Pattern Mixing for Everyone

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall · You Pick Wednesday
Welcome to this week’s installment of You Pick Wednesday!  After last week’s polka dot post I received quite a few requests to do a pattern mixing post.  So, here we go.  My thoughts on pattern mixing from beginners to advanced dressers!
Pattern Mixing with Stripes
Stripes make a nice “blank” canvas
Striped Top (similar)| Skirt (similar) | Pants | Polka Dot Top | Scarf (similar)*
1. When mixing with another pattern make sure that the dominant color in the patterns are either in the same color family, immediately next to one another on the color wheel, or opposing each other on the color wheel. (<-Beginner to Advanced)

2. Stick with patterns going in the same director or have one be an all-over pattern with no discernable direction. (<-Beginner and Intermediate)

Pattern Mixing with Polka Dots
Small scale polka dots go well with larger scale patterns

3. Pattern mixing is easier when the patterns are different scales.  Trying to pair one small pattern with another small pattern can make it look like you got dressed in the dark.  Larger patterns paired with smaller patterns  look best. (<-Beginner)

Pattern Mixing with Plaid

Mixing with plaid is a good illustration of all of the tips

Pants | Striped Sweater | Polka Dot Sweater | Blazer

4. If there is a lot of pattern going on, such as with plaid, keep the accessories minimal or neutral. (<-Beginner and Intermediate)

5. When in doubt, throw on a leopard scarf, belt or shoe.  But limit it to two of the three.  (<-Everyone!)


Need more help?  Angie at You Look Fab has some great pattern mixing posts as well.

Pattern Mixing for Beginners

Four Patterns for Easy Pattern Mixing

And, I hope you keep in mind that I haven’t always been drawn to mixing patterns.  So don’t expect to open your closet one morning and suddenly know exactly what patterns to put with what.  Start with the beginner tips and work your way up!

Or, you know, submit a question for a You Pick Wednesday post for your specific item or contact me for a closet consultation!

YouPickWednesdayicon*Note: I did not list links to all the items pictured.  If you want help finding something please let me know!

19 replies on “Pattern Mixing for Everyone

  1. Bethany @ Accidental Intentions

    I love you. Seriously. I mean, I own like two patterned items of clothing, so with my current wardrobe this doesn’t do much for me, but I’ve always shied away from patterns since I had no idea what to do with them. No more!

    Also, does that color wheel rule apply to putting outfits together in general? I had this flash of realization last night that I’m literally getting one outfit out of every item of clothing I own because I don’t know how to mix and match things, and then I realized I don’t know how to mix and match because I know nothing about color. But this color wheel might potentially be helpful?

  2. Rebekah B (@MixedupBek)

    Great tips! I love that you included difficulty levels, too. The Advanced stuff still intimidates me, but the Beginner and Intermediate stuff is right on! Isn’t it crazy and handy how leopard seems to somehow go with everything?

  3. Katie of Alaskan Weredork

    Yes! I love how you showed different levels of pattern mixing, sometimes it’s nice to just do a little pattern mix and then I’ve seen some people who just throw everything in their closet on and it still works. I love mixing stripes with florals, they seem to mix well and aren’t too frightening and floral patterned clothing abounds at the thrift stores. 🙂 And as you’ve shown, leopard mixes with everything.
    I think this is my favorite of your Wednesday posts, it is so helpful and you did a fantastic job breaking it down and explaining everything. (The visuals really help.)

  4. Mica

    This is super-helpful, thanks! I don’t really have any patterns though, so when I go shopping next, I’ll try to find some. Then I can attempt the beginner looks, ha.

  5. kilax

    This post reminded me to ask if your Bubble necklace came?

    I really love mixing my small polka dot shirt with stuff. It’s easy since it’s B&W! I think I need some more polka dotted things.

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