When it comes to prints, it’s not uncommon to hear that most people are afraid of them, and the few graphic pieces that hang alongside the navys and blacks of a Metropolitan closet, are reserved for an “accent pop.”
I'd like to challenge that fear and offer an alternative view to your seldomly worn decorative garments, and show you how you can mix them all together to add texture and interest to your outfits.
It all goes back to color theory-think of a fall landscape, with the leaves all in different shades of toasted colors, and yet it all seems to work. That’s because our eye will naturally look for patterns to find balance, so we will recognize the dominant color throughout the landscape- the same principle applies to mixing prints.
In the above image, of Alberta Ferretti’s pre fall 2021, the green and orange of the plaids are repeated throughout, and the outfit is grounded with solid colors of brown and green which also exist in the print.
Same idea applies to this editorial shot of Adele from her November cover feature. The blue in the striped shirt is picking up the blue in the plaid jacket, so these two seemingly unrelated prints get along just fine!
Accessories will support this method in creating balance with color as well. Say you have a blazer that you love, but nothing in your closet shares a common color. In this case, look for a layering piece with a similar color value- all colors range on a spectrum of hot and cold, some are more yellow, some are more blue (think about it in terms of all the photo filters we have). If the colors are within the same color value, when you put them next to each other, they won’t look strange. Trust your eye, this is a built in human attribute! From there, you can bring in an accessory, like a scarf, bag or tie in the color of the more dominant piece (usually the jacket).
Above is a perfect example of this idea at work. Notice how the jacket is more of a blue/green, which is why the blue check shirt underneath doesn’t feel off, and the tie mimics the color of the jacket, literally tying the look together.