How To: Mix prints the easy way

Are you the type of person who looks at someone wearing an interesting (yet stylish) combination of pieces and thinks to yourself:

‘Wow, I would have never thought to put that with that’ 

Then I plan to demystify the trick that is ‘mixing prints’.

Why would you want to mix prints you might ask?  Well, how about this, it:

  1. expands your wardrobe possibilities

  2. helps you to not feel like you’re always wearing the ‘same thing

  3. Creates a more unique and personalised look (which is great if you like shopping in popular stores or need a workaround for the old ‘daangshe bought the same top as me‘ scenario)

Well, here we go:


Option 1: (3 pieces) Two printed, one plain: 


  1. Two printed pieces (different prints) that share the same or a similar colour palette.

  2. One plain piece in a solid colour.  (The colour should be present in both prints)

  3. Combine.

Separates work best (top and pants/skirt/shorts or top and jacket/cardi etc).

The plain piece is what I like to call the ‘grounding piece’ because it unifies both prints and stops the look from feeling too busy.  Your grounding piece should be a mainstay of your look (as in you don’t take it off). In this example my ‘plain’ is a light layering piece (a black vest).

Tip: For extra oomph add a ‘pop’ of a contrasting colour.  I’ve gone with red lippy but you could also wear one of either, a necklace, bracelet or bag in a contrasting shade!

How to mix prints well

Option 1 – Two printed, One plain: I chose a top and pants with different prints, that are both black and white and my grounding piece is a black vest (but in this scenario I could also have chosen white)


Option 2 (2 pieces): Similar prints, similar palettes

  1. Choose two printed pieces that share the same style of print. 

  2. AND that also share the same or a similar colour palette

  3. Wear together.

This works well when the two pieces are a dress (or jumpsuit) and a layering piece

Look at your wardrobe on the whole, and you’ll see trends starting to emerge.  i.e. colours you always seem to buy and prints you like to wear.  In my case I have a lot of striped things so I narrowed down the striped pieces I had, and focused just on the ones that shared a colourway in common.

Tip:  To avoid looking too ‘matchy’ wear prints that vary in size.  i.e. one print’s smaller and the other is larger.


Option 2 – Look 1: I’ve chosen a striped dress in peach and grey and paired this with a tartan jacket – in beige and grey. While these two aren’t an exact match, the similarities in print and colour make them work.


Option 2 – Look 2: I chose a fitted striped dress with a thin blue and white stripe and I wore this under a light shirt that also has a blue and white stripe (only thicker).


Option 3 (2 or more pieces): All different prints, same palette

  1. Choose two or more (ideally 3) printed pieces that are all different prints. 

  2. BUT they must also all share the same colour palette

  3. Wear together.

Mild or soft colours work well – like pastels, greys and blacks or neutrals.

The best way to achieve this look is to narrow your wardrobe down to all the printed pieces, then edit down further to just the ones with similar colour families.

Tip:  I like to ‘ground’ this look with accessories or accents that are complimentary solid colours like black, silver and charcoal.


Option 3 – Look 1: Leopard prints and stripes together. This works well because they share colours in common.


Option 3 – Look 2: I’ve opted for the popular black and white palette again and because black and white when mixed make grey, there are hints of grey in these prints too. The accessories are simple to help ground the various mix of prints.


If you aren’t sure what colours work well together, this site is really helpful.

I hope that has given you some inspiration to try mixing prints at home, using:

What you own,  what you like and what feels right for you and your lifestyle.

P.S  You could technically also apply this theory to mixing prints in the home (interior styling).

Which option would you try?

Erena Te Paa Stylist

#Howtomixprintswell #simplecombinations #style #wardrobeideas