How not to mix prints and patterns

Confessional Portfolio For How NOT To Mix Prints And Patterns

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It’s not many bloggers who show you their mistakes and outfits that they don’t love. But Deb had asked for some suggestions for mixing prints and patterns and I have a bunch that I would consider what not to wear.
We all loved that show, right?
But trust me, this didn’t start off as photos of how not to mix prints and patterns. In fact, I’ve had these photos for over 6 months and I wasn’t going to share them when I first looked at them and thought they weren’t good examples.

Quote of the day: “Intelligence is nothing if it’s not accompanied with kindness.” Christian Louboutin

It all started when I saw this photo below and was obsessed with trying to recreate it. I know many influencers will propose that you need the same items for it to work out, but I like to think we can use what we have.

So I grabbed a white floral tiered dress that was similar and decided to go through a bunch of my jackets to see if I could recreate this.

Needless to say, It wasn’t a great outcome. But maybe you’d like to join my brain as I tried it all on, and how I decided what didn’t work. However, there were 2 out of the 6 that I deemed acceptable.

Insider tip: As I’ve discussed in my Daily Outfit posts where I sometimes don’t like how a look came together, it’s NOT a failure. It’s a lesson. And we should continue to learn. So please don’t give up if this happens to you.
But I also think our mindset plays a part as I will share at the end of the article.

Prints & Patterns Mixing

That inspirational photo. Sorry it’s blurry, but I couldn’t find the original and had to screenshot it from an email.

I’ve become a fan of mixing prints because it extends your wardrobe in a ton of ways, plus it is SO much more interesting than wearing all solids. Or only one print and solids.

Insider thought: I always like to question certain rules and sayings. For instance, why is it okay to mix all solids and not prints? Many will say that it’s too busy, but isn’t that subjective? Almost like women shouldn’t be leaders because they are too emotional.

So I know the guidelines for successful mixing of prints and patterns.
1-Stay within the same colors
2-Use one smaller print with a larger print
3-Same print in different styles

Yet sometimes you can go by the guidelines, and the pieces you put together still don’t meld like you had in mind.

Join my brain as I grabbed this white floral tiered dress and experimented with some of the items in my closet. I tried to keep the details the same so you can concentrate on the mix of prints and my rationales.
BTW, I used a belt in all of these only because of my inspiration photo.
While my dress doesn’t have the browns in it like the original photo, I didn’t want that to waylay my experiment.

Want to see successful print mixing? Stripes work with everything.

1-Tweed and Floral

Tweed blazer and print dress

Maybe I didn’t like this combination because the jacket is much shorter than the inspiration. I grabbed it because tweed is very reminiscent of the plaid jacket in the original photo.

As I said, my dress doesn’t have the same colors but I thought because brown is neutral it would still be okay.

Nah. It didn’t tickle my fancy.

2-Camo and Floral

Camo blazer and print dress

So then I thought maybe I needed a blazer with blues in it like the dress which is why I grabbed this camo blazer. Plus it was longer.

I’ve showcased camo and floral together in the past and I loved the combination. But even though this blazer has the colors of the floral in the dress, I concluded that it did not work.

3-Plaid and Floral

Dark tweed blazer and print dress

I had this olive green plaid blazer which I thought was an okay attempt. I’m always a fan of contrast in my outfits so I liked the darker blazer with the lighter dress. It had the same vibe as the inspiration photo.

Of course, the blazer itself wasn’t as long as the original one, and because of that, the belt looks wonky with it.

4-Floral Cardigan and Floral Dress

Flower print cardigan with flower print dress

I gave up with my blazers, so I went searching through my cardigans. A cardigan is basically a laid-back blazer, right?

The idea to mix florals was the reason I grabbed this cardigan. The background of the sweater is olive green which is seen in the dress.

But ugh, I consider this another learning attempt (remember, it’s not a failure). Something seemed off to me.

5-Blue/Grey Cardigan and Floral Dress

Blue print cardigan with print dress

So I found another cardigan in a blue/grey colorway that had flowers on it but was also a bit abstract.

Again, I decided this wasn’t rocking my boat.

6-Brown Space Dye Sweater Over the Dress

Print dress with space dyed yarn over it

Not one to give up, I thought I’d look through my sweaters that weren’t cardigans too. I was still searching for something to give me the same vibe as the inspirational photo, so this sweater won out.

I hand-knit this one ages ago and it’s a much subtler print. Not only is it space-dyed yarn, but it also has a lace print throughout the body.

This result reminded me of the plaid and floral from #3 which I liked the best. But it wasn’t as much a mix of prints and patterns that I had thought to reproduce.

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Analyzing My Prints and Patterns Together

So I’ve been analyzing these photos as I’m writing about them. And this is what I think.

Originally I was searching to copy the inspirational photo. And that’s part of the reason I wasn’t loving what I put together. Besides #3 and #6, they didn’t give off the same dark vibes.

I never like to think that an outfit is deemed unworthy. Sometimes a small change here or there can give it a whole new life.

And here’s what I decided:
#1-I think I’d wear it without the belt. Maybe cognac boots would tie it together better.
#2-A white or natural belt might keep it all lighter and cohesive. Remove the beret and add a white rancher’s hat.
#4-Maybe no belt or a light pink belt.
#5-I’d remove the belt, wear darker footwear, and forgo the beret.

Maybe I’d like the outfits better if I wasn’t trying to copy an outfit in the first place. Especially with the changes I suggested. Because when it comes down to it, our outfits are just a tool to showcase our wonderful personality.

I’m open to your suggestions too!

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Examples of how not to mix prints and patterns

Photo credit: Rob Filogomo

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