Print Mixing for Beginners

Happy New Year, reader friends! January is always the month when I try to refrain from clothing purchases (note the word try) and remix what I have in my closet. And winter tends to stick around a while in Iowa, so that’s a lot of remixing.

I love wearing plaid year-round but especially in the fall and winter. Since I wear it a lot, though, I have to come up with different ways to wear it to avoid boredom. Now plaid is no stranger to this blog, but what I haven’t really talked about is print mixing with plaid. Today I thought I would outwardly process how I print mix with plaid.

Now I should start by saying that I’m no print mixing master. It really takes practice. What I’m showing you today is how to step out into print mixing – in other words, how to take print mixing one step at a time and conservatively. Hopefully today’s post will make the task of mixing prints seem less daunting. Fashion should be fun; I would much rather take a fashion risk than wear the same old thing day in and day out.

Cardigan and plaid from Old Navy, pants from Stitch Fix, necklace from Stella and Dot,
booties are old from Target, watch is Michael Kors, and bracelets are from Groopdealz.

Here are four tips I try to follow when I mix prints:

1. With the plaid/classic leopard print combo, you really can’t go wrong.

If you’re unsure about print mixing with plaid, start with leopard print because 1. you probably have some type of leopard print accessory in your closet and 2. leopard print (to me) borders on neutral territory, meaning it pairs well with so many pieces.

If you’re ready for step 2 in that you’ve tried plaid and leopard print, you can graduate to plaid and stripes. I take a color out of my plaid shirt and make sure that color is in my striped piece.

These were less than $30 three years ago, and I am still just as crazy about them as I was when I bought them.

2. Space out your prints.

If you are new to print mixing, spacing the prints out may make you feel more comfortable. In my print mixing shown here, I have spaced out the prints by wearing black skinny pants in between them. When you have neutrals in there to create distance between the prints, you may feel better about the whole venturing-out-into-print-mixing adventure.

3. Check the scale.

Ugh, not that scale, though it is New Year’s Resolution month . . . I mean the scale of your prints. I try to make one print smaller than the other. With leopard print, scale isn’t usually a big issue, but with stripes, since I always wear larger-scale plaid or buffalo check, I make sure my stripes are thinner. It just creates more cohesiveness (not to mention more visual interest) to the outfit.

4. Ground your prints in your everyday basics so trying something new won’t seem overwhelming. 

If you’re new to print mixing, don’t make it harder on yourself and wear new basics, too. In other words, your whole outfit doesn’t need to be made up of new, “unfamiliar” pieces. Pair your pieces with your tried-and-true basics so you won’t get overwhelmed. You know the pieces I’m talking about, the ones you turn to and know exactly how they fit, what you can wear them with, etc. These pieces may be skinny jeans, cardigans, etc. For me, that would be my black skinny pants and my black boyfriend cardigan.

Yes, I found a favorite lipstick, so I am officially an adult woman!
It’s Urban Decay Revolution in Obsessed, a super cute baby pink shade.
I also like the Rush color that I just posted about on Instagram.


And a few parting thoughts…

If you’re looking for ways to wear more of the pieces in your closet, look for style challenges on Instagram! There are a ton out there. They are pretty fun to try and really help you to examine the pieces you have to fit the challenge every day! I am participating in Wear What Where January…search the hashtag #wearwhatwhereJanuary to see all of the ladies who are following along and posting to get new outfit ideas! Even if you don’t post your pictures, it’s fun to try or simply fun to look at the hashtags for new ways to wear your favorite pieces.

And thank you, thank you to my friend Corissa (who is also following the style challenge and dresses so cute) for taking my blog pictures for this post! Since I leave for work when it’s still dark outside and my “blog photographer” doesn’t get home from work until after dark, pictures don’t happen very often. Corissa was kind enough to take my pictures after school, and I am so appreciative.

OK, ladies, that should be all for now. . . now get to print mixing!

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