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Budget Stylista: A Guide to Mixing Prints the Right Way

The 8 Rules of Mixing Prints:

1. Pair big prints with little, busier prints. The bigger prints serve as more of a neutral, balancing everything out. For example: thick stripes with a tiny floral print, a large floral paired with small floral, skinny stripes with large floral… you get the drift.

2. If your prints contain more than three colors, then they should have a color in common. See look #1 for an example!

3. Striped Shirt + Floral Accessories = guaranteed mixing success. As long as you keep rules 1 and 2 in mind.

4. If you’re afraid of mixing prints, dip your toe in the mixing pool and start with accessories. Toss a leopard bag on over a floral dress, layer a striped scarf over a polka dot top, throw on some floral shoes with a striped dress…. You get a taste of mixing things up without the fear of doing it wrong.

5. Choose patterns that are complementary without being too matchy-matchy.

6. When in doubt, remember this: Leopard is a neutral! And this spring- with bright colors and prints all over the place – printed shoes and handbags that seem to not go with anything now go with EVERYTHING!

7. However, with rule number 6, if you’re already mixing two printed pieces of clothing, go with a solid shoe and handbag to pull the look together!

8. Lastly, if all these rules confuse you, just go with the advice O magazine’s creative director, Adam Glassman, told me via Twitter: “No fail if u keep the color palette similar and play w/ scale.” This simple sentence pretty much sums above the above 7 rules in a pretty (printed) bow for you!

So now let’s put those rules to work! Here are 2 outfits that mix prints right!

  • JillCOLLEGECANDY Writer
    I'll try anything in life. Unless it involves spiders. or olives.