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How to Mix Prints Like an Inborn Fashionista

When it comes to fashion, right or wrong is relative. What is right in today’s age may be wrong tomorrow. But sadly, only a few people know this and that is why when the few who know how to mix prints do so effortlessly, the ignorant lot are quick to think they just made a fashion goof.

But is that so?

Of course not!

Mixing prints is one of the fashion rules that have long been broken. Yet it baffles me how people still live in the dark. 

You think I’m kidding?

Take a look at this screenshot below.

screenshot of mixed ankara fabrics

Someone read our guide on the easy ways to look stylish every day and freaked out when she saw that picture. 

Even when she could see with her eyes how beautiful it looked, she still deemed it horrible because to her, mixing prints is a no-no.

You can imagine how irrelevant ‘rules’ that play no role in morality restrict people from enjoying the good things in life.

In an era where fashionistas rock mismatched shoes, some people still see mixing prints as an abomination.


Well, if you’re open-minded enough to see the beauty in bending fashion rules so long as you do it well, this post is for you.

It’s a style guide on how to mix prints in your outfits.

Reading this will show you how to wear different prints at once without looking like someone with zero fashion sense.

Let’s get started.

Why Should You Mix Prints in the First Place?

lady wearing mixed related prints

I get it.

It’s safe to remain where you are, dress as you’ve always done and not try to look different.

But just as you feel great when you achieve another milestone in your life, you’ll feel great when you dress as you’ve never done especially if you look good in it.

Not everyone knows how to mix prints like a style pro. The few who do so are style influencers and true fashionistas. They garner the audience and command respect with their outfits.

Why don’t you want to be among them?

lady mixing related color prints

Or don’t you want what you wear to make you stand out from the crowd?

Don’t you like to get admiration and compliments?

Once you know how to mix prints, you’ll be able to do that effortlessly.

Don’t fret.

You’ll never flop if you follow this guide.

Types of Prints to Start With

There are many prints and patterns in the fashion world to boost your style. But for starters on mixing prints, choose from any of these and work with them:

1. African Prints

Ankara fabrics, kente, adire and other African textiles have very vibrant and colourful patterns that are perfect for mixing and matching.

2. Animal Prints

lady wearing animal print dress

Leopard skin, snake skin and zebra prints fall into this category. They are perfect for making fashion statements.

3. Plaid

lady wearing plaid shirt

Otherwise known as tartan, this print has horizontal and vertical stripes that come in a chequered manner.

4. Polka Dot

This type of print comes in uniform round dots, repeated to make a regular geometric pattern on the fabric. They are also in various sizes and colours.

5. Gingham

gingham school dress

This one was a popular print for school uniforms back in the day. It features a chequered pattern in white and one other colour.

6. Stripes

lady wearing a striped gown with wide brimmed hat

These prints come in narrow vertical lines. They are usually of two colours or more. Their key mode of identification is the vertical lines.

7. Floral

lady in a floral print dress

As the name implies this print comes as flowery designs. There is usually a base colour with different colours of flowers on it.

How to Mix Different Prints in Your Outfits

model combining different fabrics on the runway

Nobody is born with the knowledge of how to mix prints and patterns in clothes. We all learn, especially by doing it.

young white lady wearing mixed prints

But if you aren’t bold enough to do it just yet perhaps because you don’t know how to mix prints, let this guide you:

1. Start Small

lady wearing colorful scarf

You’ve probably heard this advice in relation to entrepreneurship. Let’s bring it to fashion. 

When it comes to mixing prints in your outfits, a general rule of thumb is to start small.

By start small, I don’t mean you should wear few prints (Well, that could be it). I mean you should start with those little add-ons that give more accents to your look.

For instance, if you’re putting on a striped shirt with plain trousers, you could grab on a multipatterned scarf around your neck or hair. This way you mix prints but start small.

Do this with your shoes, socks, bags and other accessories too.

2. Consider the Size of the Patterns

Asian lady mixing prints in her outfit

One way to mix prints in your outfits is to look at the size of the patterns. Do you have small and large patterns? Go ahead and mix them.

By mixing small and large patterns together, you give each of them room to shine. Furthermore, small patterns will give you a slimming effect while large patterns will make you look wider.

You can wear bottoms with large prints and tops with small patterns. This way, your lower body looks wider than your upper body. And that’s some sort of hourglass simulation.

Use this as a pro-tip whether the patterns are of the same colour, shape or not.

3. Do it the Traditional Way

lady wearing mixing print with plain

The traditional way is to wear a patterned top or bottom with a plain one. This is the safest tip on how to mix prints. But you’ve been playing it safe for a very long time.

Let’s throw caution to the wind for a second and explore other options.

4. Match Different Colours

lady mixing different prints

This is also one of the ways to mix prints and patterns when you dress up. Once you understand the colour wheel and you know how to mix and match colours in your outfits, this particular tip will come naturally.

For instance, you can mix a blue floral attire with an orange floral attire. Both colours complement each other on the colour wheel. 

If you don’t want to mix different colours, you can also wear the same colours but different prints to create a monochromatic look. Or better still, go for black and white since they are basic neutrals. 

But how long will you wear black and white all the time?

Moreover, you can as well match different shades of a particular colour regardless of the different prints they carry. Let’s say deep yellow polka dots and bright yellow animal skin. That’ll make some analogous matching.

5. Mix Loud and Subtle Prints

lady wearing loud prints with subtle patterns

Some patterns aren’t as bold as others can be. You can take advantage of this and mix them together so long as the colours don’t clash.

6. Go for Prints that Share Similar Colours

American lady mixing similar color prints

In addition, you can as well match different prints that share one or two colours. This is also a safe trick to mix patterns. 

7. Maintain the Pattern, Invert the Colour

lady mixing same patterns but different colors

Another tip on how to mix prints is to maintain the pattern while swapping the colours. That is, the prints you’re mixing should have similar patterns while you switch up the colours. It doesn’t matter if the patterns are of the same size or not.

For instance, you could wear a white skirt with black stripes and pair with a black shirt with white stripes.

You can use this tip when you know how to style polka dots. Just wear two polka dot outfits with the same or different dot size and invert the colours.

8. Add Something Neutral

European lady mixing print inn her outfit

You’ve mixed the prints and you’ve done it well. But that’s not all. Add something neutral to your look; something plain that doesn’t have all the attention your prints have.

It will help to add balance to your look.

For example, you can wear a pair of mild-coloured shoes or sunglasses. You can as well wear a blazer or tie a plain coloured scarf around your neck. It’ll help to add a dose of neutrality and balance to the busy prints you have on.

model wearing multi print outfit

And it’s a wrap.

You now know how to mix prints and wear more patterns like a style pro. You can also do this with your African textiles too. If you need a guide for that, check out our guide on mixing different Ankara prints.

It’ll get you started on rocking two different Ankara fabrics at a time.

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Victoria B. Willie

Writing has always been a part of me. From writing stories as a young child to studying Communication Arts in the university, it has always been more than a medium of expression to me.

And then one day, I found myself toeing the path of an entrepreneur and becoming a fashion enthusiast. This made me develop an interest in content marketing and copywriting which I've been chasing alongside my fashion career.

That aside, when I'm not sharing style articles, selling with stories, or creating fashion-forward pieces for Ria Kosher, you'll find me telling wild stories that always come with a twist.

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