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Mixing prints and patterns can be a tricky feat, and it certainly takes a bit of an artistic eye that knows balance, color coordination, and imagination. It can be hard to know when more becomes less or if more really is more! When it comes to two of the most popular patterns, stripes and polkadots, it’s hard to tell sometimes how they should be mixed, or if they should be mixed at all! Here’s a couple of easy tips on mixing stripes and polkadots for a fun and fearless bout of personal style:

1. Stay within the guidelines of a color scheme. If you’re wearing a yellow and cream stripes sweater, go for a polka dotted piece within the same range of colors and hue and accessorize with complementing colors. Meaning that your polka dotted piece should be either the same yellow or a cream variation. The exception to this tip is when mixing with black and white stripes or dots. (See #2 for exception rules)

This outfit is built upon black & white pattern and plays with only one other color – light pink. This is an easy way to add interest to your outfit in the color department. Double your cuteness factor in seconds with this trick found in #2.

2. Black and white polka dots or stripes mix well with other colors. Mixing black and white stripes or dots is a classic way to wear this trend, but adding in color is super easy. Instead of going for a full on monochromatic look, switch one of your prints out for a color – this will energize your outfit and allow you to stand out even more. If you’re set of wearing black and white dots and stripes, make one of your larger pieces a colored one. Just remember to use only one or two base colors in your outfit if you’re going to wear this duo.

Wear one print much more bold than the other – this is good because if they are too close in size they will play a real number on the eyes. And that number won’t be a perfect 10!

3. One of the prints should stand out more than the other. The biggest mistake made when pairing these two classic prints is to pick pieces that are close in scale. Meaning, that wearing thin stripes and small polkadots together can blend too much into each other and begin to mess with the balance of your outfit. If one of your prints is larger scaled than the other your eye won’t be focused on trying to figure out which print it is and why they are so close together. Instead, it will be able to appreciate the bold print right away and then see the second smaller print as a compliment to the larger. No use in competing with each other if they can work together to achieve maximum potential.

It’s all about balance when mixing any print – even within the same family.

4. Doubling up on the same print can be done. Mixing prints within the same family is easier said than done for some, but there’s really only two rules to follow when doing this – 1. Stay in the same color scheme; 2. One must be larger than the other. If you’re new, start slow; wear two pieces that are polka dotted allowing one garment to be larger than the other so that you don’t feel like one big polkadot if you end up not getting the scale just right.

Start with subtle mixing if you’re new to the pattern mixing scene.

Polka dotted tights are a fantastic way to mix prints in your accessories.

Same color scheme, but adding a pop of color to create interest = perfect.

Bold prints can compliment each other if they are almost exactly in the same scale like here – now that’s spot on!

Wearing one print in basic black and white and wearing the other in color really shows you know what you’re talking about!

Going full on black and white can be one of the most stunning ways to wear this trend!

Mixing print can be scary but it’s supposed to be fun, liberating really! Test it out with your current wardrobe and don’t be afraid to try something new. If you’re looking for more stripes and polkadots outfit inspiration, check out my Pinterest board called Polkadots & Stripes.

xo, Kate