5 Easy Tips for Pattern Mixing

By Erika, Resident Fashionista

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I’ve always touted the benefits of finding your signature style and sticking to it. I know I’ve certainly done that.  And, as a general rule, it’s a good thing.  You will always have looks in your closet that are flattering and make you feel your very best.  The downside to sticking so closely to your signature look is that you can sometimes get stuck in a rut or become too scared to try new things.  And by “you” I mean “we” and especially “me.”  I find that I have to make a point to put together looks that are out of my comfort zone – especially when I’m not on the clock at my nine to five.

One thing I’ve been doing (in baby steps) is pattern mixing.  I have a couple of girlfriends who are queens of mixing patterns.  They can put together all types of fabrics and textures and look so “right.”  And, the kicker is that they usually don’t try – the just kind of throw it together and “boom” they look like a Cosmo photo shoot.  I, on the other hand, look like a fabric store threw-up all the stupid fabrics and I put them all on at the same darn time.

Therefore, when I pattern mix I take a methodical and practical approach (much like in other areas of my life).  If you’re like me, and not “mixed pattern” inclined, these simple tips will help you add versatility to your wardrobe without sending you completely over the edge.

1. Mix like or complimentary colors – Yes, there are totally some people who can mix army fatigue prints with rainbow stripes and get away with it.  I, however, am not one of them.  So, as a general rule I stick to like colors (think navy as a common thread) or complimentary colors (think gold and orange).

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2. Along those same lines, keep one common color throughout the prints – The common color will pull together your looks regardless of the pattern on your prints.  I often use Navy, Gold, and Black as my common thread color.  Why? They happen to already be a part of most of the clothing I own.  See what colors show up all the time in your closet and pick those as your pattern mixing starting point.

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3. Start Small – Look, I get it – pattern mixing can be scary!  When I first started, I started small.  I tried a striped shoe with a polka dot jean.  Or a patterned scarf with a patterned skirt.  Or a patterned top with a patterned clutch.  There is no rule that says you have to mix your prints and patterns from head to toe.  It’s OK if you build up to a more bold look.  I honestly think the Dress Barn zebra scarf + H&M print top shown below is as bold as I’ll ever get.  That is totally OK!

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4. Pull in a solid to tone it down and create flow – Again, this advice is for the print mixing newbies.  If you’re an expert, then by all means do your thing!  But for those of you who are just venturing into mixing our prints and patterns, put a solid piece with your ensemble to make you feel less “out there.”  You can see in some of my looks I’ve used leggings, a turtleneck or a jacket to help soften the various patterns.  Again, totally OK!

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5. Tone everything else down – If you’re going to wear a variety of prints and patterns keep your accessories simple.  A shoe in your base color, a solid purse and minimal jewelry.  You want to look sophisticated, not like you pulled everything you own out of the closet and wore it all at the same time.

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So my lovelies – will you be giving pattern mixing a try?  If so, please send us a pic of your mixed prints via email, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!  We love to see what the YCS fam is wearing!

Your Chic is Showing,

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