Mixing Patterns - black skirt and top

Mixing Patterns – How Do I Do It?

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Patterns are my new favorite thing and mixing them is something I’m jumping into slowly, but I’m definitely enjoying it. I was initially influenced by Blair Eadie of Atlantic-Pacific fame. She can rock clashing colors and patterns like no one I’d ever seen before. It inspired me to give it a try myself!

Mixing Patterns - stripes and leopard print

I got a lot of compliments on this outfit so it pushed me to try more. I started thinking about all the combo’s I could try and decided to share them with you. So let’s take a look, shall we?

Mixing Patterns - black skirt and top

A good striped skirt and leopard print sweater are a great way to mix patterns. The one thing that ties them together is that they both have black in them. I think that’s one of the key lessons of mixing prints for a beginner – try to find a universal color that encompasses both items of clothing.

1. Amazon – Soulomelody – Womens Crewneck Sweaters Cute Polka Dot Puff Long Sleeve Ribbed Cuff | 2. Nordstrom – Volcom – Fad Friend Plaid Crop Pants | 3. Macy’s – Becca Tilley x Bar Iii – Zebra-Print Volume Sleeve Sweater | 4. Express – High Waisted Pinstripe Clean Pencil Skirt | 5. MANGO – Polka-dot blouse | 6. MANGO – Polka dots midi skirt | 7. Vici Collection – Roscoe Fuzzy Knit Chevron Sweater – Fuchsia | 8. Zara – Snakeskin Print Mini Skirt | 9. Nordstrom – Steve Madden – Gills Platform Genuine Calf Hair Slip-On Sneaker | 10. Macy’s – Betsey Johnson – Prince d’Orsay Evening Pumps | 11. Madewell – Cashmere Sweatshirt in Vernon Stripe | 12. Modcloth – Compania Fantastica – A Little Heart to Heart Corduroy Skirt | 13. Nordstrom – ASTR the Label – Vernon Coat | 14. River Island – The Black Sienna Dress

Mixing Patterns - polka dot and checks

Number 1 & 2

These patterns go together because the top is a neutral. I love how the feminine polka dot sweater contrasts with the menswear inspired checkered pants. These are also cropped pants, so I would pair them with some heels or really cool sneakers.

Number 3 & 4

This outfit works because we have stripes in both the top and bottom. The zebra stripes on the top add more visual interest compared to the thin pinstripe of the skirt. It’s an unexpected color combo, but because the black is in there, I think it works.

Number 5 & 6

Like the stripes above, this outfit works because both the shirt and skirt are mainly black with gold polka dots. Since the size of the polka dots are different, it’s a good way to dip your toe into the world of mixing patterns without feeling like you’re going over the top.

Number 7 & 8

For those that are ready to plunge head first into the trend, this outfit is for you. I love the bright fuchsia of the sweater along with the zig zag stripe. This ‘goes together’ because they both have some white in the patterns. It’s also so unexpected to pair a snakeskin with a different texture like this sweater. For shoes, I would pair this outfit with a chunky black boot.

Number 9 & 10

This is for the person who isn’t sure about this trend at all and wants to take baby steps into it. There’s no shame in going slow! Who knows, you might end up giving Blair Eadie a run for her money, or you might hate it – only one way to find out. And that’s what these shoes are here for – the first one, the slip on sneaker is a perfect way to get into the trend. You can wear this pattern with jeans or black pants. The heels would also look great with jeans, black pants, or even skirts. That would be a great surprise especially if you work at a more conservative office.

Number 11 & 12

The black and rust are what makes this combo work. The unexpected casual vibe of the sweatshirt combined with the cutesy heart skirt make this a really fun outfit. This one is truly something I think Blair would wear. I would pair this with black booties.

Number 13 & 14

This is another way to ease into this mixing patterns trend… by taking a pattern coat and putting a dress that has a print on it underneath. This way, if you don’t want anyone to see that you are mixing prints, they won’t really notice it. After all, everyone knows the jacket is just a jacket and what’s underneath doesn’t count because you don’t wear your coat all day. Well, at least I hope you don’t!

This whole mixing of patterns idea is almost polar opposite of the last post I did about Victorian dressing, but that’s why I like fashion. One day you can be all goth and the next day you can be all feminine or you can even figure out a way to be an overly feminine goth. It’s all up to you and how you’re feeling that day. At least that’s my philosophy! What do you all think? Let me know what your philosophy is.


  • I really liked the striped skirt and leopard print sweater the best but you don’t say where those two pieces can be found.

    • Oh, the leopard print sweater is from Loft and the striped skirt is from Athleta a few years ago. Unfortunately, the Athleta skirt is no longer in stock, but the sweater is!

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