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Why Mixing Patterns Is the Most Clothes-Related Fun You Can Have


My Instagram discover page is almost entirely filled with fashion, so it takes a lot for something to stand out. But recently, one post in particular caught my eye while I was mindlessly scrolling through my feed, and the only thing I could think was outfit goals.


Mondays are for power suits 💪

A post shared by Olivia Palermo (@oliviapalermo) on

Some people just have a knack for it mixing patterns (see: the goddess Olivia Palermo) without looking like a toddler dressing themselves for the first time. In this one outfit Palermo succeeded in mixing three different patterns plus two different kinds of vertical stripes, and she looked far from a sartorially-impaired toddler (i.e. me). She looked seriously chic. How????

With this picture mentally pinned on my inspiration board and literally saved in my Instagram collections, I made it my mission to spend my week attempting to mix patterns like Palermo.

Attempt #1

On Monday, the first step was picking one color and finding two patterns that included it (mixing contrasting colored patterns is expert level, we’re starting off slow). I chose classic navy blue and white, and picked a striped shirt and floral pants. Actually, the pants are really a jumpsuit, so I guess I attempted layering, too. But that’s a story for another time.

I felt pretty good in this outfit. I didn’t feel like I was trying to hard to make something cool, but the mixed patterns added just a little excitement to my day.

Attempt #2

In the name of honesty, I admit that I skipped a day, because the pressure to pattern mix two days in a row was all too much, and returned to my mission on Wednesday. This time I went for florals and plaid (side note: I definitely need to buy some new patterns. Maybe some polka dots?). I paired black plaid pants with a pink floral button down, unbuttoned from the bottom up for some added ~fun~.  

This pattern mixing was on the safer side - you can barely even tell the pants are patterned, but I promise they are. Here’s this close up for proof.

Attempt #3

Then came Thursday, my final attempt at successfully mixing patterns. I kicked it up a notch, mixing not one but two floral patterns. One was a bomber jacket with a oversized floral print, and the other was my all time favorite button-down in an small floral.

This was my favorite outfit of all three. I think the reason that this works is because the colors blend together (a little yellow and black in each), and the fact that one pattern is smaller and more subtle than the other. If they were both oversized and entirely in-your-face, I don’t think I could have pulled it off.

So, what did I learn?

Pattern mixing is a honestly so fun, and I definitely don’t think I looked like I got dressed in the dark. Did I master the art of pattern mixing? Debatable. But I’ve still got a whole lifetime left to try and an entire Instagram collection for inspiration.

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