How to Wear 3 Patterns or Prints (P)

When it comes to creativity and originality in outfits, many people are looking for unique way to express who they are and their aspirations through their outfits. One way many men (and women) choose to do it is by mixing prints and patterns.

While most people stick to two prints or patterns in one outfit, the ones who are more bold choose to dive into a sensitive territory, which is mixing three or more patterns or prints.

In this guide, we take a look at the main rules you should follow when you want to wear three or more prints or patterns.



Know your background

Defining terms

3 Prints AC 2The first thing you need to know about mixing it up is what terms actually mean. In this sense, you should always remember that:

A pattern is a visual construction that is repeated mechanically and that can be repeated infinitely;

A print is a visual construction that features a composition, such as a painting;

A texture is a print that can be both seen and felt


The visual construction elements

Prints and patterns are constructed from three visual elements. These are points, lines and shapes. These can be strong, soft, big, small, straight, wavy, vide, narrow, etc. However, every visual construction you will see is composed of one or more of these elements: points, lines and shapes.



Mixing it up with style


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When you are mixing two prints or patterns (for example, you want to wear a striped shirt with a striped tie), you should always make sure that the two prints are different in terms of size. This means that the elements of visual construction from which the two prints are made (points, lines, shapes) contrast strongly in terms of visual impact. Therefore, thin, subtle lines go with big, thick lines and so on. Of course, this rule does not apply only to mixing prints and patterns of the same type, for example, you can wear small polka dots with thick lines.


When you are creating a combination of three or more prints or patterns, the same rule applies, just that you need to pay more attention to what you are doing, since you have more than two players in the game.

It is not very hard to find two garments that contrast in terms of the size of the print, but when you bring a third one to the table, you might find that it resembles one or the other you already have. Therefore, you always need to make sure that the third one is very different from the printed garments you already have. Otherwise, you risk wearing a muddy look, as two of the prints will appear to merge, but not quite. Being unclear in fashion is not very appealing from an aesthetic point of view.

If you are in doubt on whether two or more of the prints you want to mix are similar, a good way to go is to make sure that the three prints contrast colorwise. Which brings us to our next point…



Color combinations


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When you are mixing three or more patterns and prints, you can either pick only colors that are similar to one another (blue, light green, purple) or colors that contrast very strongly (yellow, red and blue). This type of combination is called a “triad color combination” and can be achieved by choosing colors that lie on equal distance from one another on the color wheel.

The first type of combination is more subtle and elegant and works best for dressier settings, while the second one is rather sporty and goes great on casual and relaxed occasions.


When discussing mixing both colors and patterns, we need to remind you that you can break the rule of not wearing the same pattern twice, but there is a bit of a catch to doing this. One can wear the exact same print twice, three times or even more times. However, if you do this, we recommend going for very different colors. For example, if you wear a shirt that features small checkers, a jacket and vest that also feature small checkers, our advice is to go for colors that contrast highly with each other. For example, the shirt can have bright pink checkers, the vest can feature strong yellow checkers and the jacket can have a blue checkers print. This way, you will generate contrast through color, rather than through the visual construction elements of your prints.


Mixing patterns and prints is a very strong style statement: it communicates that you are not one who is afraid of taking fashion risks and that you know what you like. Making sure that you do it in a way that is visually pleasing to the eye will ensure you that you will look great. And as we always like to say, looking good is a good step to take if you want to feel good, so you should always make the best you can to look great!


Fraquoh and Franchomme






Further reading:

The complete guide to mixing patterns and prints

A guide to coordinating the colors of your clothes (+examples)

Choose the colors of your clothes like a pro!

Choosing the colors of your clothes according to your skin tone

Discovering what colors to wear according to your natural features

Choosing the best color of clothes for dark skin tones

P.S. We want to hear from you! Do you like to mix three or more prints or patterns? How do you do it? What have been your biggest obstacles? Share your feedback, questions or thoughts in the comments below! For more articles on style, fashion tips and cultural insights, you can subscribe to Attire Club via e-mail or follow us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram!




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