June 8, 2011 at 2:48 PM ET
From florals to ikat and everything in between, designers mixed patterns all over recent runways. So now is a better time than ever to break-free from old fashion rules and revive your style. TODAY style editor and Bobbie.com's Bobbie Thomas encourages you to tackle the trend, and shows you how.
There’s an abundance of floral prints this time of year, so why not blend them together? Instinctively we match patterns with solids, but a double dose of flower power can be fashion forward. Smaller blooms can compliment larger designs, and similar color schemes can help pull a look together. But don't be afraid to break the rules, and intend to "clash" patterns of similar size or bright colors will duller ones. Often, these tiny tweaks will transform your look from feminine and sweet to punchy and playful. While mixing it up is a current trend, you can most likely shop in your own closet. Think outside the box, and pull out pieces you never thought to wear together. "Accidents" are my favorite discovery. (Solitare Floral Wrap Blouse $14.99, Tjmaxx.com; Studio West Coral Floral Skirt $14.99, Filenesbasement.com)
Walk on the wild side and dare to pair different animal prints or combine culturally-influenced motifs together for a standout look. Strong colors and loud designs can actually balance and compete with each other in a good way. Sometimes, a powerful accessory is exactly what you need, so don’t walk past a brocade belt or ornate clutch. You'll add an element of surprise to otherwise expected ensemble. And if you still not sure, don’t worry — designers like Rachel Roy are making mix and match work for you with multi-patterned pieces that put a bazaar's worth into one garment. (Excursion Dress $109, Rachelroy.com)
Everything old is new again, and 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s-inspired themes are en vogue. So take advantage of the retro revival and try argyle, checks and/or polka dots together. Color can be another way to wear this idea, rather than matching shades exactly work mustards with lemon yellow, lime green with mint and orange with peach. These pieces also provide a great platform to try unique accessories like sunglasses, watches, hats, etc. Just be careful not to overdo it. Consider grounding your outfit with basics like a simple blazer or nude belt. (BDG Stripe Pocket Tank Top, Pins And Needles Cardigan $29-$49, Urbanoutfitters.com; Karisimbi Shorts $78, Anthropologie.com)
Geometric patterns tend to mesh well when combining black and white-based schemes with primary colored prints like blue and red. And stripes are definitely having a moment beyond nautical. Prada offered up striking head to toe looks that prove stripes can be worn with even more stripes. Integrate varying sized lines with common colors or just add a twist to your classic striped tee with the addition of a striped scarf or bag.
For more inspiration, look to the home design realm. Magazines and blogs share images full of assorted fabrics, textures, and shades masterfully woven together and balanced. While there really are no rules when it comes to mismatching, aside from that YOU like it, keeping a constant like color can be helpful. (Striped Top $39.90, Zara.com; Sold Designer Lab White Jeans $98, Lordandtaylor.com; Graphic Print Tee, Striped Bodycon Skirt $12.50-$15.80, Forever21.com; Tan and Blue Sandals $49.90, Zara.com)