The Ultimate Guide to Mixing Prints in Your Work Wardrobe Without Clashing

When it comes to fashion, wearing prints and patterns can present a real conundrum. There’s a thin line between being fashion-forward and color-clashing. Yet, mixing prints in your outfit can create a distinctive style statement that will make you stand out from the crowd. This article will guide you on how to successfully combine patterns and colors without looking overwhelming. Whether you’re planning to mix stripes with polka dots or you’re considering a black and white image print, this guide will help you master the art of pattern mixing.

Understand Your Color Wheel

Before starting on the journey of mix and match, it’s important to understand the color wheel. It’s the basis of all color combination. The color wheel is a circular diagram that shows how colors are related to each other. It will help you to understand which colors complement each other and which ones clash.

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Every color on the wheel has a complementary color, which is the color directly opposite it on the wheel. For example, the complementary color of blue is orange. When you’re starting to experiment with print mixing, a safe bet is to combine prints that share at least one color in common. This shared color will create a sense of harmony between the prints.

Remember to balance out your colors. If you’re using bold, vibrant colors, neutralize them with more subdued, neutral colors like black, white, or grey. This will prevent your outfit from looking too chaotic.

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Choose Your Prints Wisely

Now that we’ve got the color basics covered, let’s dive into prints. Not all prints are created equal and some are easier to mix than others.

Stripes are the most versatile print and work well with any other print. They serve as a neutral base for your outfit. Consider a black and white striped top with a floral printed bottom. The black and white stripes will balance out the colorful floral print, creating a cohesive look.

Polka dots are another easy print to mix. They’re fun, playful, and give off a vintage vibe. Pair a polka dot dress with a striped blazer for a chic, office-ready look.

Image prints can be a bit tricky to mix as they can easily clash with other prints and colors. However, with careful consideration, they can add an artistic touch to your outfit. A black and white image print top can be nicely paired with a vibrant color printed bottom.

Stick to a Theme

Choosing a theme can simplify the process of mixing prints. The theme could be anything from a color palette to a pattern type. For instance, if you choose a monochromatic theme, you can mix different prints in the same color family. Alternatively, if you decide on a stripes theme, you can play around with different sizes and orientations of stripes.

When you stick to a theme, even the most complex print combinations will look coordinated. However, take caution not to go overboard with your theme. The goal is to create a cohesive look, not to look like a walking pattern book.

Play with Scale

The scale or size of prints plays a crucial role in determining whether your outfit will clash or harmonize. A good rule of thumb is to mix prints of different scales.

If you’re wearing a top with a large, bold print, pair it with a bottom with a smaller, more delicate print. This creates a visual contrast and keeps your outfit from looking too busy. For example, a large floral print dress can be paired with a small polka dot blazer. The small print on the blazer will balance out the large print on the dress, creating a harmonious look.

Use Solids and Accessories to Your Advantage

Lastly, remember that you don’t always have to mix prints with prints. You can create a balanced look by pairing a printed item with a solid one. For instance, a floral print skirt can be paired with a solid color top. This allows the print to take center stage and prevents your outfit from looking too busy.

Accessories can also be a great way to introduce prints into your wardrobe. For example, a print scarf or a pair of print shoes can add a pop of pattern to an otherwise solid outfit. Accessories can also serve as a buffer between two clashing prints. So, if you’re unsure about mixing two prints together, try adding a solid accessory in between.

Remember, when it comes to mixing prints and colors, there are no hard and fast rules. The most important thing is that you feel confident and comfortable in your outfit. So, go ahead and start experimenting with your wardrobe!

Tailor to Your Body Type

Getting to know your body type can be a turning point in your print mixing journey. Whether you have an hourglass, pear, apple, or rectangle body shape, understanding your body type can help you determine which prints and patterns flatter you the most.

If you have an hourglass shape, balance is key. Try to keep the prints and patterns on the top and bottom of your outfit fairly equal in scale and color intensity.

Pear-shaped bodies look fabulous when they mix prints in a way that draws attention to the upper half. For example, a bold, vibrant print top paired with a delicate, neutral print bottom can balance out your proportions.

Apple-shaped bodies can benefit from large prints and patterns which can give an illusion of length. Try pairing a large print top with a smaller print bottom, or vice versa.

Rectangle body shapes have the advantage of being able to wear prints and patterns of any size. However, try to avoid pairing two large prints together, as it can overpower your figure.

In any case, always remember, your body is unique and rules are there to be broken. So, feel free to experiment with different combinations and see what works best for you.

The Featured Collection Approach

An alternative approach to mixing prints in your wardrobe is the featured collection approach. A featured collection is a group of garments that are designed to be mixed and matched easily.

These collections often use a consistent color palette and include a variety of prints and patterns that are specifically designed to work well together. This can be a great way to start experimenting with print mixing without having to worry about clashing prints or colors.

The featured collection approach can also be a good way to streamline your wardrobe. By investing in a few key pieces that can be mixed and matched, you can create a variety of outfits without needing to buy a lot of clothes.

Remember, the goal of the featured collection approach is not to match exactly, but to create a harmonious look. So, don’t be afraid to mix prints and patterns that you wouldn’t normally put together. You might be surprised by the results!


Mixing prints and patterns in your work wardrobe can be a bit daunting at first, but with a little practice, it can become second nature. Start by understanding your color wheel, choose your prints wisely, stick to a theme, play with scale, use solids and accessories to your advantage, tailor your outfit to your body type, and consider using a featured collection approach.

Remember, pattern mixing is all about creating a visual interest and expressing your personal style. So, don’t get too caught up in the rules. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable and confident in your outfit. Happy mixing and matching!