Style Tips

You Can Mix Patterns with Confidence

I don’t know about you, but this topic scares me.  Rarely do I have the courage to mix patterns when I select my outfits.  Steph, on the other hand, does it with pizzaz.  I see her in combinations that I would never put together.   She wore a pair of leopard print pants combined with a multicolored striped sweater and…she looked great! 

So, I decided to find some mix and match rules for any neophyte out there.  Here is a summary of some sensible tips for mixing patterns that we all can implement today.  Just think, you have expanded the scope of new outfits using existing apparel.  No need to buy anything!  You can save that money for your dream vacation. 

Mix and Match Rules

  1. Don’t be afraid to try it. Eliminate the fear and embrace your inner fierceness.  Begin on a small scale to build your confidence.  Start with an accessory such as a scarf, belt, or purse.
  2. Stripes and leopard prints are neutral prints. You should consider them neutrals in your wardrobe just like black, beige, and grey.  Black and white stripes are a simple print that complements just about any pattern.  Treat them like neutrals in combination with just about any print.  An easy rule to begin your print-on-print journey.
  3. Select two different prints with a single color in common. Matching with at least one color will bring your look together.
  4. Select the same pattern and invert the colors. For example, pair black polka dots on white background with white polka dots on a black background.
  5. Vary the size of the same pattern. Wear your wide striped pants with a narrow-striped top for contrast.  Color matching is not essential when playing with scale.
  6. If you are overwhelmed with your print-on-print outfit, you can always break up the style by adding solid colors in clothing or accessories.
  7. Combine neighboring colors on the color wheel. If you have a predominant blue in your fabric, select yellow or red for another print or accessory.

Ageless Style wanted to show you how we matched patterns using a blue bohemian skirt.  Our floral skirt features a cobalt blue background with shades of light blue, yellow, black, and white incorporated in the bottom border and within the floral pattern.  I found this skirt at Nordstrom’s Rack.  Being an older hippie, I reminisced about the Age of Aquarius as I gazed upon its pattern.  I had no idea of how we would mix patterns using this skirt.  But I knew that Steph would be able to style it perfectly for me.

Here’s the result of our collaboration. 


I opted for one of the neutrals discussed earlier – stripes.  For colors, I selected black and white as they were abundant in my skirt pattern.  Much to my surprise, the black and white striped top was a perfect pairing for the complex floral print.  To complete my outfit, I wore my black and white striped wedge sandals.  The sandals provided just the perfect balance for the pattern mixing.  I really liked the overall effect.


Steph executed a bolder move in mixing the patterns.  She selected a polka dot top to work with the floral print.  She matched two colors present in the skirt – black and white.  I really like the top and skirt paired together.  It was fresh and youthful.  Steph kept her shoes black and completed her look with her black purse. 

And there it is…pattern mixing 101.  If I can do it, so can you.  It is just a matter of looking at your wardrobe in a totally different mindset.   Just think of all the fun when you combine items in your closet in a different way.

I found a great picture gallery to give you even more mix and match ideas from


Skirt by Bobeau.  Available at Nordstrom’s Rack.

Sandals by kate spade new york.  Available at Macy’s.

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Till next time,


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