Mixing Patterns 101

I love mixing patterns together in an outfit. I don’t do it too much, but when I do, I enjoy the outfit so much that I usually will wear it multiple times together. Mixing patterns add a little more pop to an outfit. It creates dimension and more to look at, instead of just one or no patterns. When done right it can look fabulous, so here are my guidelines I usually use to pull off this look.

My guidelines:

  • If it makes you nervous to mix patterns, try mixing textures in your outfit! Sequins and leather or tweed and corduroy.


  • Start out basic, mixing a patterned shirt and tie together, skirt and purse, etc. Once you’re comfortable with that then you can mix more patterns together
  • Don’t have too many patterned pieces together, have a couple solids! You can if you like, but this is really hard to pull off.
  • Stay within a color scheme. The easiest one to do is black and white, which is the color scheme I usually use. Keep in mind the two patterns you’re mixing should have similar or the same colors!

Here I chose a white striped dress and paired it with a black polka dot cardigan

There’s bits of this shade of pink in these shorts, so these two fit perfectly together!

  • One item should have a larger print while the other has a smaller pattern.
  • Once you move towards three (or more) different patterns, start with the busiest pattern, then pair the other ones towards that one
  • I usually use one busy/movement pattern (floral) and then a small pattern (polka dots) and a large print (like plaid).
    • As long as the colors are in the same scheme, you can have different colors in your items. (Complicated to explain lol) For example, below, the small pattern is a green diagonal print, and the large one is yellow dots, but the busy pattern has both of these colors in it, the fruit pattern.


  • Leopard print is a neutral print! It goes with everything.
  • These tips also work in menswear! I usually mix the tie, pocket square, and button down in patterns for a suit!

img_2885Here I mixed a plaid shirt with a small geometric printed tie and just a plain white pocket square.

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