Print Mixing - Find Your Printspiration

July 08, 2017 | Gilly
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When it comes to prints, do you mix or match? I have a friend called Penny who is definitely a matcher. She’s always immaculate and coordinated to within an inch of her life, she will occasionally wear one print, then chooses one accent colour, then expertly balances shades of the same hue - she’s what I consider to be a grown up, ladylike colour-blocker, not a mixer.

I would say that I have always had a more eclectic, bohemian style of dressing and can remember a few of my first forays into print mixing; one of them here just on the right aged approx 7 years: A two tone polka dot skirt, rainbow striped jacket, red beret and tights and a red striped t-shirt. Just blast me forward in time to present day and gosh I’m like, so on trend.  Another distinct outfit I remember was a white and black polka dot, cropped zip up blouson with elasticated cuffs, a matching ra-ra skirt and contrasting mini braces (with black with white spots) connecting the skirt and top, striped ankle socks and lace up shoes. That was circa ‘Graduated-bob-and-disastrous-bangs-regrowth’ so I must have been about 13 at the time. As an adult (with better hair) I’m still digging the dots, but I would say i more heavily into stripes, florals and a touch of leopard these days and all of those are a good basis for my own print mixing palletand n my head I'm evoking Keith Richards as my 'Print Spirit Animal'

Print Mixing Me
Keith Richards Print Mixing
Above: Hermes scarf and sailor stripe photo from @bat_gio instagram; Marella Silk Scarf; Sir Mix A Lot of Prints Keith Richards, my printspiration;  Sometimes all two prints need is a nice belt to bring the look together, like with this beautiful vivid color choice, mixed by @duchess_bambi on her instagram; Olivia Palermo at Paris Fashion week (look, I’m wearing the same PJ’s right now!!)   Yellow with sporty striped straps from Edun’s 2018 Resort collection; Leopard rose scarf, Rockins and Leopard socks from Happy Socks - they would make my feet happy too.


It’s not about throwing yourself into a pile of clothes and seeing what sticks, but if you have a well curated stock of prints and some confidence, you can get away with quite a lot, so for me it’s been a case of saving for and investing in designer and independent labels and trawling the markets, internet and thrift stores for vintage and retro prints that will stand the test of time like Liberty prints, Pucci swirls and paisleys, animal prints and florals especially and tour t-shirts and silk scarves are another weakness too.

Vintage Yves Saint Laurent and Rive Gauche Prints and a delectable Hermes Scarf

YSL Print Mixing
Ungaro Prints
Vintage and current Emanuel Ungaro

Dolce & Gabanna, leopard spots, dots, stripes and scarf prints
Dolce and Gabanna Print Mixing 

Vintage and current Kenzo
Kenzo Print Mixing
What a glorious vintage find this dusky rose print skirt must have been (top centre photo from the Sea of Shoes blog) and I’m keeping my eye on easyprices to find some of the great separates from the Kenzo x H&M collection.

 pick n mix

Take a few monochrome basics and introduce some colour and patterned accents for a mixable capsule wardrobe.

Above: Crop Top, Luc Luc; Versace T shirt; Blazer, Face n Face;
Polka dot shirt, Sarah Princess; Harper Boots, Chloe; Stripe skirt, Topshop
Red stripe shirt Zara; Spot socks, Miss Selfridge; Snake bag, Gucci

Summer print mix

And how about some more colour for summer? Pineapple earrings found on Amazon; Boned bikini top, H&M; Knotted white shirt, Johanna Ortiz; A fantasy scarf from Hermes (just look at it!!) for neck, hair, wrist or purse; butterfly skirt, Tucker by Gaby Besora & Tan wedges from Office and add white sneakers, a slogan t shirt and a pair of jeans for some more outfit options. And you can read more about print mixing for vacations in my Hand Luggage Only article too



The easiest way to delve into this style is to start with a printed garmet like a floral skirt that you love, with a plain white shirt or colour block tshirt and add a scarf or a pair of socks in either a clashing or matching coloured print.  But what if you fancy channeling a bit of Little Edie or a touch of English eccentric (without going ‘Full Bonham Carter’) but you don’t have one of those self satisfied (smug?) piles of vintagy prints and appliqued garments to hand? Have no fear, for wonderful ready to wear labels like Tucker and RIXO London who have done all the hard work for you!

Ahhh Rixo, how do I love thee?  RIXO London, by British designers and best friends Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey deliver hand painted prints in limited runs which are vintage inspired with a glamorous 70’s feel. They are constantly roaming and searching the vintage stores and markets for inspiration, so you don't have to and their designs are feminine, but with plenty of cool girl edge. Their dresses are things of mismatched beauty and the separates can be effortlessly mixed for some easy 'threw this together myself' style.   I love thee a lot.

RIXO London Print Mix
Rixo London

a little bit of everything

Maxilmilist approach - Sporty, florals and brights on even brighter at Stella Jean
Stella Jean Print Mixing

Mix florals in two tone colors and scales.  Hippy vibes from See By Chloe
See By Chloe Flower print

Everything. Gucci ‘Renaissance meets geek, with a seventies vibe  Gucci Print Mixing

Vintage Yves Saint Laurent
Vintage YSL
Veronica may have had one too many Campari Sodas, but her dress was perfectly mismatched with the chair, so everything would be OK.
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