Style Tip- How To Mix And Match Patterns

A while ago, I did a post on how I was able to personally combine "pattern on pattern"; if you missed it, check HERE , and I promised to create a post that would basically teach you how to do yours if you don't know how to yet.
So here it is :)

Fashion has totally evolved from being limited to wearing a lot of things. I mean there was a time when denim on denim was practically a taboo, being able to pair colours had its limitations, until "colour-blocking" became a trend, same for being able to pair a patterned item with another. 

Before, one would wonder what kind of fashion sense someone has, if he/she spotted someone wearing mixed patterns, but now, when done correctly, you are totally fashion forward.

Yes, as with every thing fashion, men aren't left out. Just as the ladies can play with patterns, men can too.
So imagine the versatility that this trend has got to offer; you can recycle your clothes by switching up how you paired them the first time through pattern mixing. Great news. :)

Let me quickly tell you the difference between prints and patterns, as they can be quite confusing.

Pattern: A pattern is a repeated decorative design (geometric, stripes, polka dot, checks, houndstooth) that can be printed or woven in fabric. Printed patterned fabrics last longer because the dyes hold better and overall fading is even.

Print: This on the other hand, is a design NOT woven on the fabric, but printed on the top layer of the fabric. meaning, when you turn the fabric inside out, there would be no visible trace of the print unlike a woven pattern that would be seen when turned inside out.

Mixing patterns, is in itself a form of art, and is pretty much easy to do, as long as you;
  •  keep practising, 
  • are willing to go outside of your comfort zone, 
  • are definitely confident and of course,
  • do it correctly.
So the challenge now is how do you mix patterns without ending up clownish, or harsh on the eyes?
Follow these simple tips:

  • Pattern Mixing With Similar/Matching Colours
Black and white pattern mixing is like the simplest way to start, as you can never go wrong with that.
So if you are afraid of taking risk in combining some striking colors, you can use some neutral colors for starters. Neutral shades can help you to produce easier combinations because colors like black and white, brown, gray and midnight blue are so versatile that they work with almost anything.

Your patterns should share the same colour family because that common colour would hold your outfit together. You can also opt for a print that has at least one of the colours in the other print. Also, if the colours look good together, e.g a pink patterned top, and a blue patterned bottom, then you are spot on!

  • One Large Pattern And One Small Pattern
 Because patterns are naturally busy, if not worn correctly, they can look overwhelming on the wearer. Hence, the secret is to pair one bold pattern against one subtle pattern, so that the bold pattern takes the spotlight/is the main focus, while the subtle one is the afterthought.
By doing this, the patterns do not compete for visual attention, because there is a balance.

  • Textures And Patterns Mixing
Clothes have different textures.
By texture, it means the visual surface appearance or the feel of the fabric when touched.
Mixing two different textures along with balanced patterns and colours, can add an interesting edge/dimension to your patterned outfit. For example, a silky flower printed blouse paired with a floral skinny jeans in the same theme and colour tone, can make for an interesting fashion statement; a printed knit sweater with a printed linen skirt. etc.

  • Pattern Mixing With The Same Theme
Floral with floral, stripes with stripes, monochrome on monochrome, polka dots on polka dots, etc. There are plenty options to pick from while mixing patterns in this category.
However, try not to be too matchy-matchy, as this will take the fun away from pattern mixing. It becomes boring to look at, and well, too safe.
After all, the idea behind print mixing is for people to notice how eclectic you are right?

Also, you can add a few surprises by wearing different types of vibrant patterns and textures,  although it still appears with the same theme.
In this case, we are looking for the same theme and not for exactly the same patterns with different colours.

Mixed patterns with a tribal theme

  • Break Up Your Pattern Mixing With Solid Colours
Adding basic/solid colors is one of the best strategies to wearing patterns subtly. because it helps give your outfit some rest.
If pattern on pattern is just too much for you, just layer in some solid-colored clothes and accessories to calm things down and ground your look. By solid colours, I mean, colours that are unpatterned and plain.

Let me quickly point out that patterns mixing isn’t limited to combining two different/patterned clothes. In fact you are also allowed to play with accessories for having different patterns in your outfit. Patterned shoes, bags, scarves, cardigans can be a good way to combine with one of your patterned outfit. Hence, your basic/solid colour can be in form of a pair of jeans, skirt etc.

As pointed above, inputing solid colours into your pattern mixing is also done through basic accessories. Or use accessories to accentuate the highlight colors, for example if your pieces are super busy with colors and prints, just solidly accessorize with one of the colors of your patterned item.

Remember neutral accessories (black, white, brown, grey etc) help to tone down a patterned outfit.

  • Printed Mixing With Printed T shirts
There are numerous shirts or t-shirts that come with fun pictures or themes. Opt for this kind of printed shirt and combine it with other patterned items that have similar color tones or same themes. Play with textures and colors if you think your shirt looks too simple and plain.

Basically,  you need to understand the balance between colors, scales, and themes of the patterns on patterned clothes. When you’re mixing your own patterns, look for a connection: It could be a color, a shape, a silhouette.
It is essential to know that prints and patterns can really empower your body silhouette. So you need to understand your body. 
Horizontal lines can make your figure look wider while vertical lines do the opposite way and also make you appear taller.
 Small patterns will make you look subtle, while large patterns really highlight your outfits, as well as make you look wider, super busy and heavy.

Left: Horizontal stripes, Right: Vertical lines
So, wear your patterns – either small or large – to enhance your best assets and conceal the others. Don’t wear large patterns on parts of the body you want to hide, and avoid merging two different large pattern if you don’t know the rules.

  •   There are so many different patterns out there, but according to research, there are four patterns that are the easiest to mix together: stripes, floral, leopard, and polka dots. It is difficult to go wrong when mixing two classic patterns together.
Any combination of these four patterns is pretty much going to be right, as long as you follow the big pattern/little pattern and one cohesive colour rules!


Pattern mixing for men, is almost the same as pattern mixing for women. Most, if not all of the rules apply.

For the sake of simplicity, a suited look can be broken down into three components;
  • Suit
  • Shirt
  • Tie. 

Although other items such as pocket squares, and socks, can have patterns too

Also, menswear patterns can be broadly categorized into three;
  • Stripes
  • Checks (e.g plaids, windowpanes)
  • Repeats (e.g dots, symmetrical lines etc)

So if you are new to pattern mixing, it is easiest to start by following the "2 out of 3 rule". This means that two out of the three components (suit, shirt and tie) can have a pattern, and the third must be solid.
However, if you are a little more advanced, and would like to try to mix three patterns together, its easiest to start by wearing one item each of the three types of patterns. e.g a checked suit, striped shirt, and a repeat floral tie.

  • Pattern On Pattern
For the guys who are willing to try this trend, the easiest way is by pairing patterns together. E.g stripes on stripes, checks on checks.
The key thing to note here is that, the size of one pattern should be different from the other. This is to ensure that your outfit doesn't look confusing. For instance, if you have a small pattern in your shirt, make sure the pattern in your tie is either solid (plain or unpatterned) or a bigger pattern so the patterns aren't competing for your eye's attention

If you are mixing two different patterns like dots and squares, just ensure that you pay attention to size. For instance, If you want to put polka dot and check together, make sure the check is subtle and the polka dot is larger and the dominant statement of the two or vice versa.

  • Same Colour Family
Keeping things in the same colour family can help too, especially if you are planning to incorporate different patterns into your outfit. E.g stripes on checks. 
You can pair patterns that of different hues/shades of the same colour in a subtle way (e.g purple and lavender). Especially to help differentiate the sizes of your patterns if you decide to wear different patterns. Sizes of the patterns do not necessarily have to differ in this category though, it all depends on your choice.

  • Play With Colours
Guys, have fun with your pattern mixing by playing with colours. Apart from just safely using colours in the same colour family, you can use colours that complement each other. E g a pink striped shirt paired with a navy blue jacket.

 photo ff5663f2-1ee7-48cd-8d8b-3da93f5e213f_zps1bef1833.png

You Might Also Like


  1. o my gosh you are very very good at what you are doing back to the point i love the pattern on pattern it is fabulous my inner tells me she is going to be a wonderful blogger as a friend i will tell her she is doing very good she is a sister to me and my good friend

  2. good work keep it up love it

  3. am always at haste to read your blog,knowing that you won't disappoint me.actually this pattern on pattern has been a threat to me for a very long time but with t6he help of eclectic styling i can boldly put on pattern and pattern without fear of people looking at me awkwardly.

  4. This was super helpful! I’m trying to step out of my zone and wear prints period, though I admire how people can pull off mixing prints together. I vow to stop being a fashion scaredy-cat and be adventurous

  5. Wow.super long but worth the read.thanks.

  6. what a nice way to mix and match pattern. so nice


Thank you so much for taking the time out to read and comment. We really appreciate and look forward to reading them.
DISCLAIMER: All comments are made by the blog's readers and NOT by the blog's author(s).