Updated: Feb 20
A beginner's guide to start mixing and matching all the great patterns out there. Use these 5 simple tips to begin dressing for you to make you happy in your outfits.
pattern mixing, prints and patterns, how to wear prints, patterned outfits
Are you often thinking that pattern mixing is something you would like tro try but you don't know where to begin? Or maybe you have bought some great pieces with amazing print on them only now to realise you don't wear them because you can't come up with great outfits with them? If this is you - say no more. Today I will teach you 5 simple tips to get you started on your journey to wear prints and patterns in a way that will make you feel confident, stylish and fun!
Why am I able to share these tips? Because it's litterally all I wear every single day. Don't believe me just watch - my Instagram should give you some sense of how I choose to style and wear prints and patterns but just to give you a heads up: the way I choose to dress myself up in pattern parties is not necessarily how you should wear them. To each their own but if you like how I do it I think you'll also like my tips.
Here's how to dress like a pattern dream for beginners!
Tip number 1 - What colours are in the pattern you like?
Let's use leopard print as an example here but it could be whatever makes your heart flutter! In most of the standard leopard print you will see three colours: a beige, a dark chocolate brown and a more warm brown/orange-y type of colour. These colours are your starting point on your pattern journey.
Let's say you have a leopard print scarf and you want to incorporate it into your work outfit for tomorrow. Well - do you have brown trousers? Or a brown skirt? Maybe a brown dress? You could wear a brown sleeveless dress over a beige top and top it off with the leopard print scarf around your neck, as a tied bow on your bag or as a head scarf and then you have managed to wear something stylish, put together WITH PATTERN.
Easy right? Let's make it a little bit more advanced. On to tip no 2.
Tip number 2 - But what about a second pattern?
If you get the reference above I give you 10 points right now. You're a good egg. Ok. That's not why you're here. Tip no 2 is about adding a second pattern. Let's continue with our leopard pattern from above. What goes with leopard? Anything if you ask me but if you're not there yet then I want you to think about the colour aspect from tip no 1. Find a pattern with similar colours.
So you have the leopard. It has the brown, the beige, the orange-y brown and now you just need a pattern with one or more of these colours. Patterns that come to mind here to me are a dark brown paisley print, a beige tartan or plaid, or maybe a polka dotted something featuring warm toned orange dots.
Tip number 3 - Think in contrasts
Whenever I am in a styling rut and don't know what to wear I like to think in juxtapositions. So say I wanted to wear my leopard print vintage dress from the 70s (which is amazing btw... You have to see it here or here) I would think in the opposite colours of my dress. My dress is almost yellow in its base and the leopard spots are brown and black so I would use the colour wheel to see what is the opposite of this. The opposite of yellow is purple so I would wear purple tights. A purple headband. Or if I was feeling the double pattern party I would wear my me-made houndstooth print crochet vest that has purple and teal in it (you can see it here in this reel). Now I would have an outfit with contrasts to keep it interesting colour wise and also have a double pattern going on. A two for one situation, am I right?
Now let's move on to find out how you can wear three patterns all at once without feeling like a circus clown.
Tip number 4 -
The neutral approach
Pattern mixing with more than two patterns sounds like A LOT but it really isn't. At least not if you do it right. A great way of approaching the three pattern way of living is to start off with neutrals. That means find a neutral colour palette you feel comfortable in. It could be white, black and grey and then find three patterns using these colours. Think a white shirt with a crisp black stripe action on it paired with a pair of black trousers with grey micro dots and then finish it off with a good blazer in black as well with white contrast stitching.
By doing a three pattern situation using neutrals you will feel a lot less like going from 0 to 100 all of a sudden and can sort of ease more into what your pattern loving soul desires.
Tip number 5 - Go bold or go home!
If you know the pattern life is for you then I suggest getting an item with a really bold pattern on it. It could be a bag with a neon floral print, a pair of trainers with all the colours of the rainbow in a nice print or a great cardigan with all the tartan stripes of your dreams. Something truly wild and bold that catches your eye and makes you happy to look at. And then just wear it on top of your regular outfits, the ones you already wear now, the ones you feel safe and comfortable in. By adding this bold statement piece you will do something bold to please your printed dreams but you will only be doing it with one single item which will trick your brain into thinking you're maybe not even doing it that much.
I dare you to try it. I know you will look stunning!
Ok, pattern people. Time to try it out. Go to your wardrobe now and mix it up!
And don't forget to show me your amazing pattern outfits so I can see your magic. Tag me in your Instagram posts so I can give you some pattern love. And don't forget to check out my free pattern guide too where I show examples from my own wardrobe to help you visualise the process even more. You can grab that for free RIGHT HERE. What are you waiting for?
Oh. And one more thing. Are you subscribed to The Weekly Hex? If not I suggest you do. It's my 'once a week' free newsletter where I share stuff like my current styling obsessions, vintage finds of the week for you to dive into, tips on how to dress for you and not the male gaze, and more. So check it out and subscribe here. I'd love to have you!
Take care, pattern lover. See you on Instagram, right?