There was probably a point in your life where anything went as far as fashion. Whether it was wearing pajamas to school when you were eight or playing dress up with your friends, there used to be a sense of imagination and free spiritedness that accompanied every outfit choice. Eventually, though, a majority of us grow out of this over abundance of self expression and began to dress more conservatively – i.e. dressing in a way that is suitable for certain weather conditions and occasions, and mostly just pleasing to everyday society. Blah.
Not that being a full fledged serious adult isn’t cool or anything (it totally isn’t), but we really don’t have to get boring the older we get. It is possible to express your youthful and creative side without looking like your 4 years old, I promise. If anything, mixed prints, one of spring/summer 2013’s biggest trends, exemplifies the ability to be bold and a little off-beat about your clothing choices without seeming like a total nut.
Mismatched prints have been on the rise for a while now. With the print manipulation and crazy print placement that has been appearing on the runway these past few seasons, it makes sense that combining all these different elements is now the “big thing.” I suppose that mixed prints, along with any new trend, can be intimidating at first, but it’s actually a simple and fun trend to wear.
(Dries Van Noten)
Let’s start by stating the obvious which is that mixed prints are a bold trend. Wearing mixed prints makes a statement, and frankly if you’re able to pull it off, it makes people think you’re stylish/and or confident, which you obviously are.
With different patterns, colors, and themes coming themes coming together when mixing prints, it may seem as though the trend would contain any element other than consistency. However, the secret to successful mixed print looks is that a sense of consistency and sameness is what holds the outfit together. Whether it’s a common color, shape, theme, etc, a trace of some form of similarity, as in most cases, is what brings the most unlikely pairs together. Pulling from color combinations such as prints based from warm colors being paired together, or prints based around a a complementary color scheme are also an easy way to mix prints.
The photo above from Dries Van Noten shows a successful mixed print look that plays off of similarities. The print on the top and pants are clearly different, but they mesh well together because of the trace of bright violet in each of them. This violet acts as as a common thread and ties two very different pieces together in a way that is visually appealing.
The image above demonstrates another thing to consider when wearing mixed prints: balance. To keep two clashing prints harmonious, it’s important to keep prints balanced with each other as well as with your body type. The Proenza Schouler model is not over powered by the prints that she is wearing because all of the clothing fits her extremely well and the size of the prints are proportional to her petite shape. Remember, if you have a smaller frame choose smaller prints as to not overwhelm your shape, and if you are not then larger prints along with smaller prints may suit you.
It should go without saying that anything you wear should fit you well. The only way to truly look like a hot mess while wearing mixed prints is to wear clothing that is unflattering. Mixed prints already do enough to capture the eye’s attention so when you add an ill fitting sillhoute on top of that, it can be
a little way too much.
Another thing to consider when attempting mixed prints is to think of stripes, polk a dots, animal print, and classic floral prints, as your “go-to base prints.” These prints, like the colors tan, black, navy, etc., should be treated as neutrals, and are great for forming outfits when paired together or with crazier prints. Although the Prada look, pictured above, doesn’t share the same consistency as the images from earlier, it still works well because stripes are such a classic print that they’ll go with just about everything.
When finishing your mixed print look remember to keep your accessories and styling simple. Wearing a mixed prints is the perfect opportunity to experiment with the minimal makeup and jewelry trend that is HUGE this season. A simple silver piece of jewelry, a heavy brow and fresh face, and a low slicked back bun look polished and are fashion forward trio that will look good with just about any mixed print look. Also, consider wearing a belt to block off the prints in your top and bottom.
I think the hardest part about attempting to mix prints in an outfit is being uncertain if two prints actually look good together, so don’t over think it; just wear it and DO IT. Essentially, anything goes when mixing prints, and I mean anything, which is really the beauty of the whole concept. Once you start experimenting, mixing prints will become just as natural as picking out pieces that do match.
SO, to sum it all up, just remember:
- Look for consistency in the items that you pair together.
- Don’t lose sight of the fit/balance of your clothing. It’s still important!
- Classic prints should act as neutrals in your outfit and you should pair your craziest prints with them.
- Go light on the accessories. Your outfit is already crazy enough so let this be your chance to experiment with sleek metal pieces and minimalist hair styles.
- Experiment and try new looks. Anything goes with mixed prints.