For some, mixing prints may sound a bit too bold – combining two different themes doesn’t come easy for everyone. Still, some do it in a way that makes you ask yourself in awe, “How did that voguish weirdo do that? “
Well, mixing unmixable, matching the seemingly incompatible classing prints is the basis of creativity. It’s an alchemy that will never change.
There are no big rules here except to actively appreciate, gaze at, imagine, and fantasize about it, or if you’d like to go higher – grab a pencil and crayons and scribble. Something will come up eventually. I’m joking, of course, but you get the point.
So when it comes to prints, we have a couple of elements like line, shape, scale, and color, and you just play with their values and bring them into interesting dialogues.
These seven tips I discovered/synthesized/tried on how to mix prints without looking like a random fair threw up on you.
1) Juxtapose Total Opposites
This tip is my favorite. It’s the most daring and fun way – to combine totally different prints. Then it turns out unexpectedly good in a fresh, synergistic visual crossover. For example, geometry suggests structure and predictability, and floral motifs add an organic feel and evoke life and vitality, simultaneously talking about balance and the beauty of both.
Other such pairs could be abstract + figurative, classic stripes + bold pop art, massive scale + minuscule, animal + camouflage, classic plaid + trippy paisley… the list goes on.
Probably a match made in heaven if you want to be a star of the day.
2) Same Pattern Family but a Variety of Scales and Colors
Just as opposites attract, so do likes. Such mixes are great for a subtler look.
Stripes, only in different colors, scales, or directions – like royal blue palazzo pants with wide stripes and a narrow-striped shirt in emerald and blue shades… or the iconic image of Carrie in Paris, wearing Sonia Rykiel outfit…
And it looks so good every time.
3) Same Color, Just a Different Pattern Family
Works either way, obviously. Like a lush green houndstooth skirt and a lush green snakeskin print bag. I instantly picture it with a white shirt and light brown-dark patterned moccasins.
4) Same Print Family, Same Color Family
Let’s say rich floral prints on a Cuban collar short-sleeve shirt and just a sequel of rich floral pattern on shorts in the summery palette. Or a copper-colored jacket with olive green pants of the same saturation, one with zig–zag, one with wavy print, almost like poetry.
5) Loud and Muted, Elaborate and Subtle
One is loud, the other subtle, barely noticeable from afar, but it can cause tremendous visual pleasure once noticed.
Like an aggressive giraffe print on a shirt, an olive skirt with barely noticeable shades of the same hue can sometimes be more stimulating than a solidly colored skirt could achieve.
6) Color-Blocking Clash
Well, this is not my favorite. Yes, it can look good sometimes, but I’ve seen misses more than Bingos.
Olive and lilac can be matched perfectly, lilac and red, orange and pink – but make sure it doesn’t fight with your complexion, personality, or occasion because it can make you feel like an art school freshman.
7) Do Something Unexpected!
There’s no feeling like exploring and discovering stuff just on your own. Try logo clash – Balenciaga vs. Gucci, Adidas vs. Nike; a company’s tee and a skirt with vintage print, MotoGP-like thighs, and a tartan blazer… not literally, but something’s gotta give.
My final advice: go see things, find different sources for your visual appetites, visit galleries, stare at pretty things on Pinterest, buy a design book, visit vintage sales, go to nature, and trust your instincts when wanting to express yourself!
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