How to Mix Prints Like a Pro

Man Red Jacket Sunglasses Check Trousers Printed Neckerchief
Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

As we’ve seen over the last year, minimalism in both fashion and décor is on the way out, and there’s a focus on maximalism instead. You can get in on this trend is to starting wearing a lot more patterns. However, it’s not the easiest trick to learn how to mix prints like a professional and know how to balance your looks just right. 

Here are some tips to help you do it in a way that works:

Choose a Dominant & an Accent Print

Choose one print you want to create as the dominant one in your outfit as a helpful anchor. This is the main attraction, and then you set up another or multiple other prints as the accents. For example, you could wear a bold floral print top as your statement piece and then pair it with smaller and contrasting patterns in your pants, shoes, jacket, bag, jewelry, etc., to give a fun contrast. 

Think About Scale

Another factor to keep top of mind is scale. You want the prints you mix to have patterns of different sizes, so they don’t compete too much with each other. Layer patterns of two or more different scales to avoid visual overwhelm. 

Pair a busy or large-scale pattern with a simpler or smaller-scale one that can effectively work as your outfit’s “neutral” option. You could wear pants with a large, bold print with a top including a nice fine stripe or a tiny polka dot. Balance is essential to give your overall look the proportion required to look stylish. 

Man in Windowpane Print Trousers Polka Dot Socks
Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

Select Colors Wisely

Color choice is vital, too, when you’re working with more than one print. It helps to put some monochrome pattern clothing in neutral black or white, for instance, with a look-at-me print in a more vibrant scheme that draws the eyes. For example, you could wear a black and white striped tee with a multicolored patterned shirt jacket that also features some of the monochromes from your shirt to tie things in. 

Offset one striking pattern with another plainer one to achieve the balance you need. Alternatively, choose one color or color palette as the focus per outfit. You could have an anchor piece that’s warm and bright and finish this off with a coordinate that features complementary patterns from the same color “story.” 

Keep Structure in Mind

Something else to consider when working with more than one print is structure. The silhouette you put together matters, as you don’t want to drown in big, bold prints and show no sign of your actual form. 

It’s better, as an example, to wear a wide-leg pant that features stripes or checks with a tailored jacket that showcases a trendy floral print than an outfit where the top and the bottom are both loose and give you zero structure. 

It would be best if you had balance in the patterns you mix and how you dress your body shape and size. 

Man Striped Jacket
Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

Start with Foundation Prints

To help you mix prints like a professional, learn about and utilize the foundation patterns that crop up regularly in clothing. This list includes stripes, polka-dots, tweed, tartan, and florals. If you want to ease into a mixing of prints, it’s helpful to start with a classic foundation print for one part of your outfit and then pair it with something slightly different. 

For example, you could wear a classic striped tee with a pair of pants that showcases an interesting geometric pattern or a tropical or paisley print. The more foundational option essentially acts as your neutral choice in this situation. 

Try Pre-Mixed Products

If you’re stressed about how to select more than one print per outfit yourself and feel like you’re going to get the mix wrong, you might like to leave the hard work up to the professionals. That is, purchase products that feature more than one print where the designers have merged two offerings, so you don’t have to. 

For instance, buy a pair of designer men’s shorts that feature one print on one leg and another on the other leg, and then pop a simple, single-colored tee shirt. Or, you might like to buy a CO-ORD look with one print on the shirt and another on the pants or shorts.

To mix prints like a professional, you should also remember to utilize accessories such as belts to break up patterns. Plus, learn about the popular patterns and prints that mix and match beautifully together that you can use as a cheat sheet, such as stripes and florals, plaid and gingham, or polka dots and graphics. 

It may seem overwhelming at first to pair multiple prints together, but as you can see, there are ways to do this in a thoughtful, strategic way that doesn’t have to stress you out.