Pulling Off Mixed Prints
One of the most daunting tasks in the fashion world is the successful mixing and matching of printed items. Even the most confident of fashionistas often fear walking the thin line between mismatched tackiness and Olsen-esque creativity. I can certainly remember the time when I most unwittingly wore a pair of striped tights with a crazy 80’s sweater and leopard-print headscarf. Not a good look! While print-mixing failures are possibly one of the worst fashion “don’ts” print-mixing successes are possibly one of the best fashion “do’s”. Since my print-mixing horror tales of yore, I’ve picked up some tips on how to master this look.
Start with Accessories
The easiest and most fun way to emerge into the print-mixing scene is to wear a combination of printed accessories. When you’re standing in front of the mirror, desperately worrying about how to mix prints, it’s easy to try on a bunch of throw-on accessories in lieu of more complicated clothing items. Scarves, hats, purses, and shoes can be switched around in the blink of an eye. Mixing the prints of your accessories is also a great way to dress up an otherwise boring outfit. Red argyle tights and a leopard-print turban can instantly brighten up a prospectively-dull solid black dress.
Mix Minimal Prints
If you’re ready to move onto print-mixing with serious clothing items, start off by combining minimal prints. Don’t pair enormous florals with gigantic polka dots. Instead, try pairing a 90’s grunge tiny-print floral piece with a more subtle polka dot item. You can also try pairing two similarly-printed garments—-birds of a feather flock together! Two delicate vintage prints of the same genre can do wonders when wore simultaneously. A flirty red dress with black polka dots can look oh so adorable with a black scarf with red polka dots.
Stick to a Coordinating Color Scheme
To avoid looking too mismatched when mixing prints, it’s often good to stay within the bounds of one color family. While solid orange tights may look wonderful with a striped blue romper, floral orange tights may not be such a great idea. Instead, try mixing the floral orange tights with a striped yellow item, or a clothing item that coordinates, not contrasts with the orange hue of the tights. If you prefer a little more zing to an outfit, keep the print mixing items within the same color scheme, but add a pop of excitement with a contrasting solid accessory.
Verbal instruction may be helpful, but what could be better than witnessing some fantastic visual print-mixing, rocked by your fellow Chictopians?
- 300 fans-
Talk about going the extra mile! Ever-popular EIU contributor and style maven, angiekje mixes not two, but three different prints. Utilizing the powers of minimal print mixing, she deftly combines a leopard-print blouse with a tiered periwinkle floral skirt. Typically, a third print to this outfit might be too over the top, but angiekje’s neutrally-colored polka dot tights simply add to the quality of this look. She tastefully sticks to subtle brown and blue accessory choices, adding a hint of warm color with crimson lipstick.
Step aside, Courtney Love—-hannahsmithy is queen of grunge in this town! This girl pulls off the 90’s trend by sporting an array of floral pieces, all within the same color scheme. Her pink and blue floral top harmonized with her violet and teal skirt colors, giving off a mysterious and artsy vibe. True to the grunge look, hannahsmithy finishes off this look with a pair of chunky black sneakers and knotted sweater shawl, staying within contemporary trends with the addition of a clever leopard-print hat.
- dots, dots, dots--
I’m seeing spots! Cute as a button, nofashionvictim puts a twist on an all-time favorite. Her black and white polka dot cardigan gets an added kick of adorableness with black spotted stockings. This outfit is not only darling; it’s practical for wintertime adventures. nofashionvictim adds a snug knitted white hat and sturdy lace-up boots to this polka dot plethora. Perfect for the beginning print-mixer and wilderness wanderer alike!
- GOLDEN GIRL-
If you love to dress simply, yet luxuriously, look no further that jamour. This glamour girl looks as if she could have stepped straight off the set of “Gossip Girl”. Her abstract-print sweater and striped scarf get a heavy dose of color contrast via their rich golden and azure tones. Completing the ensemble with a slouchy “borrowed from the boys” blazer, sleek hot pants, and a leather-trimmed satchel, this real-life Serena van der Woodsen is a fashion role model to us all.
Celebrated Style Icon, beware_of_my_heels, makes a easy-to-emulate print-mixing statement. She combines a minutely-patterned pair of leopard tights with a slouchily-sexy Rolling Stones tee, proving that graphic pieces with only one drawing can definitely count into the print-mixing factor. Ever the fashion chameleon, this girl goes for a full-on rocker vibe with a pair of tough black combat boots, retaining a bit of her signature quirky style via dark-framed nerd glasses.
You may have started reading this article suffering from “print-mixing phobia”. Let’s hope that these tips and examples have helped to encourage you to brave this look! No matter how dubious you are about wearing a multi-print outfit in public, almost any trend can successfully be pulled off with confidence and a smile. Once you hop onto the print-mixing bandwagon, you’ll never want to leave.