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Mix and match fashion- that perfectly imperfect blend- walks a fine line between looking like an off-duty model and looking like a six year old dressed you. Here, we give you a crash course in achieving the former.

When we were little, we loved playing dress up. Stacks of bangles, polka dot dresses, sequined scarves- the more, the better. Mix and match fashion- as seen on every blogger worth her Manolos- is fun because it’s so almost outrageous. Enough and you seem wordly, too much and you stray into clown territory.

As Jenna Lyons, the queen of laissez-faire layering, says, “The overthinking doesn’t go well, the quicker out the door the better.” Perhaps that’s why we’re so in love with this look- it’s utterly chic without even trying.

But for those of us who, unlike Ms. Lyons, weren’t born with the style gene, here’s how to work your way up to mix master:

Beginner: Start With Solids
If mixing plaids and pineapples feels kitschy to you, ease into the mix & match trend by trading your basic neutrals for a colorful look. Pick solid pieces in complementary hues, like tangerine and teal, for a summery pop. Just remember that, like black and white, “opposites attract”.

Sinners & Saints

Intermediate: Choose One Focal Point
Start with a standalone piece, like a shirt in a bright botanical or brazen stripe. Then add solid pieces in hues borrowed from your pattern. The trick to achieving a mix that’s more “Karlie Kloss” than kindergarten is picking one of the less expected shades from your pattern.

Sinners & Saints


Pro: Match Colors, Not Prints
The secret to an eclectic mix? Keep it in the (color) family. Find prints that share a hue to make the look cohesive yet fashion forward. Play with the scale of your patterns- try a wide stripe with a dainty floral, or mix stripes of varying sizes- but make sure they have one color in common.


Sinners & Saints


Add A Dash Of Print With Accessories: Accessories are a low-commitment way to pull in a funky pattern. Don’t be afraid to add a geo-print clutch or leopard shoe (leopard is basically a neutral, anyway). Just don’t overdo it on prints in your outfit- as a rule of thumb, two is plenty.

Sinners & Saints


What Jewelry Goes With Mix & Match Outfits?: Simplicity is key when pairing jewelry with prints or bold colors. Go for a simple gold or silver bracelet or a special ring to keep your look clean and uncluttered.

Sinners & Saints


Now you: are you a beginner, intermediate, or mix master? What’s your favorite pattern to play with? Tell us in the comments below.

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