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Prints on Prints: The Secret to Mixing Patterns

The hottest trend this season is a fun print. The next hottest trend is pairing that print with another print. That’s right: prints on prints. This may have been a fashion faux pas in the past, but this season is all about prints gone wild. But you can’t just pair any old print with any new print. If you do that, you may end up looking like a 3-year-old who dressed herself in the dark. The trick is balancing large prints with small prints and finding a common color in each print so there is a connection between the pieces. But the real secret is to know which prints act as neutrals. 

Stripes and Dots
Structured patterns of stripes or dots play well with other patterns. The key is to finding the right pattern size. Small dots on a blouse work well with a large floral print on a skirt or bottom. Stripes, especially of the black-and-white variety, act as a neutral with any print. Again, you will want to pay attention to the size of the neutral pattern versus the size of the paired print. 

The Animal Print
Zebra, leopard, and snakeskin prints act as a neutral so stop thinking your only safe options are beige, navy and black. The idea is to pair a two-tone animal print with a loose pattern like large flowers or colorful swirls. You can also layer animal prints. A great way to do this is by incorporating the neutrals in accessories like belts and handbags or shoes. 

Black-and-White Prints
Whether the print is a flower motif or a structured geometric pattern, black-and-white prints act as neutrals with any other print. The only time you could run into an issue is if you're pairing this pattern with other black-and-white prints. For a full monochromatic look using prints, use the rule of small prints versus large prints.

Metallic Prints
Metallic prints are a great go-to when you’re unsure of what prints work together. You can keep the confusion—and the print play—to a minimum, by choosing a metallic pattern that still adds tons of texture to an outfit. The best thing about a metallic print is that you can mix and match it with other neutrals.

Now that you know which prints play well with others, shake up the patterns in your closet and come out looking like a polished print-mixing master. And here's a bonus tip: Any neutral print can be paired with another neutral print. Let the mixing begin! 

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