The Viva Guide to Pattern Clashing: How To Mix Patterns Like A Pro

Embrace the fun of multiple prints with our how-to for wearable pattern mixing


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When it comes to pattern clashing, layering is your friend. The statement polkadot sleeve on this Ganni top peeks out nicely from underneath this checked Kowtow dress without being overwhelming — tie it all together with some complementary accessories.

Kowtow dress $279. Ganni top, $225 from Seletti Concept Store. Vintage bracelets, $6 each from Retro Addiction. H&M earrings $10.

Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

Mixing prints doesn't have to be graphic. Step over to the softer side with watercolour-inspired pieces. The abstract shapes of this Juliette Hogan t-shirt work well with the smaller, more detailed pattern on the skirt from Twenty-Seven Names. A wide belt works to visually separate the prints.

Juliette Hogan top $389. Twenty-Seven Names skirt $370. Mahsa corset belt $280. Homage Online earrings $299.

Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

Go for grunge with checks, combat boots and a printed skivvy. Staying within a similar set of tones will help to keep the combination from being jarring, as does making sure there's a piece with at least some area free of pattern.

Karen Walker top $195. Wynn Hamlyn vest $440. Nom D skirt $335. Barbara Bui boots, $925 from Adorno.

Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

It's business time. Channel your inner (and outer) power woman in an eye-catching two-piece, like this striped ensemble from Kate Sylvester. Add a peek of leopard print and you're good to go.

Kate Sylvester jacket, $649, and trousers $399. Ganni top $340 from Seletti Concept Store. H&M earrings, $10, and bag $70.

Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

Layering different florals works well, especially when they're different ends of the pattern-spectrum. This Charmaine Reveley top is adorned with a more delicate light-toned floral, and is a nice contrast to the vibrant, abstract floral on the Maiike dress. Pair with some chunky sneakers for easy, everyday wear.

Charmaine Reveley top $259. Maiike dress $315. Sketchers shoes $140.

Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

Slip on your leopard print dancing shoes and pair with a classic combination of polkadots and stripes that would make any It Girl proud. A mannish blazer perfectly contrasts this frilly H&M dress and together they're an easy dressed-up look for the spring months.

H&M dress $80. Gestuz blazer, $449 from Smith + Caughey's. Wixii top $170. Isabel Marant hat, $265 from Adorno. Sol Sana shoes $259.

Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

If the thought of clashing patterns sounds like it would give you a headache, try desaturating. Black and white houndstooth trousers are infinitely wearable paired with a geometric shirt for monochome elegance.

Cecilie top, $225 from Muse. Victoria Beckham trousers, $1400 from Adorno. Kathryn Wilson shoes $289.

Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

Worried head-to-toe prints will overwhelm? Focus on one half of your body. Easy blue denim pairs back a busy blazer layered over stripes, and similar tones ensure a complementary element ties the look together.

Theory shirt $785 from Muse. Charmaine Reveley jacket $529. Rolla's jeans $160.

Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

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