create a visually overwhelming effect. However, with careful consideration of scale, proportion, and color, you can often find a way to incorporate even the trickiest patterns into a stylish ensemble.5. Can I mix patterns in formal or professional settings?
    • Mixing patterns can be a fun way to add personality and interest to formal or professional outfits. However, it’s important to consider the dress code and maintain a level of sophistication. Opt for more subtle pattern combinations, such as a pinstripe suit with a striped tie or a plaid skirt with a polka dot blouse. Adhering to a more restrained color palette can also help maintain a polished and professional appearance.6. How can I make my pattern-mixed outfit look cohesive?
    • To make your pattern-mixed outfit look cohesive, pay attention to the overall color scheme and ensure that the patterns share at least one color in common. Use solid-colored separates or accessories to tie the different patterns together. Additionally, consider the overall visual balance by mixing patterns of different scales and proportions.

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