A Guide to Mixing and Matching Patterns in dresses

Posted by Sandhya Shah on


A pattern is a repetitive design that helps you create a statement look that reflects your personality. When it comes to fashion, it’s always fun to add one or more patterns to your dress for creativity and experimentation. So what about a guide to mixing and matching patterns in dresses? I guess it is for those who are not confident enough to experiment with new patterns.

Now, mixing and matching patterns can be scary for some people, but in the end, it’s all about the right colors. Many of you can be a pro at expressing yourself through fashion. While others may need a slight nudge and they are good to go.

Are you one of those who would rather opt for a plain outfit to avoid the confusion with patterns? Well, then this guide is all you need. You will soon be a pro at matching your outfit colors, and patterns, and mix and match outfits with our tips and ideas.

Matching Outfit Colours

Matching Outfit Colours

What can be your big mistake when you try to mix different patterns while ensembling an outfit? Colors!! It is the color coordination that matters. When you pick one or more patterns for your dress, it is important to pick a color that matches your outfit. This allows you to present your outfit stylishly.

For instance, if you wear a pastel floral top, you can pair it with a striped light blue or pale pink skirt. When you want to go for black and white polka dots, coral and cobalt blue pair best with these patterns. Similarly, opting for leopard or zebra patterns can give you a chic look if you pair it with camel or tan hues.

Tips on selecting complementing colors for your dress

  1. Use a color wheel to identify the opposite colour that compliments the best for a contrasting look.
  2. Selecting an adjacent colour from the wheel will help you create a balanced look. 
  3. If you have bold-coloured patterns or prints, your safe choice is neutral colours like white, black, beige, or grey. They can easily bring together your entire look.
  4. You can even pick colours regarding the mood you want to create. Hues of blue and green for a calm and peaceful mood. Whereas go with red, orange, and yellows for an energetic and vibrant look.
  5. The pattern and texture of your dress also matter while selecting the proper colour. Proper colour selection can help you highlight the texture and patterns of your dress.

Matching patterns in outfit

There is no specific theory or formula to follow while mixing patterns in your outfit. When it comes to picking patterns, it can be a difficult task. But some tips and examples from this guide to mix and match patterns in your dress can be of great help.

Take a look at some of these examples where pattern combinations create a harmonious look:

Floral prints work best with striped patterns. A single colour or complimenting colour both can add amazing visual effects. Another option can be to pair a striped jacket with a floral printed skirt or pants for a chic style.

A polka dot top can pair well with a plaid skirt or trousers with a similar colour or neutral colours.

If your dress or top has geometric patterns, you can add an animal print jacket. These prints work well together.

Tips for balancing bold and subtle patterns in a single dress

  1. First you need to pick a dominant pattern like bold prints, geometric designs, or motifs. This is necessary when you want to add more than one pattern to your dress.
  2. The other complimenting patterns that you select should be subtle so that they do not compete with each other. You can select small polka dots or delicate stripes.
  3. Make sure the patterns are evenly distributed on your dress rather than forming a cluster at a specific place. It might disturb the visual appeal of your dress.
  4. To make the patterns look more attractive, pick patterns with different scales. Your main pattern can be bold and large scale whereas the complimenting pattern should be subtle and small scale.

Pattern Coordination Tips

Patterns Co-ordination tips

When you try to bring together more than one pattern, you need to be careful. Randomly selecting your favourite patterns can create a clash that you definitely won't like. One advice that you should follow while selecting patterns is to be careful with the scales and styles. This allows you to highlight the dominant pattern and at the same time, supports the overall look with subtle small-scale patterns. 

Take a look at these tips to understand pattern coordination in a better way:

  1. Try to combine different patterns like floral, geometric shapes, polka dots, plaids, and stripes to add variety to your outfit.
  2. Create a balanced look by combining intricate patterns with simple patterns.
  3. Consider the style you want to reflect with your outfit like bohemian, classic, or more, then accordingly choose the pattern. 
  4. Pair bold prints with subtle ones like, small geometric prints, pinstripes, subtle plaids, or houndstooth.
  5. Make sure if you opt for bold prints, you pair them with neutral colours. It's like pairing a floral top with a beige skirt or pants.
  6. Consider layering with a cardigan or a blazer that has a neutral colour. It allows the pattern to shine and strike a balancing look.
  7. Add texture like knits, denim, or tweeds if you choose bold patterns.
  8. When you only want subtle patterns in your dress, try to add solid colours to your outfit. This will perfectly anchor your entire look.
  9. Try to limit the number of subtle patterns to one or two and keep the look of your dress understated.
  10. The accessories like the bag, shoes, belts or jewellery should be of coordinating colours if you only go for subtle patterns. Whereas, if your dress only has bold patterns then choose accessories of neutral colour.

Mix and Match Ideas

Mix and Match Ideas

If you want to add some fun and creativity to your outfit, mixing and matching patterns is what you need. Actually, this is what this guide to mix and match patterns in your dresses is all about. Picking a single pattern seems pretty easy, but adding two or more patterns can make your outfit electric and zestful. 

Once you get the trick to strike a harmonious balance of patterns, you can flaunt your style in the outfit. Here are some ideas that you can use to mix and match more than one pattern in your outfit:

  1. Create a patchwork dress by adding small-scale patterns like florals, polka dots, stripes, and geometric patterns in different panels for an eclectic look.
  2. Create an ombre effect by adding subtle patterns from the top and then gradually adding bold patterns as you move down.
  3. You can also create a romantic look with a floral or abstract pattern top layered with a sheer lace overlay.
  4. Add complimenting patterns into the cuffs, pockets, collars, or sleeves of your outfit but don't forget to strike a balance.
  5. Consider adding asymmetrical patterns with other patterns in your outfit. For instance, diagonal stripes and floral prints work well together. Similarly, abstract patterns pair well with geometric patterns.

Trendy Pattern Mixing Techniques

Mixing patterns has always been in trend and a fun way to experiment with fashion choices. You might have noticed many pattern-mixing techniques like clashing prints, tonal mixing, print blocking, and print coordination. 

The print blocking and coordination techniques can be looked upon as classic styles when it comes to pattern mixing. They seamlessly add more than one pattern that shares similar themes or colours. Whereas, clashing prints and tonal mixing are more contemporary techniques. Contrasting patterns are added to a single outfit for an eclectic look. Similarly, different patterns with the same colour tones can also be used for a sophisticated look.

You can take a look and get inspired by some of these celebrity styles where they have worn outfits with mixed patterns:

  1. Take a look at Zendaya’s Harper’s Bazaar icons party in 2019. She wore a striped blazer with a polka dot blouse and plaid trousers. This outfit was designed by Tommy Hilfiger.
  2. The Dolce & Gabbana runway shows also feature excellent examples of pattern mixing. The dresses showcase a combination of bold floral prints, geometric patterns, and animal prints creating a luxurious look.


In this guide to mixing and matching patterns in dresses, we offer you tips, ideas, and examples. We help you select the right patterns, mixing and matching patterns and selecting proper colours that go along with your selected patterns. Additionally, some examples of trendy pattern-mixing techniques are also mentioned to help you stay at the forefront. The best way is to let your inner artist take over. But at the same time keeping in mind the proper techniques to incorporate the patterns.


What do match patterns mean?

Matching pattern means adding more than one pattern in your outfit to create visual interest and contrast.

What are the dos and don’ts of mixing and matching clothes?

Do layer your outfit by adding different patterns for visual interest. But, don’t go for more than two patterns at a time if you are new to adding patterns to your dress.

How to mix floral pattern clothes?

Mix stripes or plaids for a classic look or polka dots for a whimsy look with floral patterns in your clothes.

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