Pattern Mash Up 101

Are you mixing patterns yet?
If not, you should be.

It’s on-trend fresh.
It’s a fun way to reinvent the wardrobe you already own.
And it’s pretty easy to do.

A mash up of plaid, geometric floral and big swirls done up in khaki, green and brown is fresh. The doggy mix (the perfect accessory for Spring) is Doxy and Jack.

Follow these basic guidelines and be the girl with stand-out style!

Keep clothing tailored.
Too much patterned volume can appear clownish.

Mix neutrals or colors from the same family.
Vary only the saturation of the colors you use.

Combine small prints with larger patterns.
Think tiny polka dots with bold stripes.

Pair organic patterns with geometric designs.
Florals and plaids compliment each other beautifully.

If it’s “too much,” break things up with a solid.
A well-paced scarf does the trick nicely.

Keep accessories to a minimum.
Let the mix of patterns be both the statement and the punctuation.

Just getting started? Pull a few patterned pieces from your closet and lay them across the bed. Squint at them. As your eyes narrow, the core colors will appear and you’ll know if you’ve got a workable color palette.

Not sure about the prints? Only one pattern should be big and bold. Use the squinting trick to make sure the other two or three patterns are understated. If the smaller patterns disappear when you squinch up your eyes, they will not overwhelm.

Is there more than one plaid? Unless you’re using just one color tone, lose the duplicate. And that goes double for checked prints.

Take a little time to explore the prints and patterns in your closet. Mix it up. Mash it up. Try it on. And make sure you feel good in it. Because if you don’t own the look, it won’t fly.

Update:  Many thanks to Fab Kimberly for featuring this look on her May Outfit Inspiration Calendar.  I’m the May 18th girl!  Click here to check out all of Kim’s amazing picks!


  1. lucille says

    cool !!! article
    Where did you get that adorable doggie ????

  2. Jennifer says

    Thanks so much! Del is a “rescued” dog. Funny thing is, I thought I was rescuing HIM. Turns out he was rescuing ME.

  3. Wendy Groshans says

    Your explaining how to pair things is picture perfect to me! The squinting thing is a perfect way to see how things will look in the end! What an idea! I get it! You are a fashion statement! Keep smiling and tell Doxie & Jack hello for me!!!!!

  4. Jennifer says

    Thank you SO much, Wendy! The squinting thing is an art trick. I’ve used it for years to find the sharpest lines, the deepest shadows and the key colors when I sketch and paint. It’s a great little assist for figuring out the fashion of it all, too!

  5. irene says

    You make it sound so nice and easy! Thanks for ‘splaining!

  6. Maria says

    I am very disappointed by this post. A little blog is usually great, but the only redeeming factor of this look are the wedges. From the ankles up it looks like something ugly betty would wear (in her ugly phase). Mixing patterns is indeed on trend, but not like that. The patterns need to be distinct or more subtle, not this awkward in-between.

  7. Jennifer says

    Whether you agree or disagree, little blog welcomes all comments — as long as they are clean and not mean. 🙂

  8. Kelli says

    Love the word “squinch”!

  9. Pam says

    Great instructional. I like this look, too, and would totally wear it!

  10. Many thanks to Fab Kimberly for featuring this look on her May Outfit Inspiration Calendar. I’m the May 18th girl! Click here to check out all of Kim’s amazing picks!


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