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How to Wear Pattern on Pattern

If there’s one thing you vow to try more of in 2019 it should be to mix your patterns. Layering pattern on pattern gives a look dimension, edge and a carefree aesthetic which says “I’m not afraid to have fun”. For some people, it can be hard to shake the false notion that clashing pattern and color is bad. Quite the opposite, putting opposing colors and patterns together creates one of the most unique and fashion-forward looks. 
Read on for eight ways to wear pattern on pattern, from simple, all the way to “anything goes”...

Start off simple 

 Ron Adar/ Shutterstock

To ease yourself into the double-pattern game, start off simple. Go for patterns with a large design, with lots of bare space, as opposed to busy or intricate patterns. The outfit above demonstrates this perfectly. The patterns are very similar, with simple black and white, with a lot of negative space in white. Paired with a simple, black or navy coat or cardigan, this is the simplest way to wear pattern on pattern. 

Double-up on the same print

 Jan Zahradka/ Shutterstock

If you have two garments with the same print, put them together! Layering two of the same print in different colors creates a look which is both cohesive and eclectic at the same time. The model above shows us how to layer the same pattern but in completely contrasting colors and textures. We have a wide plaid in warm colors and a flat texture, as well as a cool-toned plaid in sparkly fabric. 

Match at least one color Shutterstock

When doubling-up on patterns, you can tie the look together by matching a common color between the two garments. For example, you may have two entirely different patterns, but they both have a dash of the same pink shade. By putting them together, you’re creating a connection between the two, while still maintaining that entirely playful attitude. The model above is wearing two completely different patterns, but her coat has splashes of green which ties into the green of the dress beneath. 

Pair the same print in contrasting colors

 andersphoto/ Shutterstock

You don’t need to choose contrasting patterns to get a layered print effect, you can simply layer colors. The chic lady in the picture above shows us how to pair the same print in contrasting colors. She has an animal print dress, paired with an animal print bag in two contrasting colors. This is a great way to match patterns without having to wear too many layers. It gives a sense of matching cohesion while still keeping that fun, carefree attitude. 

Stripes on stripes...always a great idea

 aniarenard/ Shutterstock

Patterns come in more than just florals, plaids, tartans and graphic prints. Don’t forget about stripes! Matching stripes makes for a busy yet completely chic overall look, with a sense of mix-and-match fun and individual style. The model above shows how vertical, thin stripes paired with wide, horizontal stripes can look fresh, contemporary and fun as heck. 

Mix earthy tones

andersphoto/ Shutterstock

If you want to mix patterns but don’t want to go the route of brights or bolds, go for earthy tones. Find patterns with creams, browns, rusts, taupes, greys and dusty pinks and layer them together. This will soften the look and give it a bohemian edge. 

Spice it up with details Shutterstock

You don’t have to mix your patterns with two full garments (i.e. a skirt and shirt), you can mix them by adding smaller details over your base garments. The model above wears a dress with a bold, floral pattern with bursts of bright color. Over one shoulder, she wears a long shawl in a contrasting color and pattern, casually draped and floaty. You could choose a patterned dress, shirt or skirt and layer a pattern over the top with a scarf, wrap or short cape. This gives you a lot of freedom to adjust and enhance your outfits as you please, without having to change completely. 

Go all in 

 Ovidiu Hrubaru/ Shutterstock

And finally, just go all in! Mix colors, patterns, shapes, sizes, textures and silhouettes. The model above demonstrates how chic and unique mixed patterns can be when all caution is thrown to the wind. She rocks wide diamonds, intricate florals, bold stripes and both floaty and snug fabrics. 


Take some time to look through your wardrobe and get to know the patterns you have hanging there. Play around with matching them together to see which combinations inspire you. Start off slowly if you’re a little apprehensive, and mix subtle patterns and tone it down with simple accessories and outerwear. Then start to feel the pattern-on-pattern vibes more strongly and let yourself go with mixed colors, textures and pattern sizes. 

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