Is there a more archaic fashion “law” than “Don’t combine your prints”? (OK, “Don’t wear white after Labor Day” is probably up there as well.) Despite the numerous seasons of pattern-mixing street-style influence, we may still be hesitant to combine two dissimilar graphics.
How to Always Make Mixed Prints Look Cool
But it doesn’t have to be this way: Leandra Medine of The Man Repeller has established an entire business on breaking these old “rules”; Tanya Taylor’s brightest floral patterns are all about mixing and matching; designer Nicky Zimmermann has also worked with a lot of mixed prints. On a daily basis, this trio wears, designs, and all-around crushes mismatched patterns, so we knew we had to poll them to find out the secrets of a successful mixed-prints ensemble. Have you ever been stumped as to how to combine fluffy florals with blown-out geometric prints? What if the same print was done in a variety of colors? Now is your chance to shine. We asked Medine, Zimmermann, and Taylor for their finest tips and tactics for making print-clash look effortless and hip. You might just turn your all-black wardrobe inside out before you realize it.
Classics are called that for a reason—keep them on hand.
“One of the really delightful by-products of print-mixing—completely part of the course,” says Medine, “is looking like an uncoordinated jumble.” “However, I believe that stripes and leopard print, as well as polka dot and leopard print, are safe prints to combine. In the world of print mixing, leopard print is a true neutral.” With a few key leopard pieces (like a miniskirt for the rest of summer and a faux-fur coat for the fall), channel some old-school glitz, and start swapping them out for other wardrobe staples. For example, instead of wearing black ballet flats with jeans and a striped button-down, try a leopard pair; or go all-in with a Breton tee and skirt. (Zimmermann like the wild print paired with “a bleached antique floral.”) After all, according to Medine, what is the most important nonrule? “Don’t overthink things,” says the narrator.
Don’t Be Afraid of Prints from the Same Family
When it comes to “mixed prints,” your first reaction could be to grab two very different designs, but stick to a single theme or family. “I really enjoy mixing ditzy blooms with huge [ones],” Medine explains. Zimmermann is in agreement: “I enjoy combining similar-based artworks—for example, I’ll combine a few distinct paisley colors and patterns into a look…. It’s always effective!” This approach has worked in a variety of categories, from gingham to flowers, according to the designer. “I suppose you could say that’s my formula for a print clash,” she says at the end.
Take Color into Consideration
Taylor emphasizes that the color palette is crucial in establishing the desired visual balance from print-clashing. “Matching a lighter print with a darker [one] is a foolproof approach to print mix,” she explains. We paired a lighter blue watercolor flower with a black micro-floral print with traces of blue, white, and red for pre-spring 2018; essentially, both designs must be inverses of one other or pick up on the same tones. ” This is something that Medine also believes in. “It’s not so much about the prints as it is about the colors of the prints,” she explains when it comes to mixing patterns. “I believe that no two prints may be married unless the color is in doubt.” So, when you’re looking through your closet for graphics that might go well together, consider how the colors complement one another. After that, the sartorial conundrum won’t appear so perplexing.”
Consider the silhouettes you’re putting together.
When it comes to prints, it’s not just about the color—also it’s about the fabric they’re printed on. “Focus on the silhouette” when arranging your clashing patterns, Taylor advises, to ensure that they don’t detract from the graphics you want to show off. “Keep it simple, classic, and let the print-mixing speak for itself!” Pixie jeans, midi skirts, and clean off-the-shoulder tops are all no-fail possibilities; save the more eye-catching designs for a monochromatic wardrobe day.
It’s Supposed to Be Fun, Remind Yourself
Returning to Medine’s original suggestion, don’t take the print-styling procedure too seriously. “It’s kind of the purpose if you feel foolish,” she explains. “Relax and enjoy it.” Simply because you’ve chosen the loudest design in your closet—say, pajama-inspired silk palm-print pants or the brightest flowery dress you can find—doesn’t mean you have to wear it with neutrals or solids. It’s an opportunity to have a good time and express oneself creatively. Zimmermann explains, “It’s about feeling comfortable with what you’ve put together.” “When mixing prints, you may always surprise yourself, thus I think thinking in terms of formula takes away the excitement and the opportunity for something amazing to happen!” So, what exactly are you waiting for? Take a chance!
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