mixed patterns jacket and shirt

Fashion is all about having fun, but the idea of mixing prints can leave style newbies feeling more than a little stressed. If you’re wondering how to wear leopard with polka dots or debating if plaid ever goes with florals, have no fear. We’re offering up some simple guidelines on how to style mixed prints like a pro.

5 Easy Ways to Style Mixed Prints

1. Keep Things in Proportion

mixed prints outfit

Mixing prints is a bit of a balancing act. You want to choose pieces that work together in perfect harmony without clashing or competing with one another. A no-fail formula is to pair a small print with a bold one. (Think broad stripes with dainty florals.) Essentially, the bold print will dominate and the smaller one will serve as more of an accent.


mixed prints pieces

J.Crew Silk Button-Up Shirt in Party Dot, $79.99
J.Crew Tie-Waist Short in Clip Dot, $55.99

2. Look for a Common Hue

floral mixed prints outfit

One of the simplest rules for mixing prints is looking for pieces with similar color palettes. Make sure both designs share at least one hue to guarantee a cohesive presentation, but don’t feel pressured to find exact matches. For example, you can mix and match a pastel shade of blue with a richer sapphire shade for a more intriguing combination.


mixed prints shirt and pants

J.Crew Button-Up Lace Top, $120
J.Crew X Abigail Borg Silk Wide-Leg Pant, $138

3. Play With Details

mixed prints outfit

When it comes to styling mixed prints, it’s important to use details to your advantage. If you’re searching for a piece that will work with a particularly bold print (like camo or all-over florals), you may want to choose a statement piece with sequin embellishments or perforated faux leather as an alternative to basic solids. These little details take an outfit to the next level without looking too busy or complicated.


pieces for a mixed prints outfit

J.Crew Sequin Floral Embroidered Cotton Jackie Cardigan, $98
J.Crew X Abigail Borg Tank Top, $98
J.Crew X Abigail Borg Silk Slip Skirt, $128

4. Invert the Colors

polka dot mixed prints outfit

Another helpful approach to mixing prints is choosing two styles with inverted color palettes. For example, style a white button-down blouse covered in navy dots with a navy skirt covered in white dots. It’s simple but oh so effective.


polka dot mixed prints shirt and pants

J.Crew Drapey Tie-Neck Top in Polka Dot, $79.50
J.Crew Boyfriend Chino Pant in Polka Dot, $79.50

5. Stick With the Same Pattern

outfit using mixed prints

One of the biggest mistakes most people make when they begin styling mixed prints is looking for pieces that are too opposite. It’s actually fine (and oftentimes better) to choose designs that are similar. Pair two different floral pieces with one another to turn separates into a dress, or go for a mod look with stripes on stripes or gingham on gingham. Just stick to the rule of two when you’re first getting started so as not to overcomplicate things. (Don’t worry; you’ll graduate to Rebecca Bloomwood status soon enough.)


mixed patterns jackets

J.Crew Ruffle-Neck Bomber Jacket in Gingham, $64.99
J.Crew Relaxed Boy Shirt in Crinkle Gingham, $59.50


Do you regularly mix and match your prints, or are you a mixed prints rookie? Let us know your styling concerns and fashion tips in the comments section below!