Mix not match: four easy lessons in clashing prints

This year is all about pushing the sartorial boundary. Mixing and matching is not a secret, but it's a modern wardrobe art-form that takes patience, understanding and time. We're sartorial bartenders but we're not mixing cocktails; instead, we're combining the ingredients of a great outfit to make an even greater one (better than any cocktail if you ask me). Many people shy away from mixing florals together with leopard print or clashing geometric shapes but this year I'm urging you to rise against the doubters and mix, not match. Next time you get the "you're not wearing that with that, are you?", repeat these four points aloud like Gospel truth:

Go big, go small

International stylist and blogger Susie Bubble expertly shows us how to clash big and small prints harmoniously during the aw18 shows at London. She opted for small print on the bottom and big on top. In my opinion (and as a small-busted, petite woman), busy prints work well up top for petite women, while less-busy, large singular prints work well for women with bigger busts. The dual colours bring another fun layer to it too. I love this pink and yellow combination for spring, and the mixture of big-versus-small florals is just the right balance.

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Cropped metallic silk-blend brocade top by Prada, €750 at net-a-porter.comFloral palazzo trousers, €49.95 at Mango, pom-pom slip ons, €79 at stories.com

Spots 'n' stripes

This timeless, classic trend will be carried right through 2018 with the addition of modern and bright colours. These punchy red palazzo trousers from Zara, below, are a gorgeous springtime addition. The change in stripe direction toward the end of the leg is really flattering and helps to elongate your silhouette. The contrasting polka-dot blazer is smart and the white stripe and dots neutralise the whole look bringing it from spring right through to aw18. These pieces work as stand-alone anchor pieces, or together for double the fun.

Striped palazzo trousers, €19.95 at zara.com, spot frill jacket, €89 at Topshop, Weiss studded suede mules by Rag & Bone, €266 at theoutnet.com

Psychedelic trance

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This is not for the sartorial safe, but for the daring and the brave. The only rule here is that no rules apply: go green with brown stripes, purple spots and yellow leopard print and multi-coloured zig-zags and swirls. I've toned this ensemble back slightly by reducing the colour palette to shades of reds, blues, yellows, greens and whites, but nonetheless it's visually stimulating. More is more here. How darling is this delicate yellow wrap top from Ganni?

Bliss wrap top, €479 at Ganni, geometric print trousers, €49.95 at Zara, floral tote bag, €49.95 at Zara

Modern polkas

If you associate polka dots with Minnie Mouse or the party dresses you wore as a little girl, it's time to rethink this surprisingly versatile print. In 2018, who says polka-dots have to be round? I love the idea of rethinking and modernising this print with big, bold circle-like shapes that give the appearance of dots. This crochet cardigan by Uterque, below, is a great example: on first glance, the coloured shapes appear circle-like but on closer inspection are beautifully coloured flowers. The addition of traditional polka-dots on the bottom coherently brings this look effortlessly together.

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Floral cardigan, €199, floral trousers, €99, both at uterque.com, petite amour sunglasses, €177.61 at paredeyewear.com

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