Your mother may have told you never to mix your patterns. Well, your mother was wrong. Done properly patterns can be quite delightful when mixed and add an eclectic and funky flair to your look. The trick is to remember to keep the proportions in balance and color families matched. It is easy to overdo it but with a little practice you will get a feel for what is right. Here I will show you a few ways that you can mix patterns to add that certain edge.
This first look I have combined three different patterns in three different sizes. Grey and white striped pants and floral blouse from Forever21, argyle cardigan from NY&Company. Cami is from Aeropostale, pumps from Payless, necklace and bracelet from Cookie Lee.
Why it works: The largest size pattern is on top with the medium in the center and the smallest pattern on the bottom. This sets the proportion. By working with a limited color palette of grey and green it keeps the look simple and uncluttered which can happen when working with so many patterns.
Here is a look with one dominant pattern. Striped pants from Wet Seal, striped jacket from Target and a floral graphic patterned top from Forever21. Wedge heeled peep toe shoes are from urbanoriginals on ebay, cuff bracelet from Claires and necklace from Forever21 add a little panache.
Why it works: The stripes on the pants and jacket are both widely spaced to help balance the bold color and print of the top. A thin pinstripe would not work here. The colors of the pants and jacket are also not too dark. This way they do not compete with, but merely complement the top.
This outfit has two dominant patterns at work. Silk Asian floral top from Arden B, Plaid skirt from BCBGMaxAzaria. Back up from a vintage belt, peep toe Mary Janes from urbanoriginals on ebay, bracelet and earrings from Forever21
Why it works: With such dominant patterns you have to keep the colors in the same family and the scale of both prints need to be the same to stay in balance.
Here are three pieces all in micro-patterns. Micro-patterned blouse from Target, Pinstriped vest from Forever21, Herringbone pants from Wet Seal. Necklace is from Cookie Lee, Vintage style bow pumps from urbanoriginals on ebay.
Why it works: All the pieces have such a small pattern that from a distance they look like a solid color, grey pants, black vest and bluey-beige blouse. In addition they all have the common color of black in their pattern which also helps to unite the look.
This last look is two simple patterns. Floral print blouse from Forever21, Pinstriped skirt from Zizibeh along with Miss Me Pumps from a boutique in Georgia, bracelet from Forever21, earrings from Claire's.
Why it works: The pinstripe skirt is subtle and balanced by the small print of the blouse. This is the easiest of all the looks to pull off since a small pinstripe can be used like a solid color when making an outfit.
So now that you have some examples, take a look in your closet and see what you can put together that you may have never thought of before! I promise I won't tell your mother. *wink*