Mixing prints in your outfits may seem like a crazy idea, but you can pair patterns to create standout outfits with bold appeal. Avoid a mismatch by choosing prints with a common denominator to mix and match.

The different ways to mix prints.

Amanda Nguyen

A black and white striped blazer and skirt paired together.

Amanda Nguyen

A good rule of thumb is that you can usually mix two different black and white prints. Try pairing a black and white top or jacket and bottom (such as a skirt or trouser pant), one with a thin stripe and one with a thicker stripe. By sticking to a black and white color scheme, you can play around with combining bolder prints such as large or abstract floral print, geometric pattern, polka dots, and plaid with a simpler print such as stripes or small polka dots. Break up two prints by wearing a black or white garment. You can also mix similar prints of the same size pattern with slightly different colors, such as a horizontal stripe with a vertical stripe, or a polka dot top and bottom.

The entire black and white stripes look.

Amanda Nguyen

A closer view of the black and white stripes print mixing.

Amanda Nguyen

A thin striped top mixed with a bold floral print skirt.

Amanda Nguyen

If you want to wear a variety of prints instead of just stripes or polka dots or just black and white, you can pair a bold print with a subtle print. A fail-proof way to style a bold print is to mix it with a simple and symmetrical pattern such as thin stripes or tiny polka dots. Stripes usually always pair well with other prints. For an exaggerated or busier print like a floral printed skirt, pick a color from the print and use it as a guide for the print you pair with it. You can also wear a bold printed top with a subtle printed pant. If you want to wear a less subtle print with the elaborate print, wear a neutral, washed-out or monochromatic print. For example, another blue, grey or black-detailed floral printed top could be mixed with this floral skirt. Also try a simple striped or polka dot dress with a bold and colorful printed scarf such as a floral, ikat, paisley or watercolor print.

A full body look of the stripes and floral print.

Amanda Nguyen

Big and small prints mixed together.

Amanda Nguyen

Style big and small prints together to create contrast without having to wear a lavish print. For this look, the focus was more on the geometric, art deco-inspired printed skirt. An all-over speckled tank that mimics the circular pattern of the skirt in the same color palette works to complement the intricately patterned skirt. Mix a tiny polka dot print with an extremely large polka dot print, plaid with a grid print, a small flower print with a large floral print, or an intricate animal print with a bold stripe print.

Small polka dots tank mixed with an art deco skirt.

Amanda Nguyen