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A Beginner’s Guide to Pattern Mixing (5 Helpful Tips!)

I love pattern mixing. It’s one of my very favorite ways to style my clothing. But when I first saw bloggers doing it a few years ago and tried it out, it seemed so scary I felt like my outfits were so loud! But over time I’ve become more confident about wearing loud patterns, and figured out a few tricks to make my pattern mixing look intentional and fun, rather than crazy and loud.

Click through for 5 tips to pattern mix perfectly (as well as a little pattern mixing inspiration!), and if you’re feeling nervous about trying out this trend, this is the beginner guide for you!

  • Create balance with one large pattern and one small pattern 1 of 5
    Babble8

    The nature of patterns is that they're busy. So when you combine two or more of them, it's really easy to get overwhelming fast. The key for me is to choose one big (or bold) print and one little (or subtle) print when pairing them, so one is more of the focus, and the second is more of an afterthought.

    I've done that in these three outfits and they work because there is balance between the two patterns they're not competing for visual attention.

  • Find one common color in your patterns 2 of 5
    Blog Pictures 201310

    Whether it's black, navy, pink, green, or even just white, patterns become cohesive when you have one common color. Even if your patterns have several other colors that don't match up at all, it doesn't matter. That one common color will hold your outfit together and make your pattern combination look intentional. 

  • Start with small bits of patterns if you’re nervous! 3 of 5
    DSC_4676

    Patterned shoes, belts, scarves, or socks are a good way to add just a little bit of secondary pattern without feeling so loud. Leopard shoes are so popular right now, and have practically become a neutral, so that's a good place to start when you're pattern mixing. 

  • Four of the easiest patterns to mix 4 of 5
    Babble7

    There are a zillion different patterns out there, but I've found that there are four patterns that are the easiest to mix together: stripes, floral, leopard, and polka dots. Any combination of these four patterns is pretty much bound to work, as long as you follow the big pattern/little pattern and one cohesive color rules! 

  • Try three patterns if you’re feeling brave! 5 of 5
    DSC_4714

    Don't feel like you have to limit your pattern mixing to just two patterns. After several years of pattern mixing, leopard and stripes have become practically like neutrals for me, so I pair them with a third pattern all the time. 

    For this outfit above, the addition of a solid black moto jacket or large, solid, dark bag would probably help ground the outfit with a large solid-colored mass, and keep it from getting too busy. 

    If you do pattern mix with three or more, remember to keep the scale of your patterns balanced and the colors cohesive. Also, keep your third pattern a small item (like a belt or shoes) to keep the outfit from getting overwhelming! 

Find more of Merrick’s style and writing at Merrick’s Art

You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter

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