How to Mix Prints and Patterns to Create Fashion-Forward Outfits – Fidgey Ray Boutique

With just a few guidelines, you too can show how fashion-forward you are and stay on top of new trends by mixing prints and patterns. Mixing prints or patterns in your wardrobe is a fantastic way to stand out from the crowd, infuse your own sense of style into your wardrobe, and use staple pieces over and over to create new outfits. 

fashionable woman sitting on stairs

Here are our top tips for mixing prints and patterns.

  1. Learn the basics
  • Print vs. Pattern - what's the difference? 
  • Familiarize yourself with the classics
  • Plaid
    • Especially in the winter months, plaid is a go-to for pattern lovers everywhere. A classic pattern, plaid is a featured option on the runways every season. 
  • Polka dots
    • Whether your style is more vintage or modern, polka dot patterns and prints are versatile and fun. 
  • Gingham
    • My favorite fall pattern, Gingham is made from dyed cotton woven into a checkered pattern. 
  • Animal Prints
    • Will leopard print ever go out of style? Nope. Animal prints are back baby, and whether your style tells you to incorporate them in a bold, 80s inspired look or a more modest, muted look, you can't go wrong with a print inspired by nature's best. 
  • Florals
    • Probably the print with the most variety, florals are a must-have in any fashionista's closet. 
  • Start with wearing just one pattern at a time 
  • If prints and patterns feel overwhelming for you and you're not ready for a big, bold print right off the bat, start by wearing just one pattern at a time. Whether it's a floral dress or shirt, polka-dot or plaid pants, or a gingham jacket - you can ground the rest of the outfit with a solid neutral piece. I love a good plaid pant with a black blazer, especially in the fall and winter months. In the warmer months, try a floral skirt with a neutral crop top or bodysuit and lightweight cardigan. 
    Over time, you can work more patterns and prints into your wardrobe as you grow more comfortable.
  • Begin incorporating patterns into small pieces and accessories
  • Feeling a little nervous or intimidated about prints and patterns? Start with incorporating them into small pieces and accessories, such as shoes, earrings, handbags, or socks. 
  • Use different-sized prints or patterns to create contrast and texture
  • When mixing prints, it's important to find a way to balance them out. Using two prints of similar scale is not recommended because they will likely clash with one another. But, the game changes when you use prints or patterns of different scale. For example, use a small polka dot pattern with a large floral print, which will allow the polka dot to ground the outfit and act as a neutral. 
  • Dress for yourself, not others 
  • Let's be honest - some people aren't going to like your outfits. But who cares? Remember to dress in what makes you feel good and what speaks to you, and have fun with it! Confidence is the best accessory for any outfit. 
  • Layer onto foundation prints (the basics)
  • Start with the classics and then, when you find what works for you, layer them up for a super cool look. 
  • Don't be afraid of "clashing" 
  • Mixing two very different prints may drive your mother crazy, but nothing screams confidence like a bold, unique look. These days, mixed prints = power. Anchor the look with a neutral blazer or denim to tone it down. 
  • Embrace color
  • Don't be afraid of color! But pay close attention to it. Bold patterns in a neutral color can be used to offset wildly different patterns with more varied color schemes. For example a bold pattern, such as polka dot or gingham with a monochrome color scheme (maybe just two colors), paired with a more vibrant plaid or animal print or paisley is a fun way to mix up patterns. Just make sure the multicolor pattern features a color from the monochrome pattern.  

If you try mixing patterns, make sure to tag @fidgeyray! For more fashion tips, featured pieces, and fun designs, visit 


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