You’ve heard it from your mom, your friends, and all over social media: don’t mix patterns. We’ve been told we can’t pair stripes and florals. Or plaid and cheetah. It seems that any combination of these prints is met with a chorus of “those don’t work well together!” or “that doesn’t match!

I’ve experienced these criticisms myself. According to my mom, floral pants and a striped tee was “not my best look” for the first day of elementary school. I, of course, dramatically stomped back upstairs to change. For the record, I thought I looked great.

As an avid fashion-lover, my sense of style has shifted throughout the years. Self-expression for me often took form as fashion experimentation: mixing colors, textures, styles and fabrics. I loved pairing things that didn’t necessarily “go together.” And I always took pride in what I wore, even when my siblings, parents, or friends told me that pieces of my outfit “didn’t match.”

Luckily, recent trends like animal print, bold, neon colors, and textured fabrics allow for lots of flexibility when it comes to pairing colors, patterns, and textures. Any look once labeled as a faux pas is now fair game for my fellow fashion-lovers, free spirits, and pattern enthusiasts. However, it can seem intimidating to hop on the bandwagon of such a bold trend. Everyone is completely entitled to express their own style (there really are no rules in fashion!). But, if you’re looking for a sign to finally pull out all your patterned clothing: this is it.

Need some inspiration on how to incorporate the pattern-mixing trend into your daily look? Here are some tips on different ways to spice up your rotation of outfits for the week.

Add some texture! Go above and beyond by combining a fuzzy striped sweater or a printed fur coat will add some dimension to your outfit. If you’re feeling especially bold, this might be a good way to take your outfits to the next level. My go-to look? My cheetah print fur coat with a cute graphic tee and cropped jeans. Easy peasy.

Focus on the little things: accessories! Using hats, scarves, belts, or bags in a range of colors, styles, and prints is an easy and more subdued way to mix your patterns. My personal favorite is using patterned hair scarves! It’s super easy to tie a colorful scarf into your ponytail or around your bun. Wearing your hair down? Tie the scarf to the strap of your purse or bag to add some flair.

Finally, be confident! Don’t be afraid to combine crazy prints, non-complementary colors, or wild textures. Try experimenting with things that you wouldn’t normally pair together. Fashion is subjective and should be a fun form of self-expression. Use some of these ideas to introduce pattern-mixing into your style for this season, and ignore everyone who still tells you your outfits “don’t match.”

Don’t be afraid to mix! Rock your best patterns on campus this season.

COVER PHOTO: The Handmade Home

Grace Carter

About Grace Carter

Grace Carter is a junior whose favorite times of the day include breakfast, lunch, and dinner. When she's not writing for our Fashion and Beauty team, she's probably eating Sriracha.