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001: How to Mix Patterns like a Pro with Cara [NSB Podcast]

How to mix patterns outfit | mixing patterns fashion | Never Skip Brunch Podcast by Cara Newhart | #style #podcast

Episode 001

I n this episode, I talk mixing prints. Rocking mixed prints can be difficult if you really want to achieve an elegant look vs. looking overly playful or colorful. Mixing prints elegantly is actually pretty simple.

I've got a super simple 2-step strategy to mixing prints like a pro, plus 10 print "rules" to help you know what to mix with what. If you want to go crazy and mix prints without rules, then get it girl - but these guidelines will help you elegantly achieve a mixed-print look super easy. They include some basic guidelines as well as tips for mixing more subtly if you like a look that isn's so bold.

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Cara:                                          00:00
You're listing to the Never Skip Brunch podcast, episode number one.


Announcer:                           00:15
Never Skip brunch is a life and style dossier inspired by a casual chic style with pops of color. It's a space for women to become fearless with their style and create a beautifully lived in life. Cara Newhart brings you wellness, beauty, fashion, and lifestyle tips and tricks with amazingly brilliant guests dedicated to helping you build a beautifully lived in life. Southern raised and living in Denver, Cara Newhart is the creator of Never Skip Brunch as an influencer, Kara has worked with brands like h and m, Kendra Scott, Alba Botanica express low c, 10, charming Charlie, Thrillist, and hair story. She's Tequila loving, color & prints obsessed, and passionate about helping others build a lived in life they love. Pop some champagne and join us. Here's your host, Cara Newhart.

Cara:                                          01:16
Hello, hello and welcome to Never Skip Brunch! I'm Cara and I am so excited. I finally got my butt into gear and launched this podcast. So while this is the first episode, I've actually been podcasting for almost a year over at My Haute Society, which is a community for bloggers and influencers. We've had all kinds of different guests talking all about blogging, but I wanted to space that could just be mine where we can talk about style and beauty and lifestyle and all of the fun things we already talked about on the blog. So welcome to episode one. I'm so excited to be here with you guys today and while I do plan to have some amazing guests on in the future today, it's just me and we're going to be talking about something that I get asked all the time and I'm constantly giving advice on.

Cara:                                          02:05
And that is how to mix patterns like a pro. So if you've been around, Never Skip Brunch for any amount of time, you've probably noticed that I love color and I love prints. I love to wear crazy loud pieces and just rock them because I think color is so much fun and it can help say so much about your personality and who you are. So when it comes to mixing patterns, I know that can be really intimidating, especially if your goal is to go for a very sophisticated look and not look too fun and too playful. Um, so I'm going to go over just kind of my keys to mixing patterns like you mean it. So wearing mixed prints doesn't really have to be intimidating and you don't have to be a Fashionista to be able to pull mixed prints off. So I'm gonna walk you through how I mix patterns and give you some of my best tips.

Cara:                                          02:55
So the first thing is that you're going to want to choose one pattern dominant. So you want to pick the pattern that's going to be the focal point of your look. A dominant pattern is the focus because it's bolder, louder, or there's just more of it than the other patterns. So the dominant pattern is going to be the one that's the most eye-catching or noticeable. And it's going to command attention when you look at your outfit. Okay, So here's a few things to keep in mind when you're looking for that dominant pattern and try to shoot for like one or two of these. So first one is bright colors, meaning saturated hues or eye-catching colors like red, pink, yellow, kind of those really bright, bright, bright colors. Number two is a large scale print. So think like big flowers, big geometric lines. I'm a pattern that's very large or number three, a lot of it.

Cara:                                          03:49
So even if the pattern doesn't have bright colors or a large scale, it can still be a dominant pattern if it covers a large surface area. So think a dress or a jumpsuit. I know I have like this one black and white polka dotted jumpsuit. And when I wear it I'm just like all polka dots and I usually have to break that up with like a jacket or something else cause it's kind of too much. Okay. So then you're going to choose a second pattern that is going to act as an accent. So your accent pattern needs to compliment your dominant pattern, but it's going to add interest without competing for the spotlight. So what you're looking for in an accent pattern is essentially the exact opposite from your dominant pattern. So again, you're choosing any two of these so you want muted colors or black and white, so that's gonna help out balance the bright colors and the dominant pattern.

Cara:                                          04:39
So the look is overwhelming with way too much going on and you would look for like a small scale print. So think like smaller, really elegant flowers, maybe some stripes that have really fine lines or I'm a pattern with really small details and you're also looking for having not a lot of it. So if you have a lot of like two different patterns, you have equal amounts than your outfit is going to get super busy super fast. So one of the keys to mixing prints is to really balance the amount of them so that you don't have prints all over, you still want to have some solids and you want the ratio of like dominant print to your secondary print, not to be 50 / 50. So you're not just like print on top a different print on bottom. Okay. So that's my like two steps, secret process for mixing prints and then I have some kind of like tried and true print rules as far as like what you can mix with what so you don't have to follow like all 10 of these rules at the same time because like true fashion really doesn't even have rules, but these are just really good guidelines for if you want kind of that sophisticated look but you still want it to be a little bit fun and a little bit playful and he want to be mixing patterns but not so you look like you belong.

Cara:                                          05:56
Like I don't know, at the circus or some kind of overdone outfit or like you're trying too hard. These are really good. I'm kind of rules of them to just kind of check your outfit against and just see if you're kind of way out of line on any of them. If you are and you want to rock it, that's totally fine, but this is more for you guys that don't really know where to start or don't feel like you know what you're doing and you kind of just want someone to give you a little direction. So number one is to treat stripes as a neutral, so stripes are so classic and they're really such a gorgeously common print that wearing them can kind of uplevel your outfit and make it look really polished. Even if you have other prince going on, it's not gonna. Get too cluttered and confusing, so stripes are basically a neutral.

Cara:                                          06:45
You can mix them with anything as long as the colors are somewhat complimentary or if they're like clearly contrasting on purpose. Number two is if you want to mix the same pattern on a top and a bottom or in a layered look, you either need to one, invert the colors or to use a larger and smaller version, so that's. Think polka dots. If I'm going to want to wear a polka-dotted top and polka dot and bottoms, maybe on the bottom I have a very subtle polka dot, like let's say black pants with very tiny white polka dots or. And then on the top I would have like some big bold polka dots. That's the larger and smaller version or you can invert the colors, so if it's the same pattern, it'd be like black on white polka dots on the top and then white on black on the bottom.

Cara:                                          07:36
So that's how you mix the same pattern. You don't want to get too crazy and have like two different Polka dot patterns that are two different sizes into in like four different colors. That's like way too much. Then number three is to mix prints with neutrals. If you're going for a polished look, so if bright, bold pops of color are maybe not your thing, you can just mix prints in neutral palettes, so think like creams, whites, blacks, even navy is in neutral and mixing those neutrals is going to give you a more polished look anymore. I'm a less playful look. Then crazy bright colors would, okay, and then number four is kind of another way to more subtly mix your patterns, but it is to keep your patterns in this same color family. So for example, different hues of the same color or warm tones and cold tone.

Cara:                                          08:28
So if you're in the same color family, your prints are going to be different prints, but maybe there'll be all blue or they're different prints, but maybe they're all kind of in the pink blushy, um, color family. So that's also gonna help you have a Polish look because you are sticking to kind of one hue and one tone versus like going all over the rainbow. Number five has to do with, if you are going to try to match different prints, you're going to mix patterns that have a single color that's the same between them. So we're talking like two totally different prints, like maybe a floral and stripes or a plaid. You want to have a single color that matches and there's enough of it that you can tell it matches. Like you don't want to poke it out with a really tiny pink Polka dot that you're trying to match with another print.

Cara:                                          09:19
If that's the only color that's the same and you probably won't even be able to see that. They like coordinate and they match, so that's how you like match prints that are different. Number six is if you're wanting to contrast prints, you're going to spare the same print in contrast in colors, so think like like a bright red floral pattern on top and then a really cool blue subtle pattern on the bottom so you're looking for like contrast in colors, similar to number five where you're looking at the colors in the print and trying to match those, but you still with us, you still want to stick with those two rules before of how you're going to have your dominant print and you're gonna have your secondary print and they're not really competing. They're not 50/50. There's just like one as your main print and the second is just kind of your accent.

Cara:                                          10:07
Number seven is another one for all of you out there that are not as crazy as I am, and it is to substitute strong textures as prints, something with really a threaded we've or just really a lot of texture but not actually printed. Still can work as a print and still can follow within all these rules because that texture is still gonna. Draw attention, um, and it's going to bounce light so it still works like a print and it is a way to do it way more subtly versus like an actual print. Then number eight is don't let your prince touch if you want a more muted look. So if you think about it, if you have two different prints and they're right next to each other, it's going to look busy no matter if you're following all the rules. So if you want to really muted, look a more subtle approach, you're going to have your prints not be touching.

Cara:                                          11:00
So an example would be like your shirt or your shoes or maybe your handbag and your pants, um, different things that aren't like right on top of each other. You're not going to layer like a blazer and a jacket, you're going to kind of keep them more separated and it's still gonna. Help your outfit look kind of fun and playful, but it's going to be a lot more muted and a lot less bold. Number nine is if you want to lazy girl alternative, which you guys know I'm all about the lazy girl hacks. Choose tops with pre-mixed prints to take the guesswork out of it. So a lot of designers have tops where there are maybe some floral panels and some geometric panels, but it's all on the same top. You don't actually have to like mix the print yourself and you don't have to worry about being in style because a designer has already taken care of the print mixing for you.

Cara:                                          11:52
And then number 10. My final rule is when in doubt, throw on some Polka dots or stripes. So both of these prints are very, very classic and can be very elegant. So if you are iffy about prince at all, if you don't know where to start and you find them super intimidating polka dots and prince are kind of the easiest go to. Um, and then I would say in terms of like dresses, obviously floral is kind of the safe space for that. Okay. Well, I hope this episode was like super duper helpful. I basically told you all of my tricks and everything I know about mixing prints you can hop over to this post because I have um, all of this in a super handy dandy download that you can snag if you are kind of more of a visual person or you just want to like save all this info for later and not have to like listen to all 15 minutes.

Cara:                                          12:45
Again, you can just have the super easy download and you can also pin this post for later. So if it's something you know you want to come back to, you know, you want to snag the download but maybe you're like on your run or you're in a car driving, commuting, whatever. Just go pin it for later and then you will have it and yes, so the other thing I wanted to tell you about his blog cast, so they are on the same stream as the podcast, but they are actually just like a live reading of my blog posts so that you can catch them on the go. So the podcast will have their own designated episodes with numbers within the same feed, will have different guests, will have me kind of one on one with you behind the mic. And then we have the blogcasts where if you just want to catch blog posts you can just listen to them really easily. So if you liked this post at all, I would just love it. If you would subscribe, you can come back for more. We're going to be talking about all things style, beauty, life and more so hit that subscribe button for more. You can leave a review if you want to show a little extra love and I will talk to you babes next time.

Announcer:                           14:02
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How to mix patterns outfit | mixing patterns fashion | Never Skip Brunch Podcast by Cara Newhart | #style #podcast
How to mix patterns outfit | mixing patterns fashion | Never Skip Brunch Podcast by Cara Newhart | #style #podcast
How to mix patterns outfit | mixing patterns fashion | Never Skip Brunch Podcast by Cara Newhart | #style #podcast


I'm Cara, the designer & Chief Creative Enthusiast behind Never Skip Brunch. I'm a color & prints obsessed DIY queen who's here to help you create a beautifully lived-in life through home design advice and chic DIY tutorials I want to channel all the good vibes & 'grammable moments of brunch & curate a space that helps you grow your crafty side so you can make like a pro.


  1. you really know how to mix your prints babe! i think mixing prints is such a fun way to spice up a summer look 🙂 thanks for sharing x

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