Pattern Mixing Style

Last week Kayla (I) 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!

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  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.


[caption id="attachment_5980" align="aligncenter" width="200"]Via Anthropologie Via Anthropologie[/caption]

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!

[caption id="attachment_6016" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Via Sunsets & Stilettos Via Sunsets & Stilettos[/caption]

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.

[caption id="attachment_6017" align="aligncenter" width="200"]Via Greater than Rubies Via Greater than Rubies[/caption]

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.


[caption id="attachment_5982" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Via Hello Gorgeous Via Hello Gorgeous[/caption]

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.

[caption id="attachment_5987" align="aligncenter" width="200"]Via Tanesha Awashi Via Tanesha Awashi[/caption]

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


[caption id="attachment_5983" align="aligncenter" width="200"]Via Bloglovin' Via Bloglovin'[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_5988" align="aligncenter" width="288"]Via My Little Magpie Via My Little Magpie[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_6013" align="aligncenter" width="190"]Via Vogue in Vines Via Vogue in Vines[/caption]

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 Tall


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


  1. Mixing patterns is such a fun thing as long as you know how to do it! This is a great post - thanks for sharing! :)

  2. Yes - I totally agree! Thanks for reading!!! :)