Spring Fashion 2012 Boot Camp: How To Mix Prints

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When I was a wee lad growing up in the heartland of fashion, Milwaukee, I would have strong debates with my dear mom about my morning sartorial choices. Like most 5-year-olds, I wanted to wear what I wanted to wear, rules of color and print coordination be damned.

Fashion-forward ten, twenty, (okay, let’s just say a lot) of years to spring 2012, which is all about the print. And, just when you thought you had the whole print game down, they throw you yet another fashion curveball. You’ve got to now mix them.

If the thought of mixing your polka dots with your florals puts the fear of life into your wardrobe, fear not. In this boot camp, we teach you how to mix it up this spring, whether you’re a beginner or a pro.

Freshmen: Mixing Black and White Prints

Mixing Black and White Prints

The first step to getting your mixing game on is to start with mixing black and white prints. We start with basic black and white print, versus starting with another color like a red or blue, because 99% of us can agree what is black and what is white. My red, however, may be your pink and vice versa. In the interest of keeping it simple we start with plain ole black and white.

Mixing black and white prints, while stark, doesn’t take as much skill as say, mixing a violet printed top with a bright orange pant. All you have to remember is to keep your clothing pieces in the same fabric family (cotton plus cotton, rayon plus rayon) and make sure the blacks and whites match (versus pairing an off-white with a bright white). You also want to try bolder pattern combinations (like the one shown above), rather than smaller prints

Intuitively, you’re probably thinking “Hey Kathy, shouldn’t I start off with mixing small prints?” And my answer to you would be “No, ignore your intuition.” Here’s why. Small prints are too small for people to notice that you’re doing this intentionally. You want there to be no question at this level that you’re mixing it up on purpose and not because you’ve lost touch with fashion reality.

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