There was a time when the idea of mixing prints was the worst kind of fashion taboo. Pairing polka dots with stripes was better left to clowns and people with no fashion sense, or even worse, no common sense.

We have a dear friend, who has long thumbed his nose at fashion convention, refusing to give credence to anyone’s pre-conceived notions of what should or should not be allowed.

Long before it was fashionable, our friend was pairing bright madras shorts with polka dot shirts, topped off with paisley ascots, unabashedly letting the world know exactly who he was and what he liked. And let it be said, he has never looked anything less than absolutely fabulous.

We are now free to mix prints and patterns in any way we choose, as long as the final outcome doesn’t cause eye-strain to yourself or others. Freedom in fashion is fantastic, but we still do want to avoid being mistaken for a clown.

The easiest first step to pulling off a mixed palette of patterns is to start by combining black and white prints. It is foolproof.

Stripes, especially black and white stripes, go with everything. They’re so simple – essentially the neutral of prints. Florals and stripes are another natural match. Once again, with stripes acting as a neutral, they can help ground the “floatiness” of a floral pattern.

Polka dots are an extremely user-friendly pattern that can be worn with just about anything – stripes, floral, tweeds – the list is endless.

When you’re ready to venture even further, by stepping into the wonderful world of color, remember that if colors look good together, more often than not the prints will look good together too.

It’s very important to think in terms of scale. Wherever you put the larger print (or the print with the most contrast), that is where the eye will naturally travel. If you’re looking to divert attention away from a particular “problem area,” always keep the concept of scale in mind, and choose the location of your pattern accordingly.

Busy patterns can be matched to more “airy” ones if you want to keep your outfits well-balanced, but if you want to just let go and match busy with busier, have at it!
Like anything else when it comes to fashion, the whole point is to have fun

“More is more and less is a bore.” ~Iris Apfel~




Photography by: Elodie Durand