Mixing plaids can make an adventurous and fashion-forward statement. Although there are general rules against mixing patterns in fashion, you can break these rules if you do it correctly. Learning to mix plaids the right way can save you from looking like a fashion victim. The trick to mixing plaids is that the patterns don’t have to match, they have to go. Mix the scales of the patterns, colors and clothing pieces correctly to properly to balance the plaids.

Wear one color tone. Keep the colors in each plaid pattern the same tone to make the look cohesive so that they mix better. The colors don’t have to match perfectly and they can be different shades, such as dark blue and light blue, as long as it is still one color.

Make one plaid the dominant plaid. Take a bright, bold plaid and pair it with a more subtle neutral-colored plaid to make the mix of patterns less obvious and glaring. The dominant plaid will stand out as the eye-catching pattern and the other plaid will help complement the dominant pattern.

Mix plaids without clashing by mixing only neutral-colored plaids. Neutrals go well with any color, especially other neutrals, so wear plaid patterns in colors like black, white, khaki and brown.

Mix a large-scale plaid with a small-scale plaid. Plaids come in different size patterns, so pair one plaid that is large with one that is small so that the two patterns don’t compete for attention. The large plaid will draw the eye the most and the smaller plaid will complement the larger plaid.

Pair plaids that have different directional patterns. Pair plaids such as a plaid jacket that has a horizontal pattern with a bias-cut plaid dress. The opposing directions in the patterns will draw the eyes in different directions and make it look as if you aren’t wearing mixed plaids at all.

Pair plaid clothing items cautiously. Avoid wearing head-to-toe-plaid, such as a plaid shirt with plaid pants, as this can be too overwhelming. Pair a plaid jacket with a solid-color shirt and a plaid skirt, or a plaid shirt with solid-color pants and a plaid accessory like a scarf or hat. The other colors present in the outfit will help break up the plaid patterns and make them less overwhelming.

Add solid-colored accessories to break up the patterns. Wear a solid-colored belt, hat or scarf to an outfit with mixed plaids to make the outfit look less busy. The accessory will tone down the mixed patterns.