Pattern Mixing: A How To Guide

Pattern Mixing- A How To Guide with Designing From My Closet

One of the most commented topics I get from the blog and social media is on pattern mixing.  This technique is something I honed in on quickly when I started practicing interior design.  My living room has floral, geometric, and abstract patterns going on and those are all details that I transfer over to when I put together an outfit.

Living Room

In interior design, there are certain principals I follow, but nothing ever has stead fast rules to follow.  The same goes for my clothes, I have what I would call “guidelines” to help me through the process of mixing my prints.  The reason I love doing this mixing is because I think it looks like you have put a lot of effort into an outfit.  I appreciate when I see any woman put intention into her wardrobe.

There are so many types of patterns and to keep this post from getting way too long and complicated, I am sticking to seven major patterns that are widely available.

  • Floral
  • Dots
  • Plaid
  • Stripes
  • Geometric
  • Abstract
  • Animal Print

Most of these patterns listed can actually be mixed in several ways.

  • Two Patterns
  • Two of the Same Pattern
  • Three Patterns

I like to follow two guidelines that assist me to pair these patterns together.

  • Color
    • Having one similar color that bring two patterns together is an easy way to unify them.
  • Scale
    • Placing one smaller scale pattern and one larger scale pattern together.

These guidelines are a loose rule for me to begin and then expand from there.  I pulled together five outfits to show how you can combine patterns in a fun and interesting way.


Floral & Dots - Pattern Mixing with Designing From My Closet

Floral Top  |  Polka Dot Skirt

This floral top and polka dot skirt carry the marrying color of blue.  I wore a similar combination in a previous post with a pair of dotted pants and a patterned top.  Although the top has horses on it, it resembles a floral from far away.  These both have black in them that bring the two together.

Wild Horses B

See original post: Wild Horses

TWOStripes & Floral - Pattern Mixing with Designing From My Closet

Stripe Top  |  Floral Pants

By treating these pants as a solid pair of gray and the top as a peachy pink, there is a natural color combination because gray and pink always look good together.  The busy floral with the hard lines of the stripes make for a beautiful combination.  If a floral bottom is too much, take a cue from my outfit and do a striped tee with a floral scarf.  I even threw in an animal print in on my clutch, all in a black and white scheme.

Denim and Stripes

See original post: Denim and Stripes

THREETwo Plaids - Pattern Mixing with Designing From My Closet

Window Pane Shirt  |  Plaid Skirt

Playing with the scale of these two plaids make a big statement.  The black and white color scheme keep it nice and simple.  I do not have an example of myself wearing two plaids, but now that I see these two together, I am so ready to give it a try!


Two Geometrics - Pattern Mixing with Designing From My Closet

Sleeveless Peasant Top  |  Pencil Skirt

The small scale on the geometric print top blends with the much larger scale of the skirt.  The raspberry color in both pull the two patterns in to each other nicely.  I did two geometrics together with a pair of soft pants and bomber jacket.  They both have the same Aztec pattern and have the same blue running throughout.  Visually, the pants have a larger scale pattern than the jacket.

Anthro Copy Cat Pants and Jacket D

See original post: A Memory Jacket


Animal Print, Geometric, & Stripes - Pattern Mixing with Designing From My Closet

Leopard Scarf  |  Geometric Jacket  |  Blue & White Skirt

Mixing three patterns together can get a little tricky in an outfit.  This look I unified with blue as the major color in each of the items.  The stripe skirt, abstract jacket, and leopard scarf all blend in nicely with scale as well.  Add a white blouse and you are all set.  I mixed stripes and animal print before on an Instagram post a while ago.

Designing From My Closet | Striped Sweater & Leopard Scarf

If you are just beginning to pattern mix and feel like it may be a bit too much for you, but want to test the waters, I would recommend you start off with one clothing item and one accessory item such as a scarf, pair of shoes, or handbag.  It gives you a way to do this technique without having to have two articles of clothing that are patterned.

I would love to hear if you like to pattern mix!  What are your favorite combinations?  If you have any questions regarding pattern mixing, let me know, I would love to help.

Today’s Postivity Note

Refuse to be average.  Let your heart soar as it will.  -AW Tozer

Be Blessed!


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I love to read your comments!




  1. This is so genius and helpful, Janeane! I experiment with print mixing, but I’m never really clear on why I’m doing what I’m doing. You’ve articulated your tips so clearly. I never really think to pair two of the same print together. And I absolutely adore the combo of floral and dots! Have you considered submitting this to Independent Fashion Bloggers? They do a weekly roundup, and I can see this sort of post getting included. They often feature more educational posts with specific tips. I think a lot of women would find this inspiring!

    ❤ Liz

    1. Thank you Liz. I get asked about this topic in person and on the blog all the time and it is good to hear I made it a little more accessible. It is hard to have “rules” because there is always an exception.

      I was surprised how much I love the black and white plaid look so I learned something compiling this information.

      I will have to look into submitting this, it would be great to share with women.


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