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  • Kerryn Rutherford

Do's and Don'ts of Print Clashing

Updated: Jan 22

Much like coriander, people either love or hate a print clash.

For those of you who feel a sense of calm when you open your wardrobe of neutrals, look away now because we are about to dive into a maximalist's dream.

Print clashing is an art. Although, it is more paint by numbers than abstract impressionism.

Here are 3 foundational principles to apply when creating the perfect print clash:

1. Match your colour palettes: make sure a dominant colour appears in both prints. Picking a dominant colour ensures that the look is cohesive and the prints compliment each other. Perhaps you choose to highlight the lilac in a flower, navy blue in a tartan, candy red in a stripe or sea green as a base colour (see below).

A common colour allows one print to wink at the other as if letting it in on the secret.

Images via Pinterest

2. Match the Scale of Prints: bring cohesion to the look by pairing like print sizes with like. Matching the scale of your prints will balance the competing patterns making the print clash feel less chaotic (unless, of course, chaotic is what you were going for. In which case, carry on). As below, a medium Paisley print pairs with warm undertones pairs gorgeously with a medium snakeskin. A medium to large gingham print boldly clashes with a medium to large floral print. Large polka dots gloriously celebrate a large geometric print in a skirt.

Images via Pinterest

3. Coordinate the Colour of your Accessories: Accessories are the key to bringing any outfit together. Make sure to use them to your advantage when creating the Perfect Print Clash. Coordinating the colour of your accessories, specifically your shoes, handbag or sunglasses, with a common colour in the prints will ground the print clash making it more pleasing to the eye. Match the colour of your shoes and handbag or coordinate your bag with a colour in one print and your shoes with a colour in the other print for a bolder look.

Images via Pinterest

Be intentional about the pattern clashes you create and the accessories you finish your outfit with. Intentionality and thought breads confidence as you can take comfort in the reasons why you paired the pieces together.


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