This is for Team Pattern Mix. These days, you can combine most patterns together, and it’s all good. You used to have to find some sort of common ground between the patterns to wear them together to create visual harmony. The patterns could match in palette or pattern, or both. You can absolutely follow that pattern-mixing strategy — and I do — but combining completely different, clashing patterns in one outfit is just as fashionable. Sometimes, I like doing that too.

Patterns like two-tone stripes, dots, checks, plaids, geometric patterns, and animal print tend to be easy to pattern mix with other patterns because they are relatively simple and grounding. But don’t let that stop you from pattern mixing to your heart’s content. The only limit is your own threshold for the hectic combination.

Here are some examples, followed by four particularly nice examples in more detail.

1. Same Pattern, Different Colours

This outfit combines bottoms and a topper in the same pattern across different colour palettes. The colours don’t match, but the patterns do, which makes them work together in a maximal and bold way. A solid white top unifies the patterns because there is white in the pattern. Black footwear bookends the model’s black hair, and matches the black in one of the patterns. White footwear that matches the tee would work well too.

Same Pattern Different Colours

2. Mismatched Match

A red and white heritage patterned twinset is combined with an oversized jade and white gingham skirt. The patterns look and feel completely different, but share white as their base colour. They are also two-toned, bright, and bold. The common base colour creates unity between the patterns. The red shoes that pick up the red of the pattern up top, help to pull together the outfit.

Mismatched Match

3. Mix of Four Patterns

This may look like a ‘haphazard, thrown together and hoping for the best’ outfit, but it’s cleverly engineered when you look more closely. The outfit combines FOUR patterns. Each pattern has navy and white in it, which creates a subtle sense of harmony. Two of the patterns are two-toned navy and white stripes, which creates similarity between them, and grounds the other two more hectic patterns. Furthermore, the plaid is made up of stripes, which further unifies the striped component of the patterns. The black shoes bookend the model’s hair, and bring the look together.

Mix of Four Patterns

4. Pattern and Graphic Tee

This outfit combines an all-over pattern on the bottom with a graphic tee up top. The graphic tee has black and white in it, which sufficiently marries the prints so that they match. Black shoes pick up the black in both patterns. A white or pink bag would look fab, as would a blue denim jacket. Add jewellery, watch and eyewear as desired.

Pattern and Graphic Tee