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  • Carla Casati Rollieri

7 Ways to Mix Prints

If you are anything like me you love prints! From fun and funky to more traditional stripes and polka dots there is always something that screams ‘Take me with you!’ Personally, I end up wearing at least one and more often than not combining 3 and even 4 prints in one outfit… I find it so much fun! That is not to say that my combinations have always been approved by the general public, but they make me feel so happy that I don’t care. However, I have spent many hours in front of the mirror trying on what seemed like endless combinations of prints looking for that perfect combination. No matter if you are just starting out with a small printed scarf, or if like me, you go all out, I will share 7 simple guidelines that I found, which always help me when I am unsure.


1. Choose a centerpiece


This is the most important one, no matter how many prints you are planning on using, always choose a centerpiece, this will be your starting point. From this pattern, you will identify shapes and colors that you will then base the choice for the next prints on.


Play with the size, color, shape, and dimensions of your next pieces, to complement your star item. This will help you make sure that no matter how many prints you add they will have something in common. What you are looking for is a sense of balance that speaks to you. A trick for doing this is by choosing prints of different sizes so that there is a hierarchy, and the eye knows where to look first.


Remember that even though your centerpiece is your starting point it does not have to be your focal point, meaning that it does not have to be the item that grabs your attention first. A centerpiece will help you achieve that magical balance between all the elements even if you are using many different prints.



2. Be daring, and follow your instinct


When mixing prints -or creating any other outfit- anything that makes you feel happy is allowed. Explore new combinations and find the ones you like, and make you feel the most confident. Experiment with how many prints are your limit, try on combinations that intimidate you, and remember that fashion is a space where you get to be creative every single day. Follow your personal sense of style and good taste and you will achieve new combinations that speak to you and make you feel confident.



3. Combine patterns with a common color


At first glance, many patterns seem impossible to combine, either because of the type of garment or the drawing that they create with the pattern, some pieces just seem to clash. One easy way to combine them is through color. After you identify the predominant color in a piece, there are two safe ways you can combine it. First, with the same color or a shade of it, and second with colors or shades from the opposite side of the spectrum. Remember you can repeat this process for as many colors as your center print has.



4. Repeat print on different garments


Feel confident in combining two patterns of the same type, such as flowers, polka dots, or stripes, in a set. Don’t feel afraid to create movement by using patterns that do not share a completely equal design. However, when using this technique you want the patterns to have more than one element in common (color, shape, size, and dimension)



5. Separating prints with monochrome garments


One of the simplest resources, if you cannot find a pattern with the same color or if you do not finish combining the garments perfectly, is to separate the patterns using monochromatic colors. In the case of a T-shirt and pants, you can include a belt that acted as a dividing band. If it is a full-body outfit, another option is to use a top garment, such as a jacket or blazer, that detracts from the print. This will allow a visual break, helping tie the outfit together. If you are just starting remember you can invert this rule, and split your monochrome with a printed item.



6. Go crazy with animal print


There is a certain reluctance to include, in the same style, garments with different types of animal print, but you should forget about that. Despite the harshness of the pattern, you can choose a garment that includes a leopard print and combine it with a snake print in a smaller piece. The key is to play with the proportions of the print in each piece and choose which one is dominant and which one takes second place. Also, remember to have fun including animal print in other outfits. It works great to spice up a simple white-tee and jeans combo, or to use it as a ‘neutral print’ in a very print-heavy outfit.



7. Never go wrong with


Flowers and stripes

Garments with flower prints are very summery and feminine, but because of their complexity can become difficult to combine. When in doubt, add a stripe. The stripes will act as a point of neutrality to the whole outfit. Play around with the thickness, straightness, and color of the stripes for maximum fun, and to find the perfect match for each occasion


Stripes and polka dot

Similarly, Stripes and polka dots will always be in style. It is up to you if you use thick, thin, horizontal, or vertical stripes. When you combine them with another garment stamped with polka dots, you will not go unnoticed. Have fun playing with the proportions between the two to go from playful to formal.


Plaid and Paisley

This combination is not only the daring out of the three, but because of all the different colors in play can be the hardest to combine. Ease yourself in by either sticking to a color palette or following a predominant color, but don’t be discouraged because you can get some truly wonderful results from this.


Small prints

If you are just starting to experiment with prints, then you should literally start small! Wearing it in small sizes will help to switch to this type of fashion, and ain confidence. To begin with, try using the same prints in different colors or prints with colors in the same palette.






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