Pattern Mix Like a Pro – How to mix prints and patterns in your outfits

Sharing is caring!

Pattern mixing is one of those things that when it’s right, it’s so right, and when it’s wrong, you can tell. When done well your outfit looks whimsical and creative. 

So how do you look like chic stylish lady and not like a three year old who dressed herself? Follow these tips!

This post contains affiliate links. So if you make a purchase using my link, I’ll receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. 

Use “neutral” patterns

A lot of fashionistas out there consider leopard and cheetah prints to work like neutrals. It makes sense as they tend to go with most other colors and patterns. Wearing leopard shoes or a bag can be a really easy way to ease into pattern mixing. 

I tend to think of traditional green camo print like a neutral too. It’s very similar to wearing a khaki or olive green. Try styling it just as you would these solids. 

Size matters

Pattern and print mixing tends to work well when all of the patterns have a different scale. Think a very thin striped top with a bold floral or polka dot skirt. 

Again it lets one of the patterns (the smaller one) work as sort of a neutral whole still adding that extra interest. 

Have a common thread

I think when you’re new to pattern mixing, having a color that links the two prints is helpful. So like in the example above, if your thin striped shirt is red and white, wearing a floral skirt with some red in the flowers will help tie the whole look together. 

Stick to two

Especially when you’re new to pattern mixing, keep it to only two patterns. I’ve seen people do three and do it well, but that takes some serious styling skills. Two patterns will help you to ace your outfit. 

Leopard Scarf Breton Striped Top

Related: How to wear pastels during fall and winter

Some great pattern combos

Plaid + leopard

Alright I mentioned leopard can go with just about anything, but I think for the fall and winter it looks especially good with a red plaid flannel. 

Stripes and floral

A black and white striped top with a bold floral bottom is such a fun and playful combination!

Dots with more dots

Yes you can pattern mix the same pattern. A tiny polka dot paired with a bold one gives a cute retro look. 

What to wear


Adding a patterned bag, pair of shoes, or scarf along with another printed piece is an easy way to begin pattern mixing.


Adding a striped collared shirt under a patterned sweater gives a little pop to a preppy look.

Two pieces

Wear a patterned top with a patterned skirt or pair of pants. Keep your accessories solid. 

Don’t forget your outerwear 

If you have a fabulous leopard coat wear it over a stripe or plaid and let your outfit peak out. 

My outfit

Pattern Mixing Outfit

Top: Boden, Jeans: Old Navy, Scarf: Old Navy (old) similar, Shoes: Diba True (gifted)

This is a good pattern mixing outfit formula to ease in with. I’ve got my “neutral pattern” (leopard) in my accessory. My top is a stripe with some fun mixing within it with the navy and gold stripes. I’ve kept the rest of the outfit solid with jeans and gold oxfords. 


Start small, try out different combos, and soon you’ll be a pattern mixing pro!


Pattern Mixing

winter to spring transition outfit with a striped sweater and medium wash jeans

Welcome to Thoroughly Contemporary! Read all about the blog here!

Follow Me on!


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. 11.6.19

    I absolutely love this! I have an extensive, but rather boring fall wardrobe. I’m going to prioritize adding more patterns in the closet and then mixing them together in fun ways. Thanks!

    • 11.16.19
      Emily said:

      Thank you! I’m glad you found this helpful!

  2. 11.6.19

    Love this! Your outfit is adorable… and that tree behind you?! Also gorgeous.

    • 11.16.19
      Emily said:

      Thank you! I was really happy to find these trees!

  3. 11.6.19
    paige said:

    first – that lip color is STUNNING on you. this might be my favorite look you’ve posted so far! and these tips are super helpful, definitely going to try a mix soon 🙂 x

    • 11.16.19
      Emily said:

      Thank you! Can’t wait to see what you put together!