Three Tips for Pattern Mixing

I admittedly wanted nothing to do with pattern mixing when I was younger. Truth be told, I found it to be kind of (actually really…) odd until recently.

In all actuality, even though the comparison struggles are real in the universe that is social media (especially Instagram for me), the boom in fashion/style-based Instagram accounts has affected my style for the better. One such way is through the art of pattern mixing.

After styling outfits for myself, styling my image consulting clients, and now styling my lovely LuLaRoe shoppers, I have whittled down this confusing and frustrating science of mixing two patterns (mixing three patterns is a whole other beast to be tackled another time…) to three main tips, and I even made them start with the same letter in hopes you would remember them.

1. Scales. Scales refer to the sizes of the prints. The print sizes should vary in that one should be smaller, and the other should be larger, for example. When they are too similar in scale/size, the print mix loses its effect.

Photo Jun 12, 1 27 05 PM

The stripes in my GAP tee are larger in scale when compared to the leopard print in my LuLaRoe Lola skirt. 

Photo Jul 18, 6 14 55 PM (1)

In this outfit, my stripes are smaller in scale than the Aztec print in my LuLaRoe Cassie skirt. 

2. Shades. There should be at least one complementary color found in both patterns. Bonus points if there are two or more colors that are the same in the two pieces because these complementary shades will make your outfit look intentional and out of the whoa, that’s kind of weird… category. I do not think there should be several varying shades (meaning colors found in one piece and not the other) in the outfit, but a few is usually OK.

Photo Apr 17, 5 23 39 PM

In this outfit, gray is the common shade, and though there is no teal in my top, the gray in both the top and the leggings unifies the outfit. My black and white accessories work to unify the look as well. Read more about accessorizing below. 

3. Styles. The styles of your prints should vary when you are just beginning to venture into the world of pattern mixing. Easy patterns to mix with include stripes, polka dots, leopard print, gingham/buffalo check, and plaid. What I’m saying here is that if you’re just starting out, I would stay away from trying stripes on stripes or leopard print on leopard print. A foolproof pattern mix, for example, is stripes and floral, but stripes (when they vary in size and are in complementary colors) mix well with nearly any other pattern, as seen above with Aztec print.

Photo Jun 12, 1 29 24 PM

I took this picture the day I onboarded as a LuLaRoe Retailer. Funny story: I tried to give a lady a free pair of leggings that day at Target, and she totally rejected me. And by rejected me, I mean looked at me and talked to me as if I had an infectious illness. I like almost cried about it, but it is really funny now. ANYWAY…The stripes and the Aztec are two totally contrasting patterns in that I’m not doing Aztec print on top and bottom to keep myself out of “jumpsuit” territory.

Now granted…I have done stripes on stripes before.

Photo Jun 12, 1 28 37 PM

What I will offer you here, though, is a bonus tip: simplicity in accessorizing.

When you put together the rest of your outfit, keep it simple. I went with a basic black pant in the outfit above, but if you think about jewelry, jackets, and/or shoes to finish the look, try to keep them simple and neutral so as not to distract from the pattern mixing and to stay out of Halloween costume territory.


Photo Sep 22, 7 32 09 PM

Some pattern mixes do not work. Though I am a LuLaRoe Retailer, I have no problem telling you that not all LuLaRoe pairs together well. Just because a top is LuLaRoe and a skirt is also LuLaRoe does not mean they will match. I would love to help you find a pattern-mixed outfit that works for you. If you join my VIP GROUP, I will have outfits posted in the next two days, but I actually post outfits I’ve styled quite frequently.

A NO due to scale…

Photo Jun 12, 2 34 54 PM.jpg

Do you see how similar the floral and the chevron are in scale? They’re almost exactly the same size. To edit this outfit, I would add a print smaller in scale to each.

A NO due to shades…

Photo Jun 12, 2 39 42 PM

The purple shade does carry over in both the LuLaRoe Irma and the leggings…however, the pinks in the leggings and the Irma do not match up, and the yellow seems out of left field.


Photo Jun 12, 2 33 08 PM.jpg

In the above pairing, I eliminated the pink and the yellow and just concentrated on the purple and white being the complementary colors. The floral print is also larger in scale, and there is a definite variance in style of the two patterns as well.

A NO due to styles…

Photo Jun 12, 2 38 58 PM

I would say no to this pattern mix because of scale and style, actually. Do you see how both patterns are competing against one another due to the fact they’re the same style (geometric/Aztec) AND the same size? A better option would be to pair with a smaller print in a different style (polka dot, stripe, leopard print).

I hope my tips were helpful to you…now venture on into the closet and play dress up!


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