The aisles of the department store you just walked into are filled with vibrant colors. Vermillion and orange and—what’s that? Stripes and polka dots? (This would be the appropriate time to insert the beginning of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony in the background). Remember, styling clothes shouldn’t be a hassle, and especially when it comes to print, the process should be enjoyable. So if you’ve been having trouble in the past, take it easy and have yourself a seat, because we’re about to give you the ultimate one-to-one guide on styling clothes with print.
1. Implement the color block method
If you’re wondering why a pattern looks better as a singular piece than paired with something else it’s probably because both prints are too dominant. For example, take leopard and zebra prints. As you’re probably imagining it both of these together are visually ”loud” when put together. But if you were to take these same patterns and combine them with an article of clothing that influences color block the whole look would be more polished.
Still confused? Take a look at this.
As you can see the top half of the outfit is the dominating pattern while the lower half is plain white. The results? The long sleeve is automatically given the spotlight without having to compete with another print.
2. Choose prints that have a similar background color
Let’s say you’re still wanting to wear two prints at the same time but worried about them clashing. Depending on what you’re working with this process is (undeniably) hard sometimes. But to make it easier try combing articles of clothing with a similar background color.
Looking for inspiration? Feast your eyes on the following image.
As you can see although the top half of the outfit has a graham pattern the bottom half is primarily polka dot. With it being that the background colors are similar in hue (a light blue and navy) the result is an outfit that actually works despite there being a lot of eye-catching action going on.
A pro tip: When adding on extra accessories such as hats, shoes, and sunglasses try to have the object be as minimalistic as possible so it doesn’t interfere with the existing look.
3. Start with a simple canvas, and then go big
Sometimes the best way to experiment with complicated patterns is by starting off with muted colors and adding on from there. Light blue, dark blue, red, white—you get the picture.
A pro tip: Browse the internet and save pictures of your favorite fashion icon. Once you’re finished, analyze the photos that had especially caught your eye and take note of what exactly you liked. This will not only give you a blueprint of your own style (if you haven’t necessarily discovered it yet) but a general idea of future outfits you may plan on creating.
4. Aim for consistency and flow
Even if your goal is styling clothes with only muted colors you should always be sure to keep an eye on the overall look of the finished product. This means considering on whether or not to tone down on accessories, the type of shoe you’re wearing, and (if not most importantly) the makeup you’re wearing.
Let’s say your outfit is mainly composed of different variations of blues and white. Unless you’re purposely going for that ”editorial look” your makeup should be toned down and almost natural, as in doing this you’re ensuring that it will be the clothing that will ultimately do the talking.
5. Take note of your fitting
This aspect is especially important if you’re styling clothes with different textures. Take a long and flowing skirt for example. If your top is too oversized/or untucked you are risking the bottom half of the outfit coming off as cluttered—and in general slightly unprofessional.