How To Wear It: Pattern Mixing

How to pull off the pattern mixing trend, inspired by British designer Mary Katrantzou.

London designer Mary Katrantzou is the indisputable queen of prints. Her latest, critically acclaimed collection, showed at London Fashion Week, did not disappoint as models strutted down the runway in a virtual explosion of color and wildly mixed prints. It’s a look that screams spring and something you should definitely try at home, right now. If you want to try your hand at pattern mixing, here are our suggestions and ethical fashion picks to help you get the look.

Make sure the patterns and colors you are mixing are different enough to create contrast and visual depth, like this look from Mary Katrantzou’s F/W 2012 collection. It’s safe to stay with one brightly-colored piece and mix it with more neutral tones. Think outside of the box and get extra wear out of a dress by wearing it underneath a skirt, like a blouse. This dress by Organic by John Patrick has a little bit of yellow in it, which will nicely complement the yellow skirt from AFIA. Add a pair of patterned loafers from Jeffrey Campbell’s vegan capsule collection for Convert.

Mosaic collarless dress, $338, Juno & Jove / Yellow Peplum skirt AFIA / Jeffrey Campbell Vegan “Martini” black & white flat, $120, Convert

To emulate this look by Mary Katrantzou, stick with colors that are similar in hue, such as greens and blues. This way, you can get away with mixing two prints, like these painterly pants by Suno and stipple-print blouse by Rachel Comey, that are both fairly delicate. Complete the look with a neon green Ivana Helsinki bag featuring a larger feather print.

Rachel Comey Double Bow Blouse, $320, Beklina / Low Crotch Pants, on sale for $165, Suno / IvanaHelsinki Feather Bags (sold as set of two), $40, Beklina

If you’re feeling really daring and want to go print-crazy, like this Mary Katrantzou look, don’t be scared – confidence is all you really need to successfully pull off anything. Coats worn as dresses were seen on many runways this season, and it’s the perfect way to get more wear out of a great spring-coat, like this one from Suno. Pair it with a pair of ikat-patterned vegan wedges by Jeffrey Campbell for Convert and a python-print vegan bag with magenta trim by Stella McCartney and you’ll undoubtedly turn some heads.

Paneled Trench, on sale for $360.30, Suno / Chalk Falabella Faux Python Big Tote, $1,545, Stella McCartney / Jeffrey Campbell vegan platform shoes, $129, Convert

Prada’s F/W 2012 collection also featured some interesting pattern mixing. This look is a great example of how sticking to one color while mixing different patterns will always create a pulled-together look. If you’re trying out this trend for the first time, this would be a good place to start. Pair a hand-printed polka-dot blouse by People Tree with printed pants by Lina Rennell and zig-zag patterned flats by OlsenHaus – all in muted shades of peach.

People Tree Louisa Spot Blouse, approx. $135, Regent Tailoring / Lina Rennell Pants, $310, Beklina / Legacy Gold/Silver flats, $175, OlsenHaus

A look we are particularly loving right now is mixing floral and leopard print, something that doesn’t seem like it would work but totally does. To pull it off as nicely as Olivia Palermo does here, pair a sweet tropical print dress by Covet with vegan leopard-print heels by OlsenHaus. For a more discreet look, do like Palermo and add a bag in a bright solid color, or be daring and go for an ikat-print bag by JADEtribe. And when it comes to mixing patterns, daring is always better.

Tropical Hi-Lo Dress by Covet, $235, Future:Standard /Angel Leopard Red heels, $225, OlsenHaus /Black & Beige Nicole Messenger by JADEtribe, $175, Juno & Jove

Johanna Björk

Johanna is a sustainable fashion writer currently based in Ojai, CA. Read her weekly On Trend column to learn what's new in eco fashion.