Tips: Mixing Colors, Patterns and Prints – Forget Taboos- Have Fun With It!

For anyone who loves fashion, nothing can be more delicious to the eye than viewing a runway filled with an array of colors, patterns and styles.  We just love it!  But when it comes to wearing anything that’s a bit out of our comfort zone- particularly mixed prints…well that’s another story!

I’m here to help out if I may- with a few tips on how to get started and how to make you more comfortable in this area if you want to dabble in this exciting form of expression.

You probably do love prints, patterns and colors- but you’re not sure if you could pull off the look.  Sometimes it feels too daring and there’s also risk associated wit feeling “too out there”.  Too often the risks- especially for us past the middle point (age-wise) are all of the ‘social’ kind. 

Here’s the list of risks that too often stop us from expressing ourselves:

I’m too old to wear something that outrageous.

Prints make me look older than my age…frumpish (age- related)

The colors are too loud for me (age related again)

I don’t suit patterns or too much color (they make me look fat; I’m too short; too tall; they make me look bulky; make my bones stand out…oh dear, just fill in your own blanks.)

I only suit black.

The list goes on.

News Flash:  Yes, You’re here. Yes, You’re aging.  Yes, You’re still alive.  Your life is not over!!  How old are you really in your heart and head?  Life’s too short, start having fun (it’s only clothes…fashion comes and goes- style it up hun!)

Now- let’s get onto Print and pattern mixing!

READY?? I’ll give you the easiest and quickest way to SAFELY dabble into print mixing… Here it comes: Stay within the same Color Family. How easy is that??

3 Different patterns- SAME color family.

Beginner EXERCISE for you:

  1. Go to your closet and pick the one print you absolutely love (top, pants, dress, scarf…)
  2. With the garment in hand move along your racks to see if at least ONE of the colors in the garment can be found in another piece
  3. Once you’ve found that piece, start matching it up!
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I started by picking this amazing slip on skirt…which according to the norm could technically only be worn with black…Note how I picked another animal print to pair it with! The trick was to keep the base color (dusty rose) to tie up the look.

Intermediate Exercise for you:

  1. Repeat the above exercise using different garments, OR, from those two pieces you previously put together, find one more item that has, either the dominant color -OR- a complimentary color (of the dominant one) and style it up!  See color charts for examples- you can easily find this on the Internet😊
I started by picking a Bright red jacket that I love. Then I paired it with my tie-dye dress. Third, I added the dominant color Red within a different print and pattern scarf. Lastly, the polka dot and red, sandals were just the right notch for me to love this outfit!

Advanced Exercise for you:

  1. Try it with 3 different garments or just add a third piece to the original mix you created previously- this one MUST be another print!  This could mean that your accessory should also be a print!  Then add an extra layer (jacket for example).  Let this one also should have the dominant color or a bold complimentary! 
This one actually has two different prints- however, because the top is sheer, it adds a third dimension. The belt is a too bright orange, so I fastened a scarf around it. I initially wanted to wear the scarf in a more traditional way around my neck…but I thought this was way better! What do you think?

Expert Exercise for you: 

  1. Try styling up more than 2 patterns and prints.  Color does not matter at this point.  In fact, you can have the same color but different patterns.  A good example of this would be two different garments with two different patterns but both are black and white.  From this add a third pattern that is of a completely different color for a splash of contrast.
Working with black an white (thought I’d keep it safe for you in terms of color!! BUT- I decided to style totally different patterns. To the mix I added the splash of color with the scarf worn as a top- and then another scarf as a belt. In total: 4 different patterns!

FINAL TIP:  Who made up these rules anyway?  Honestly- this is just a guideline. Sometimes items that are not even color, print or pattern related just go together so well! 


And there you have it!  You’re on your way to print-mixing!  Now, all you have to do is style it up!

Watch this clip for a detailed look on how I styled up my prints and patterns.

An now Here’s to my Favourite Fashion Diva of the Week:

The Beautiful and oh-so- chic Jess from Elegantly Dressed and Stylish

How gorgeous is this Diva? Loving this slip dress so much- and the animal print is soooo good!

I love this blogging community and the interesting weekly blog posts. (Click on the Links below to see where I go read, comment and link up every week!)


Glass of Glam

Mutton Style

Pocket Full of Polka Dots

My Glittery Heart

Not Dead Yet Style

Away From the Blue

Robin LaMonte

Fashion Trends and Friends

Ask Suzanne Bell


Links a la Mode

I Do De Claire

Elegantly Dressed and Stylish

Walking in Memphis in High Heels and The Fashion Canvas

Shelbee on the Edge

Style Splash

Jenerally Informed

Not Dressed as Lamb


Jersey Girl Texan Heart

Living on Cloud Nine

Rosy Outlook

Seeking Sunshine

Straight A Style Blog

Granola and Grace

The Queen in Between

Coast to Coast

This Blonde Shopping Bag

Is This Mutton

Mix and Match Mama

Pastries Pumps and Pi

My Purple World


A Labour of Life

High Latitude Style

Doused in Pink and Curly Crafty Mom

Good Random Fun


Thursday Moda by Elegance & Mommyhood

My Bijou Life Online


I also do a Link Party every Friday! Confessions of a Montreal Styling Diva

Sharing a Journey

Shelbee on the Edge

Nancy’s Fashion Style

Lizzie in Lace

30 thoughts on “Tips: Mixing Colors, Patterns and Prints – Forget Taboos- Have Fun With It!

Add yours

    1. To add your print as an accessory is the best way to tie it all in with prints! And, yes- absolutely the fit! Let me know if the exercises are of some help:) Thanks!

  1. Love your print mixing fun. I have a buffalo plaid skirt that I’m itching to style. I may go bolder than originally planned. Thanks for the inspiration. 🙂

  2. You are the master of pattern mixing (“mistress” doesn’t sound right!). I love all of those outfits. You make it look so easy!

  3. You inspire me so much Lucy! I feel like I’m always so Matchey matchey and I need to mix it up more! I loved your YouTube about this and like I said, no one is as good at print mixing as you are!

    1. Andrea, are you kidding me?!! You’re my fashion icon!! And thank you so much for your kindness always xx

  4. I love this post, Lucy! Such fabulous mixed print outfits! I am pining this post for reference. It’s funny, when I was a kid I loved wearing all the colors, but when I started caring what my peers thought my wardrobe became more dull. Next dress requirements at work further diminished my wardrobe. Now that I am retired, all of those colors are making a come back.

    1. Oh good I’m happy that you’re doing this- colors are so fun! Thanks MIchelle xx

      1. Thanks, I’m honored to have you as a subscriber. Enjoy the Kaftan Style Guide! Even if you already have your own ideas, it’s a good reminder to pull out a kaftan now and then. 😉

  5. Love these looks! Wow. Stunning with the different prints, I love the striped belt with the polka dots and that red jacket with your tie dye looks so stylish on you! I do a bit of print mixing and always enjoy it, I should try it more. THank you for featuring me ! 🙂
    jess xx

    1. It was an honour for me to feature you!! YOu are so stylish and beautiful always!! Thanks Jess xx

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