Most of us know when clothing and accessories match each other, and when they don’t. It’s less clear to us when clothing and accessories don’t match, but they do “work”. Mismatching stylishly is at the heart of retro European style. Designers and stylists do it frequently (albeit a bit over the top at times). Done correctly, mismatching will increase your style quotient. Done distastefully, it can be disastrous.

Here are a few tangible ways to mismatch with style:

  • Don’t match your shoes with your bag – throw in a bright green bag with your silver shoes, jeans and layered tops.
  • Don’t match your shoes with your outfit – instead of wearing a perfectly matching pair of black sling backs with your white slacks, black top and gold bag, throw in a pair of bright yellow or purple heels instead. Don’t worry about repeating that colour anywhere else – it works.
  • Mix patterns – different printed items of clothing work well together if the fabrics and colours are similar. Next time you think of putting a plain white top with your multi colored skirt, try making a subtle floral blouse in the same colours work instead.
  • Mismatch your last layer – whether it’s a jacket, cardigan or extra t-shirt, try adding an extra colour into the mix of your outfit with the last layer that you put on (e.g. light brown bottoms worn with a darker brown and cream knit top would welcome a red jacket, bronze shoes and green bag).
  • Colours that clash can work – wear red shoes with your pink dress, pop a purple top over an emerald green one, mix burgundy with orange and chartreuse – beautiful!

Think out of the box about how to mix and match the clothes in your wardrobe, but make sure that you don’t mismatch too many items at once. There will always have to be something pulling your look together – sometimes it can be the colour of your hair, or a single accessory.

Having a go at “mismatching” items that work prevents me from getting bored with the clothing in my wardrobe!