Mixing patterns – where to begin

While going through comments on 8 simple rules for mixing patterns, it was suggested I give some tips on types of patterns to purchase if you want to start pattern mixing. Most of you probably own these patterns, or very similar patterns already, which will make this exercise really easy for you. For those of you that own very few patterns, I’ve outlined my top five patterns for getting into mixing near the bottom of this post.

Start with some very simple patterns in basic colors. Beginning with black, white, navy or tan is the easiest way to ease yourself in. Once you’re comfortable, you can add in other colors:
IMG_2479 IMG_2478
IMG_2489 IMG_2470

These are all uniform colors, sizes and densities. Once you’re comfortable with patterns like these, you can begin to mix in others that are more abstract, varied and unique.

Here are some others to consider:
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IMG_2466 IMG_2469 IMG_2467 IMG_2465 IMG_2464 IMG_2463

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Suze, this is just a huge mess of patterns! What do I do with them?” Here is a depiction of the ways you could (conceivably) wear them:
patterns mixed

See? Many, many ways to mix everything together.

But, if you’re starting from scratch, don’t own many patterns (I’m looking at you Cher) or are really, really confused, these are my top five patterns to start with:
polka dots, stripes, floral, houndstooth or herringbone, leopard print.

These five are very common, come in neutral colors and bright colors, and are very easy to wear together and mix with other patterns. Make sure when purchasing patterns that you choose those that match your personal style and are in colors you’d wear. Don’t purchase patterns with the hopes that you’ll eventually wear them. Start small, start simple and buy those that you’ll wear. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your money!

I really hope this extra bit of information has been helpful. If you’d like me to go into more detail, just let me know in the comments or feel free to email me for extra assistance.



18 thoughts on “Mixing patterns – where to begin

    • Staying the same color palette is a great way to get to know what patterns work well together! If you’re comfortable, try branching out. You might like mixing it up!

  1. i LOVE the diagram with the arrows on it – thanks so much for this. it’s gonna help a lot of us who are doing the winter 30 for 30. good to have you back!

  2. Myyyy kinda girl!! You know this is how we roll, lol….SOO in love with each and every pattern you chose…..!!!

    Super great advice for pattern mixing newbies…I think the biggest thing for most people is they were “taught” to dress matchy matchy…..pattern mixing is out of the box. Take a chance I say….chances are, the patterns you think WONT work together…usually look awesome!!!!

    Love this post!!!

  3. Suze–I’m planning to do pattern mixing in May or June. I don’t actually have many patterns so I’m going to have to do some more thrifting. I have stripes and a few polka dots. I need advice on floral patterns–big/little. Could you do a future post that focuses on florals?

  4. This is totally something I needed to see. Photos and real patterns are a huge help. The most I seem to be able to handle is one pattern and solids. Maybe 2 if one of the patterns are tights. Thank you for this post.

    We were both named on Collette’s Friend Friday Post! If Collette trusts you enough to give you her Stamp of Approval, then I do to.

    • Thanks! I have a few more posts coming up about mixing patterns, but looking at very specific patterns (florals, plaids, etc), so hopefully those will be helpful as well!

  5. Pingback: Friend Friday: Who’s Ready for Some Color?? « FIERCE

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