Spring 2012 Fashion Trend: Mixing Patterns The Right Way

You can mix a lot of things, but mixing patterns is a bit of a mindfreak. Since the concept of mixing patterns debuted on the runway a couple of springs ago, this trend continues to mystify women.

Appropriately mixing patterns without seeming like a member of a traveling three-ring circus is no easy feat, but rest assured that jumping through the fiery-pattern hoop is easier than it looks, and a lot more fun. Mixing patterns gives new life to the pieces you already own, and especially those ones that seem to sit in the back of the closet because they’ve lost their magic.

Experimentation is key, but be sure to follow a few guidelines before you walk the tightrope.

1. Start small
Most women can find a favourite printed blouse in the closet. Use this piece and test it out with another pattern. This is a great way to ease yourself into the pattern mixing game. Floral blouse? Try adding a bold striped scarf for an instant update.

2. Patterns can be solids too
With smaller patterns, think a small-polka-dotted skirt, or a subtly striped pant, you can go with a much bolder pattern on the top.

3. Avoid matching
Well, we are talking about mixing patterns, aren’t we? Don’t go all houndstooth, or all the same width of stripe. Florals often look cute paired with stripes or polka dots – think a classic striped collegiate-style blazer with a floral dress underneath.

4. Think about your density
Mixing patterns is a bold step. Remember to think about how dense your patterns are. For instance, a big, bold stripe won’t work with an equally bold leopard print. On the other hand, picking one place to draw the eye when mixing patterns will give great results. Big plaid, small dots. Big stripes, small leopard. Breaking up the outfit with a neutral can help achieve a more polished look. Black tights under your skirt, or a solid blouse under a printed blazer can give leeway to be more creative with your patterns.

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Tags: patterns, spring fashion, Style How-to

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