16 Ways to Wear Mixed Patterns | Pattern Mixing Masterclass

16 Ways to Mix Patterns - from subtle, to head-to-toe
As someone who loves pattern mixing, it was quite easy to come up with lots of examples for this ways to wear post. In my first year of blogging (2011) I was dubbed the “Queen of Clash” – I’m pretty fearless when it comes to mixed patterns and quite often I can mix up to three patterns and not even realise I’ve done it.

My best tip for mixing your patterns is to ensure that at least one colour is repeated in both. Even if that colour is black (or white), a common colour will ensure they don’t clash… how’s that for a contradiction in terms?! Seriously, though – I’ve looked at all the examples I’ve given here and they do follow that “rule” (let’s call it a guideline). Another tip is to mix the same type of pattern in different colour ways: for example, blue leopard with orange leopard, or blue/red floral with red/blue floral.

If head-to-toe pattern mixing frightens you, there are subtler ways to do it. A patterned scarf with a patterned top in similar colours or two black and white prints that aren’t actually on top of each other are good ways to ease yourself in.

Are you an avid pattern mixer? What are your go-to mixed patterns of choice, and are you on the subtle or extreme scale? Do share in the comments!

Subtle pattern mixing
This is your best bet if you’re afraid of pattern mixing or have never mixed them before. Either keep the patterns away from each other with a plain piece in-between, or choose one bold and one small pattern. Keep at least one consistent colour throughout and they won’t jar like you think they might.

Camouflage jacket, boyfriend jeans
Subtle pattern mix #1 – A contrast of feminine rose print with a masculine camo (original post)

White jeans & tan boots with plaid
Subtle pattern mix #2 – A very obvious check with a very subtle, thin stripe (original post)

Black & white polka dots with chinos
Subtle pattern mix #3 – Bold polka dots with a neck scarf in the same colour way (original post)

How to Style Lime Green | With Black & White & Denim
Subtle pattern mix #4 – Two black and white prints separated by a solid block of colour (original post)

Regular pattern mixing
If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, go for two pieces in bolder patterns, again with a similar colour palette or 1-2 colours repeated in both. Rather than doing it head-to-toe you can break it up with a solid colour jacket, trousers or top (depending on your other pieces). The patterns can be be as wildly different as you like, just keep a colour theme in mind and you can’t go wrong.

Autumnal style pattern mixing with patchwork denim
Regular pattern mix #1 – A top with medium-sized polka dots picking out the red in a bold geometric print jacket (original post)

Triple plaid pattern mixing: reds and greys #winter #style
Regular pattern mix #2 – Three checks, from bold to subtle, all including a deep red colour (original post)

Trench coat, leopard top & electric blue leopard skinnies
Regular pattern mix #3 – Two leopard prints in contrasting colours toned down with a neutral trench (original post)

Stripes & florals
Regular pattern mix #4 – The summer classic: florals and stripes, with blue in both (original post)

Extreme pattern mixing
This is where you can go a bit crazy with three (or four!) patterns, head-to-toe-everything patterned, or really, really bold combinations. This is definitely not for the faint-hearted, but you can get a coherent look by using a colour theme or a consistent pattern running throughout. If you buy pieces from a brand’s particular collection you often find that they’ll work beautifully together as they’ve been designed to at least look good next to each other on the store’s rails, if not worn together. Go forth, and multiply those patterns…!

RELATED  How I Like to Layer For Warmth AND For Style in Autumn/Winter

Summery pattern mixingExtreme pattern mix #1 – Taupe-based bird print and stripes with a graphic floral in navy and taupe (original post)

Spring style: White check coat with floral top and leggings
Extreme pattern mix #2 – Three pieces from the same brand: Two versions of the same floral plus a bold window pane check (original post)

Mixed patterns
Extreme pattern mix #3 – Two prints with blue backgrounds with similarly-sized (but different) patterns (original post)

Super Toxic Floral Explosion
Extreme pattern mix #4 – Head-to-toe double floral with the same blue and red in both (original post)

Here are my favourite ready-mixed patterned pieces out there right now… they save you all the work!

Catherine x
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P.S. Like this post? You might also enjoy 8 Ways to Wear (and Accessorise With) Yellow – just in time for summer!

Photos: Silver Londoner | Linking up to: Visible Monday, Let It Shine, Share in Style, Monday Mingle, Style Sessions, Turning Heads Tuesday, Trend Spin Link-Up, What I Wore Wednesday, Brilliant Blog Posts, Throwback Thursday, Passion for Fashion Friday, Friday’s Fab Favourites



  1. 12 April 2016 / 1:34 pm

    Wow, you are just looking fabulous. Every dress design just outstanding and have unique style. I want them in my closet. By the by great article too and hope you will also love my web page
    Blouse Neck Designs.

  2. 8 May 2015 / 10:49 am

    I personally prefer more subtle pattern mixes, for me too many patterns can get just a bit busy on the eye, like collages and distressed anything, I find they affect my mood in a negative way, they tend to make me aggressive, like Jazz music, sorry Jazz lovers. It was interesting to see all the different ways you can mix patterns though, and it wouldn't do if we were all alike, we wouldn't know one from t'other. Love the blog.

    • 10 May 2015 / 11:00 pm

      You're quite right, Sue – it's all about what makes YOU comfortable… I know I'd personally feel exactly the same wearing black head-to-toe (my worst nightmare, I'd feel so negative in that), yet so many women dress in all black! I just can't do it, I feel wrong. But as you say – thank goodness we're NOT all the same (how boring would that be)?! xoxo

  3. 7 May 2015 / 5:03 pm

    I now know… I am not a pattern mixing girl. I only do it as an exception (cream blouse with red anchors on a bold, horizontally striped black and white pencil skirt). Well, it is good to know yourself.

    • 10 May 2015 / 10:57 pm

      As I think I mentioned in the post Greetje – have the time I don't really I'm ding it… I just see it s colour and wonder if the colours go together. Quite often I think I haven't mixed patterns at all and then realise I'm actually wearing three (the regular mix #2 being one I remember). I just thought tartan goes with tartan, like people think black goes with black..!!!!

  4. 7 May 2015 / 4:11 pm

    I love patterns 🙂 Am mixing a fair bit myself. And I love most of your looks here. Favorites being the florals with the window pane jacket and the floral dres with stripes underneath.

    Have a nice weekend!

    Alex – Funky Jungle

    • 10 May 2015 / 10:55 pm

      Thank you Alex – good to hear you're a funky pattern mixer too…!!

  5. 7 May 2015 / 7:10 am

    You are the queen of pattern mixing – and such an inspiration! I do love a bit of pattern mixing myself and am probably more adventurous than most of the people around me, but that doesn't say much 🙂

    • 10 May 2015 / 10:54 pm

      Bless you Mette – thank you! You remind me of my sister – she gets really excited about mixing two very subtle patterns and shows me how proud she is of what she's mixed together. She always says "I know it's not as bold as you but I like it" – and that's the most important thing!!

  6. 7 May 2015 / 6:37 am

    LOVE the look in the big blue pants!!! Just love. I think I'll have a hard time pattern mixing because I seem to own so few things with patterns. Not really feeling comfortable to wear them I seem to steer clear of them.

    Angie from reasons to dress, fashion, travel and life as a mom in Italy.
    you've inspired me to get outta my comfort zone!

    • 10 May 2015 / 10:48 pm

      Ah well that would be a stumbling block, Angela (not having many prints). But it's good to hear you're inspired to get out of your comfort zone – thank you!

  7. 7 May 2015 / 1:35 am

    You do extreme pattern mixing so well! I do love pattern mixing and how it gives you extra mileage out of your clothes.


    Hope to see you Thursday for TBT Fashion link up.

    • 10 May 2015 / 10:47 pm

      You're right Alice – it really does!! Thnk you sweetie xx

  8. 6 May 2015 / 9:51 pm

    Love how you guide us through the ways to mix pattern from subtle to regular to 'full on, out there, all guns blazin'! I love patterns and prints but I've never felt I had enough of that effortless knack about combining them that you so clearly have. But this inspires me to dare to be more creative. And I still adore Extreme #2 – the checked Duster Coat and floral top & trousers. Fell in love with it when I saw the original post!

    • 10 May 2015 / 10:47 pm

      Aww thank you Vixen – I thought the range from subtle to extreme would offer something for everyone…!! You're very sweet xo

  9. 6 May 2015 / 7:27 pm

    I just love Extreme #1 and #3! I really want to try a version of #3! Not too long ago I was wearing a polka dot top, camo pants, and leopard print sandals…a friend commented that she didn't know why it worked, but it did! I told her that a big part of it was that I loved wearing it, when someone is uncomfortable in their clothes it shows through.


    • 10 May 2015 / 10:46 pm

      That extreme #3 is a couple of years old now, JJ – from the comments here it's been really popular! And I agree about being uncomfortable in your clothes and it showing. I know myself that if I'm not happy in my outfit I lack confidence, it really does affect you!! Thank you hun xx

  10. 6 May 2015 / 5:55 pm

    I love florals with stripes, and florals-with-florals. You look amazing, my friend. xox

    • 10 May 2015 / 10:43 pm

      Two great combinations, Patti!! Thank you my lovely x

  11. 6 May 2015 / 5:19 pm

    You most certainly have a knack for patterns.

    BTW…you're on my blog today : )


    • 10 May 2015 / 10:43 pm

      Suzanne thank you – I saw!! It took me a while to find the post, but that's so nice of you to include me xoxo

  12. 6 May 2015 / 3:32 pm

    Well, aren't you rocking all of these looks? I love them all Catherine, can't even say what my favourite is. But the outfit with the leopard print is totally amazing. Much love, Kirsten xx


    • 6 May 2015 / 5:12 pm

      Hehe thank you, Kirsten…!! I didn't even think about what my favourite is – I also think the double leopard print might be the main contender 😉

    • 6 May 2015 / 3:30 pm

      Thanks so much Julia – the trousers should be in my summer clothes storage which I'll be getting out very soon :))

  13. 6 May 2015 / 2:29 pm

    I'm no way brave enough for most of these, but I just have to say I LOVE the outfit with the yellow top. Gorgeous!

    • 6 May 2015 / 3:29 pm

      I remember that one was very popular at the time! Thanks Charlie xx

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