Like wearing black with brown, rocking white after Labor Day, or a redhead sporting red – some sacred style rules just don’t stick anymore. The most recent fashion law that chic celebs are breaking nowadays? Clashing prints! Taking inspiration from Spring 2012 runways at Honor, Anna Sui, and Karen Walker, our favorite ladies are pulling off combos of florals, stripes, dots, and more with enviable panache.
Do: Pick a neutral print as your home base.
When in doubt, choose one neutral-colored print, like Emma’s black-and-white blouse, to ground your look. It also shares the same little black accents as her bolder-printed skirt, which is a plus!
Do: Mix loose and structured prints.
This pairing of relaxed, flowy florals and strong, thick stripes works harmoniously because they’re both contrasting and complementary, tied together by the same color combo. Adding a gutsy pair of yellow heels doesn’t hurt either.
Don’t: Be sloppy with fitting.
Here, Gwen’s got the similar black-and-white suit separates going on, mixing a houndstooth jacket (with a great pop of red that matches her lipstick) and skinny pinstripe pants. The problem? The horrendous fit of her pants. The bunching up at her crotch is rather distracting, so make sure your mismatched separates are tailored and clean-cut if you’re going to clash.
Do: Pick colors in complementary families.
There’s a way to use complementary colors without having the look come out too jarring, like your outfit is sliced in half. Solange’s bright blue printed suit packs even more punch with a red print dappled on her blouse.
Do: Use the same print, in different scales.
In this outfit, Milla mixes timeless polka dots in different sizes, which make a visually interesting combo without looking like an accident. Her simple bob and classic, neutral bag give off a retro 40s vibe.
Don’t: Mix animal prints in the same color.
Let’s see, do we focus on the spots first, or the stripes? Or perhaps the stripper-like lace up top? Is Melanie Griffith wearing the offspring of some zebra-leopard mating scheme gone bad? Who knows? If you’re going to mix animal prints, pick at least one in a color (like a neon shade) so no one wonders what animal you are.
Do: Leopard with floral is a new classic.
Given the intensity of these two prints, florals and leopard can be a potential eyesore of an outfit, but Olivia makes it work. Her delicate floral pants tame the wildness brought on by her leopard print pumps, steering them into almost neutral territory. Streamlining with a black blazer is also key, making her outfit both unconventional and sophisticated.
Do: Branch out into “crazy” prints!
Somehow, Whitney Port makes print-clashing look way too easy in this dotted top with blue and black eyeball-print tap shorts. Like Olivia Palermo, paring down on accessories and keeping the rest of the outfit simple gives Whitney an overall polished ensemble.
Do: Pick one thing that does all the work for you.
See how easy this is? Although the dress looks absolutely dizzying with swirls upon swirls of floral patterns, the clean, structured bell-shape silhouette makes this one-piece an absolute stunner.
Don’t: Pile on too many trends at once!
When picking a one-piece-does-it-all outfit, the prints OR the structure should really draw your eye where you want it to go—but since this frock includes dots, floral jacquard, maybe a little dip-dye, and pleats (all in one drop-waist dress!) we’re not sure what exactly happened here.