How to Combine Patterns & Prints Like a Pro

Style Tips


If you caught my last post, you’ll know that it was all about colour. (If you didn’t, you can check it out HERE.) Today, because so many women struggle with it, is all about combing patterns and prints. So if you’ve ever wanted to know how to do it, or have been too afraid to try, fear no more. Here are a few options, tips and considerations for how to combine patterns and prints like a pro.

(If you’ve completed my eCourse The 6 Week Style Transformation, you’ll recognize all of this from Module 4. Just think of it as a little refresh.)

 

PATTERNS VS PRINTS

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s just start with the basics.

Patterns
A pattern is typically a repeating geometric design (like plaid, stripes or even polka dots).

Prints
A print is less organized (like florals, paisley or something completely abstract).

 

OPTIONS

Option 1 
The simplest way to introduce a pattern or print into your clothing, is to choose one piece (either a top or bottom) with a pattern or print and pair it with a solid colour. If you’re not sure which solid colour to choose, pull one from the pattern or print.

Here we have an example of a pattern with a solid. Pretty simple really – all you need to do is pull a colour from the patterned sweater for the solid colour pant. I’ve shown the option of a bright red pant or a more subtle navy.


 

Option 2
The second option is to pair two different patterns or two different prints together.

Below are two sets of patterns paired together. One set on the left and one set on the right. The example on the left shows a striped sweater with a polka dot skirt – both in similar colourways. Stripes with dots are always a pretty safe way to combine patterns.

The combination on the right is a little more daring in that the patterned sweater pulls some colours from the geometrically patterned skirt, but they aren’t an exact match. And the tiger pattern itself is a little bolder.

Notice on both examples that one pattern is larger than its accompanying piece. Always nice to play with scale when combining patterns and/or prints.

In the example below, we have two sets of prints paired together. Once again, colourways are similar and scale of prints varies from top to bottom. In both examples, the pants have larger prints than the tops – which is often easier to pull off.


 

Option 3
The third option is to pair a pattern with a print.

Below are two sets of patterns combined with prints. Similar colourways and varying scales with each set. Keeping the colourways consistent isn’t necessary, however it’s easier to pull off when you’re not sure how to combine different colours. (Although after my last post, you should have a pretty good idea.) And while varying the size of prints or patterns also isn’t necessary, it’s easier on the eye and keeps the outfit from becoming too busy.


 

TIPS

Tip 1: Look for a common element (such as style, colour or detail)

Tip 2: Choose patterns or prints that contrast but complement each other (florals with stripes, stripes with dots)

Tip 3: Choose patterns or prints of a different size (large vs small)

 

CONSIDERATIONS

Finally, here are a few things to consider:

1. Generally speaking, it’s suggested that petite women should wear smaller patterns and prints (smaller than your fist) and taller women can get away with wearing larger ones. Overly large patterns and prints on a small frame can make you look smaller and small patterns and prints on a larger frame can look insignificant. Now this is a general rule of thumb, and as we know, rules are meant to be broken, so the choice, of course, is always yours.

2. If you’re wearing patterns that have a visible vertical or horizontal direction or if you’re wearing stripes, remember to keep your proportions in mind. If you have wide hips or a very full bust, and want to detract from them, opt for vertical stripes or patterns to elongate. If you have a boyish figure or narrow frame, and want to create some visual width, opt for horizontal stripes or patterns. It all just depends on your goals and what effect you’re trying to create.

3. Consider the colours of your patterns and prints and their effect on your overall appearance and the statement you want to make. Tone on tone patterns and prints are less obvious, while multicoloured ones are typically more attention grabbing and will make you stand out. Decide on which you’d prefer before picking your base.

4. If you’re wearing a pattern, print or a combination, let it be the star of the show. Make sure that nothing else you wear competes with it.

 

That, my friend, is how to combine patterns and prints like a pro.

And if you haven’t already taken part in my eCourse The 6 Week Style Transformation, it’s not to late to get started. This learn from home program is chock full of useful tips, information and how-to’s that’ll help you transform your style in no time. Click HERE for more info.