Easy Way to Mix Patterns: Add a Scarf

Pattern mixing has been trending in the fashion world for quite some time now and I know that there are probably a million posts already published about how to successfully mix prints. But I figured I would go ahead and share some of my tips anyway.

But first let me tell you that other than a simple combination of polka dots with stripes, I do not think I would have dared to combine two contrasting patterns until I started blogging. Now I find that I do it quite frequently. And I kind of like it. Mixing unexpected patterns definitely adds lots of interest to an outfit. There are so many rules that circulate about how exactly to try this trend.

Here are a few of them:

1. Keep your color palette the same in the prints or at least one shared color.
2. Textures can be considered a pattern even if a solid color.
3. Some prints like leopard and camouflage can be considered a neutral.
4. Combine different size patterns.
5. Stripes and polka dots always work.
6. So do florals and polka dots.
7. And stripes and florals.

If you are unsure of pattern mixing but want to try it, I think the easiest way is to add a patterned scarf to an outfit that incorporates another print. This way, if you are feeling insecure about your chosen combination, you can always just remove your scarf. However, if you are venturing outside of your sartorial comfort zone and trying something new, I say commit to it, wear it with confidence, and rock those mixed up prints!

So for beginners, start with just two patterns in the same color family. Black and white are super easy for print mixing. In my first outfit, I paired a white tunic with a black grid print with a black skinny scarf that includes a paisley print in vibrant hues. So in following the rules above, both prints share the color black. The grid print is large and the paisley print is smaller. A grid print works in the same way as stripes and paisley is super close to floral. So over all it works. And it elevated a simple black and white tunic by adding some depth and color with the scarf.





Outfit details:
Tunic: Old Navy (similar here).
Scarf: Cato Fashions (no longer available).
Jeans: White House Black Market (similar here).
Boots: Crown Vintage Tabitha Bootie in Taupe from DSW.
Watch: Churchill Timber Watch.

*This is not a sponsored post. All of the clothing and accessories are my own.

In my second outfit, I combined three different prints: leopard, a feather print, and stripes. You can see that all 3 prints share the color black. The stripes on the scarf are rather large. While the leopard print is quite bold, the black feather print on an ivory tee is more subtle. Also notice, that the tee and scarf are both black and white prints and then I added color with the leopard cardigan. But, leopard also acts as a neutral according to contemporary fashion rules.







Outfit details:
Tee: Target Women’s Printed Vintage Vee Tee by Merona.
Cardigan: Grace Elements Cardigan from Sam’s Club.
Scarf: Gap (this scarf is circa 1994).
Necklace: Cato Fashions (similar here).
Jeans: White House Black Market (similar here).
Sandals: Target Women’s Gretchen Quarter Strap Sandals by Mossimo Supply Co.

Easy peasy, right? How do you mix patterns? I would love to know your favorite combinations. Or if you have never tried this trend before, what do you think you would be willing to try?

Mixing it on the edge,


Linking up with These Fabulous Link Ups Where I Link Up

Follow shelbeeontheedge@gmail.com:

I am a 40 something Army wife and stay-at-home mother of 2 boys and 2 cats named Dave and Frankie. I have a passion for helping other women feel fabulous in the midst of this crazy, beautiful life.

28 Responses

  1. I totally agree that a scarf can be one of the easiest ways to mix prints. My other favorite is with print shoes!!
    I’ve even gotten my mom to be more open to styling her prints this way—and that’s saying a lot! Because she always says, she’s been doing it her way over 70 years, and it’s not going to change overnight!!

    • Yes! Jodie, print shoes are another super easy way to add another print! Your mom is too adorable. And she has fabulous style…I m so glad you are able to push her outside of her comfort zone a little…because great things definitely happen there! Thanks so much for stopping and for the lovely comment.


  2. Shelbee you mix it very well. I wish you a great week.

  3. Isn t leopardprint easy to mix! I never thought it would but it is! I love it.

  4. Great idea for mixing patterns! Love this look, and thanks for linking, xo


  5. Ha ha! So far that’s the only way I’ve ventured out into pattern mixing. I am determined though to get my courage up and try it more dramatically. Thanks for hosting the link-up Shelbee.

  6. I love scarfs, even durring the summer πŸ™‚


  7. Super cute print mix, lady! I love adding a scarf to a look for a little oomph. πŸ™‚

    Le Stylo Rouge

  8. Such a great combo! Love this look!


  9. Great pattern mixing! I LOVE the tunic; may have to get one just like it… And, yes, a scarf is a great way to get started with pattern mixing! It’s funny to me how much I love pattern mixing these days but just a little over a year ago, I really didn’t like it… πŸ™‚

    • Isn’t is funny, Andrea, how are style evolves and changes even later in life?! I feel like I am always changing my style and tastes! Thanks so much for stopping by and for the lovely comment.


  10. Bullseye, my friend, never have I paired different prints together until I started blogging. In fact, my wardrobe contained only two colours, well, maybe three, until I ventured into the blogosphere GRIN I love what you did here, Shelbee, the B&W prints with the animal print is quite a fabulous marriage. Unexpected but nonetheless fabulous.

    Do come by my blog tomorrow for the weekly Friday Project Sister Act Link-Up? I’d love to see you there xoxo

  11. You are rocking both of these looks! So cute! Starting with a scarf is a great way to ease into print mixing!

    Doused In Pink

  12. Pattern mixing is so fun! Great tips!

    Thank you so much for linking up at Grace + Lace!

    Bows & Clothes

  13. You are so right about a scarf being able to switch up a look


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