As Ellen mentioned in this post, I have always subscribed to a more is more (is more) attitude when it comes to prints. Houndstooth and chevron, mixed plaids, stripes of various sizes and colors, graphic prints and florals, and animal print and, well, anything!
There are lots of ways to mix and match and make sure you don’t look like your battle-axe grandmother who got dressed in the dark. One way is to pick prints that complement each other – either in scale or color; but you can also go opposite ends of the color wheel as well, for a real statement look.
In this outfit, I decided to go for prints in different families, unified by color, and leverage the small print in my J Crew Mercantile sweater (sold out – see similar) with the large graphic print from my summer 2018 Who What Wear for Target skirt, and my fabulous vintage Lanvin leopard pony-hair booties I scored a few years ago at Moss. The fact that the three prints just so happen to fit into the animal print category is, in my opinion, pure luxe luck!
Tips to Mixing Prints
Don’t Fight Nature – Animal prints naturally complement each other. It’s as though Mother Nature herself wanted you to mix animal prints! And while a lot people find this combo the most intimidating of the bunch, they really are the safest place to start. Just begin by playing around in your closet with all the animal prints you can find until you the combo that works for you.
Play with Scale – If you use a busy print such as leopard, use a second pattern with a larger scale and a third pattern with a medium scale.
Be Color-Wise – Colors should have the same intensity, whether they’re bold, muted or pale. Using prints with similar background colors will help create unity. Remember, match color, not prints.
Creative Pattern Play – Mix cheetah with checks, polka dots, florals and stripes. Pair more exotic prints, such as plaid or ikat with leopard or zebra. One of my favorite combinations to giraffe and paisley.
Start on Solid Ground – If print-on-print-on-print is just too much for you, that’s fine! Layer in some solid-colored clothing and accessories to calm things down and ground your look. But don’t overlook our previous post “Is Leopard the New Black” for our take on how animal prints ARE a neutral.
Spread the (Print) Love – It’s not that you can’t wear a printed jacket over a printed blouse – because you absolutely can. However, if you feel like your outfit is getting a little busy, try distributing your prints more evenly by doing one on the top and one on the bottom.
Though I love Coco Chanel, her one piece of advice to which I cannot adhere is this: “Before you walk out the door each day, look in the mirror and take one thing off…” While she was referring to accessories (and that’s a whole other post), this maximalist maintains that more is indeed more. I have oodles more mix/match looks I’ve loved over the years and will share more later, so stay tuned! Until then, this is a good inspiration start, I hope, for you to make the most of your many motifs and turn “mismatched” into magic!
In the meantime, here are a few outfits to get you inspired:
More accessible inspiration from Anine Bing. Love this!.
And another more accessible inspiration from Allyson in Wonderland. Extra points for the short suit!
Photography by http://Breezyritter.com