How To Mix Clashing Prints

Shian Knuth wearing clashing patterns including a floral skirt, polka dot button down from UniqLo, white Rebecca Minkoff Mini 5-Zip Cross Body, gold bangle, with a braided crown hairstyle, sunglasses, and red Sephora lipstick.
Shian Knuth wearing clashing patterns including a floral skirt, polka dot button down from UniqLo, white Rebecca Minkoff Mini 5-Zip Cross Body, gold bangle, with a braided crown hairstyle, sunglasses, and red Sephora lipstick.
Shian Knuth wearing clashing patterns including a floral skirt, polka dot button down from UniqLo, white Rebecca Minkoff Mini 5-Zip Cross Body, gold bangle, with a braided crown hairstyle, sunglasses, and red Sephora lipstick. Β  Shian Knuth wearing clashing patterns including polka dot button down from UniqLo, a floral skirt, white Rebecca Minkoff Mini 5-Zip Cross Body, gold vintage bangle, with a braided crown hairstyle.
Shian Knuth wearing clashing patterns including a floral skirt, polka dot button down from UniqLo, white Rebecca Minkoff Mini 5-Zip Cross Body, gold vintage bangle, with a braided crown hairstyle, sunglasses, and red Sephora lipstick.
| Top- Uniqlo | Skirt- Francesca’s (Sold Out, Similar) | Necklace- Gorjana Gisele Long Necklace c/o Rocksbox (use code FashionInvestigatorXoxo for first month free!) | Bag- Rebecca Minkoff Mini 5-Zip Crossbody |

I used to get mad jealous when I walked down the street and saw someone wearing a random mix of clashing prints, yet somehow managed to pull it off without looking like a walking example of What Not to Wear. This style of “pattern mixing” has been quite popular for a few years now, and while I think it’s a bit on the decline, I still think it’s a really fun way to mix up my wardrobe (you guys know I’m always trying to maximize my closet). Also, it’s impressive when you do it right and people will be staring. They might be judging, but such is life. Throw that “Sorry you didn’t think to pair stripes and polka dots like creative me” shade at them always. And don’t EVER be afraid to wear something that isn’t 100% trendy right at the moment. You have to create your own sense of style, and being uniquely you is the number one step. (I will be creating a very comprehensive guide for doing this soon, get pumped.)

Tips for creating a cohesive look using clashing prints:

  • Keep your jewelry very simple. You’re already going to have a lot going on so you don’t want to look like a clown. Try to keep your jewelry all one metal.
  • As a lover of gold- I say, wear it on your feet or accessories. You can wear gold with literally anything, and it’s a great way to keep an overstated look balanced when it comes to shoes. Wearing black or white is also an option.
  • Don’t mix more than 3 prints.
  • Always feel comfortable mixing florals with stripes. It’s one of my favorite combinations.
  • Leopard is your friend, and actually IS a neutral. Try pairing a leather belt with a gingham skirt and a basic tee-shirt. It’s a really nice look.
  • If you’re a pattern mixing novice, try pairing a striped dress (or polka dots, or any print) with a clashing print scarf, but that incorporates the color of the dress.
  • Want a more professional look? Pair a striped or checkered blazer with a white graphic print tee or fun print silk top and pair with a pencil skirt. Or denim shorts if you’re feeling crazy. If you’re feeling extra crazy throw on a leopard scarf.
  • Be careful of what types of materials you are mixing and try to keep them different. Silk skirt and cotton top? Great choice. Silk floral skirt, silk striped blazer, and silk ruffled top? It could work, but consult with an iPhone snap first.

Check out these lovely ladies who have stylishly blended clashing patterns to create a polished look with finesse, ease, and a dash of imagination.

@PolishedWhimsy (She has great work appropriate/colorful styles)
@ashleynstyle / (She wears lots of casual styles with swell prints)

Linkups this post is linked to: | High Latitude Style | A Labour of Life | Happiness at Midlife | The Red Closet Diary | Living in Color | Mix Match Fashion | Sincerely Jenna Marie | Doused in PinkΒ | Katherine’s Corner |

Shian- The Fashion Investigator


    • Thanks a mill Nicole! I really think if someone incorporates the list of ideas I included they never have to worry about the clash!

    • Thank you! I try to get creative πŸ™‚ This is actually a skirt btw, but I certainly appreciate the compliment. And think they would make a solid pair of shorts as well πŸ˜‰

    • Thank you Audrey, it’s one of my favorites. I bought it several sizes too large because they didn’t have it in my size but I make it work by tucking it into things and roping it up with a belt.

  1. YES! You made the mixed prints work so well together. And the background ties it all in πŸ™‚ PS your braided hair looks adorable too!

    • Thank you Sophia! I saw this neat little background (I think it’s a library?) and I knew it could make for some cool shots. And I’m working on my braid skills! A friend did this, I’m certainly not this talented yet, but I would love to be able to do it on my own.

  2. Love the outfit! And that adorable braid fits perfectly with the look. Another good read from the Fashion Investigator. Time to mix some prints

    • Yeah, some folks aren’t always fans of pattern mixing, but I love the looks it can create. And my friend actually created this braid for me. I’m actively trying to improve my skills but I struggle to say the least. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    • Thank you Alyssa! I’m trying to maximize my skirt and shorts life for as long as this short NYC winter will allow

    • Thank you Tianna, glad to be of service. My goal is always to help myself and others grow with my little slice of the web so I’m happy it’s working. Hope you have a lovely weekend!

    • Thank you Megan! I wanted something really fun/unique for this post so I was quite happy when I decided on these pieces.

    • I completely agree. To be perfectly honest I didn’t even realize I was doing it in this post, I just thought it went well together. After writing out my tips and your comment I realize I stuck to them fairly well, haha.

    • Thank you very much! I’m glad it could be of some use to you. When I wrote it I though it was genuinely helpful and I pulled a lot of inspiration from pattern mixing on Instagram. Hopefully it can inspire all my readers as well πŸ™‚

  3. Excellent tips, Shian! I’m loving that polka dot shirt and your perfect braid.

    Alice from Happiness at Midlife is another blogger whom I consider an expert a print mixing. I have to add you to my expert print-mixer list!

    Liz @ Downtown Demure

    • Thank you Liz! I actually had a friend help me with the braid. Like I said before, I’m actively working on my braiding skills. It’s a fantastic way to let highlighted hair have a rest from heat. Also, I’m completely flattered that your refer to me as an expert print mixer. That may be the ultimate compliment! Hope the end of your week is treating you well!

  4. You pulled it off girl! I love these two different prints together. Pretty! πŸ™‚

    Looking forward to see more of your posts. Do you have an instagram account? Maybe we could follow each other. Let me know by leaving a comment on my blog or sending me a request. I’ll follow back πŸ™‚ Thanks!

    IG: @shairangelique

    I’m now following you on Twitter and Pinterest. Hope you’ll do the same πŸ™‚
    Have a nice day! πŸ™‚


    • Thank you so much Shaira!

      I do have an Instagram account, my handle is Fashion_Investigator. I will check out your accounts as well!

      I hope you also have a fantastic day!

  5. Wow~ I adore this ensemble Shian! You’ve got great legs for this mini skirt I must say, and I love that you tie a knot in a shirt.
    The whole look is very up lifting and youthful, you look divine with your braided hair do!

    Vivienne X

    • Thank you Vivienne! I think tying an oxford into a knot creates a far more casual weekend look while maintaining the polished/classy style they typically provide. And I’m an oxford enthusiast so I have a million and need different ways to wear them πŸ˜‰

      The legs were a gift from my mother, haha. I had no part in that one!

      You are a bundle of insightful compliments and they are massively appreciated. I hope your weekend treats you well!

    • Thank you Lynne! That’s a HUGE compliment. I was pretty proud of this set of photos/tips myself. I think all around it might be my best post to date πŸ™‚

    • I think it’s a solid standard. Any more and it starts to just look silly, in my opinion. And thank you!

    • Thank you Lauren! I thought it was a neat little area in NoHo so I stopped to take photos (and there were few people around which always makes it much easier for taking shots without a random human in the background ) And yes that little tip is SO important. I’ve never been a leopard lover (say that 5 times fast) but I’m slowly starting to work it into my wardrobe as I come to appreciate it more and more. A personal stylist in DC for all the execs really changed my mind on that when she was giving a seminar… Hope your weekend is a blast!

  6. Great tips, I also envy people that can pull off pattern mixing, I really have a hard time mix and matching, your outfit looks great! love how the color harmonizes well <3
    Aimee Bustillo recently posted…Semi Formal AttireMy Profile

  7. so much love you the bag!! you nailed the whole outfit!!

  8. I absoliutely love this outfit and how you mixed the two prints so effortlessly! I am obsessed with photographing my looks with the perfect backdrop and you were totally on top of it with this one – they go perfectly together! Have a great Saturday! -Ashley

    • Thank you Ashley! It’s not always easy to find great backdrops, I actually had a bit of trouble with that this weekend. But I got lucky with chancing upon this place when walking to a coffee shop last weekend so I certainly took advantage of it. The SoHo/NoHo area has a lot of little hidden gems πŸ™‚

  9. I love this look and the pattern mixing! The backdrop pairs effortlessly with your stylish outfit! Have a fantastic Saturday!

    • Thank you Mica! True life- navy, white, and gold are my 3 favorite colors to sport, but I try to mix it up so that I’m not left with a bunch of boring, similar outfits all the time.

    • Thanks so much Vivienne! I’m always working to improve my fashion sense and photography skills and this blog is the perfect way to do it and share with others. Always happy to connect!

    • Well that is certainly the highest compliment you could ever pay me, haha! I LOVE Kate Spade, the company is definitely my favorite when it comes to colorful, quirky pieces. I was never a huge leopard enthusiast, but I really am trying to incorporate it more as I’m starting to appreciate its uses. You can really liven up almost any outfit with it.

  10. this is such a cute and unexpected outfit! I’m loving all your tips too. Keeping the fabrics different is a great one- in a way it makes the focus stay on the contrasting prints πŸ™‚
    izzy recently posted…Casual and ComfyMy Profile

    • Thank you Izzy! Unexpected is a great descriptive term for this outfit, I like it! And I totally agree with your fabrics point. Try to maintain one focal point, whether fabrics or prints and stick to it.

    • Thank you Lorna! I am a huge florals enthusiast for everything, and a huge polka dots enthusiast for clothing. Not a huge fan of polka dots in general though, interestingly enough. Or at least not the tiny ones. Hope your week is off to a great start!

Comments are closed.