Rules for Mixing Patterns and Textures
Christian Lacroix, Emanuel Ungaro, Etro
What are the rules for mixing different textures, and also how do I mix patterns?
Mixing different textures and patterns is a fabulous way to create more variety in your outfits, giving your outfit an interesting depth which is definitely a must if you want to take a more individualistic and personal approach to dressing.
Yes, mixing patterns and textures can be tricky which often result in wrong combinations that don't look that good. This is why most people say they'd never do it. But seriously, it can look amazing if done correctly!
Here are the right ways to mixing patterns and textures:
How to Mix Patterns and Textures
Vary the scale of the patternsWearing medium/large with small patterns create balance. However mixing large patterns can empower your outfit and make you look wider - combining two or more small prints on the other hand make your overall appearance busy.
August 2011 Update: Mixing two similar scaled prints is fine as long as you break it up with a basic solid
In outfit #1, thin striped 'RVCA' tee balances well with a skirt in large floral print from Tilly's. You can also add some texture with grainy leather flats and gold 'Maricella's Starburst Bib' statement necklace.
Note: Mixing various sizes of patterns can also add more volume to parts of your body that need more of it, and helps with balancing out your silhouette! So if your hips need more oomph try a top with bigger prints
Patterns and textures that won’t compete with each otherWearing two super-bold patterns makes it look like you got dressed drunk or in the dark.
Instead, combine a large floral skirt with a versatile two-tone striped top. Or black lace tights with a plaid shirt. Or solid leather leggings with a cozy wool knit.
In outfit #2 I've demonstrated how completely different textures like '6126 by Lindsay Lohan' wet look/leather leggings, a comfy knit sweater (Forever 21) and white canvas Converse hi-top sneakers can create a cool and casual outfit.
Same color familyYour patterns should share the same color scheme. For example, if your paisley top is orange, teal and beige, your plaid skirt should have some orange, teal and/ beige to it or anything similar (same color, but different nuance) to those colors. Or a print that has atleast one of the colors of the other print.
Note: If you're wearing a basic black and white stripe tee you're more free to combine it with whatever print piece you like because black and white are versatile and work with almost anything. This also includes brown, gray and navy blue.
In outfit #3 I used an abstract print blouse (net-a-porter) together with a paisley short skirt (Forever 21) in the same color scheme as an example - a little bit of white/cream, blue and reds. To tone it down you can add a simple black belt (by Michael Kors) around your waist along with black wedge gladiator sandals (Enzo Angiolini Nilla from Piperlime). By spreading the colors evenly (black shoes and belt with gold details) with the patterns you'll achieve a more pulled together femme-chic look!
Break it up a bitGive your outfit some rest by breaking it up with a basic, solid color. This makes your outfit look more balanced and modern. Basic wide belts, jackets and hosiery are great for this.
Adding basic colors is one of the best strategies to wearing prints subtly. In outfit #4 I mixed 'Seraphine' brown snake skin high heel ankle boots (mytheresa.com) with solid dark blue wide leg jeans and a cute polkadot chiffon polkadot blouse (by designer 3.1 Phillip Lim) for an ultra-sweet look with a trendy flair to it.
Some prints can be neutralsThink tweed skirts and dress pants or small houndstooth. And even black and white, navy blue and white. They are so classic and understated, they become a neutral and can be topped with two other print pieces.
Don’t go too matchy-matchy Similar polka dot patterns on head and toe make it look like you’re overly confined to fashion rules. As if your outfit is too well-thought and predictable. It just isn't exciting to look at. Add a few surprises by wearing different types of prints and textures.
Make it work with flattering patterns:
Mixing prints and patterns is tricky without looking clownish. Even if you did follow the above principles in wearing several prints, your outfit could benefit from extra refinements.
I am specifically talking about choosing patterns that flatter you. You basically also want the patterned pieces to complement You - your physical traits which include body type, coloring, and not least, your personality. In this way, the outfit becomes a part of you, which is quite a flattering look by aesthetic standards.
A print clothing with the right colours is particularly important. So look for patterns that combine the colours tastefully. I.e. Not too many colours in one. Also, it helps to refine your wardrobe by adding patterns that has one or two colours that match your own personal coloring, as it helps ground your outfit to your physical appearance - creating visual stability.
Other factors to consider when choosing flattering prints include scale, style of of print and so on.
I hope this helps!
Products you may be interested in:
More Shopping & Chic Inspiration at the TCF Blog:
Also check out the Style Makeover Shop!
Back to Top