Everywhere you turn someone is throwing the word "flattering" in your face.
The world seems obsessed with making sure that curvy women know how to style their outfits to best conceal their curves or to complement them. The term "flattering" is from days past — perhaps our mothers focused heavily on this sentiment, but the most wonderful thing is that there doesn't have to be anything different about how curvy women dress from the rest of the world.
This is just as true when print mixing, a concept which may be daunting to some of you. Although the term "rules" has no place in our style vocabulary, we can call these guidelines, with the caveat that at the end of the day the best way to pull any look off is to wear it with confidence!
If you are looking for rules specific for how plus size women should create a mixed print look, you are in the wrong place. In fact, that place doesn't exist, because any woman can mix prints no matter her shape or size. However, we do have these inspiring curvy women to show us that we can mix those prints like anyone else!Similar Colour Story
First up, and perhaps one of the most important guideline to be able to mix any prints, is keep it in the colour family. As long as you have one colour that appears in each print, this can basically be a foolproof look. We love the shades of blue Thamarr from Musings of a Curvy Lady.
When mashing up prints it is important to keep in mind the balance of the size of each print. Here, Mo Handahu from the blog Lion Hunter, has played with the different sizes of each print. Her skirt is the larger of the two, and the top (although not a tiny print) is still smaller, and doesn't distract, but enhances the overall look.
Similar to the first guideline, finding two prints that are the same pattern (but with the colours reversed) is a fantastic look. How great is this inverted print outfit by Gabi Fresh?
Another dynamic look is to pair the same types of prints together. This can be florals on florals, geometric prints, stripes and more. By keeping a similar shape with various colours and sizes, this will make a cohesive look. Margie Plus has nailed the floral on floral look here.
Same Print, Different Colour Or Size
This is a variation on the previous guideline. Instead of the same print family, this one refers to the exact same print, but with the variation of colour and/or size. We're loving this outfit Danielle Vanier is wearing with the same print in both a different size and colour.
Treat Stripes as a Neutral
There are a handful of prints that if you consider them as a neutral you can add it to any other print, without getting overwhelmed with the other possibilities. First up is stripes! Whether they are the thick block stripes or fine pinstripe, this print is so versatile, you can pair it with everything. Check out this wonderful look by Gail from Fab Four Fashion where she pairs a simple stripe with a more graphic print.
Treat Dots As A Neutral
The next simple print that works with pretty well anything is dots. Anything from small polka-dots, to large dots, even irregular dots, will take you a long way. We love this outfit Telly from Telly Loves Fashion styled by pairing dots with this geometric print.
Treat Leopard As A Neutral
You may have heard the quote by J.Crew creative director, Jenna Lyons: "As far as I’m concerned, leopard is a neutral." Well, we couldn't agree more! Taking this animal print and pairing it with fun and possibly bright prints, will draw the eye to the look as a whole. We love how Assa, from My Curves And Curls styled this leopard print skirt with this red and black check.
Use A Solid To Break Up Prints
If you are nervous about how two prints will work together, you can toss on a solid colour to allow the eye a break between the prints, creating an overall balanced look. You can use a belt, top or even bag to accomplish this, just like Rochelle from Beauticurve did with this white top and green bag.
When selecting prints, keep in mind that textures can also come into play. Lace, perforated leather, cable knit, beads, or even fur should be considered prints, though try to keep things subtle to make selecting its print counterpart easier. How fantastic is this lace and floral print pair styled by Jolene from Boardroom Blonde?
If you are feeling anxious at the thought of diving into the world of print mixing, I suggest going slow. Dip your toe in by starting small by pairing a printed accessory with another print. You can use shoes, a hat or a printed bag like Nicolette Mason did here.
When In Doubt, Stick With Two
When starting to add print mixing into your regular rotation, begin by just focusing on two prints. This will make the transition go more smooth. Joi from In My Joi has paired these two prints perfectly.
Venture A Third?
If you want to experiment with three prints it's all about the ratio. The largest sized print should cover the most space, followed by the medium sized print, and the smallest print should cover the least space. Calgary Blogger, Inemesit Etokudo has got this three print look down!
Let The Designer Do The Work
The easiest way to mix prints is to opt for a garment that has already done the work for you. Many dresses, jackets, tops and more are composed of multiple prints and textures. Here, Amarachi Ukachu has worn a beautiful skirt and jacket composed of many beautiful prints.
Every woman, with no exceptions, deserves to feel comfortable in her own body, and to believe that the world is made just as much for her as the next person. That's why with "My Curves Have No Bounds," we're going to get real and talk about our bodies, what we put on them, and how we feel about everything in between. We want to break down the barriers and outdated notions that plus-size women encounter everyday. So check back every other week for more from "My Curves Have No Bounds," by Amanda Montgomery of Latest Wrinkle.