Should it Stay or Should it Go: Are Clashing Prints Really our Style?

We need to talk about The Clash.

No, not the band, the trend. Over the last few seasons wearing things (i.e prints) that technically do not match has fast become a fashion fad that won't go away. I have to challenge the practicality of this kind of styling, as it's just a little "in-your-face" and not something you can honestly get away with in the office.

But it just has this gravitational pull on me that keeps grabbing my attention. As a stylist, I have to examine trends like this and identify ways to make them wearable, and this one has really tested my patience. I've tried, through my own wardrobe, to make it work and failed miserably so I had to take to the shops to experiment.

Winter prints tend to have more depth to them I think. And taking inspiration from designers like London based designers such Peter Pilotto, Erdem and Mary Katrantzou, it's less about the floral and more about the geometric, block and animal prints.

Blouse, Kenzo, €455; Printed Trousers, DVF, €310 both from Brown Thomas Do not adjust your set, your eyes are SUPPOSED to feel like they are kinda boggling out of your head:                            Blouse, Kenzo, €455; Printed Trousers, DVF, €310 both from Brown Thomas

To go all out with the clash, we need to keep to some guidelines.

The colour scheme is important and if you opting for separates, they should have at least one colour in common. Black, white and other dark shades are the best palette to work with (and the print options for next season are pretty endless).

Above I've styled animal print silk trousers from Diane Von Furstenberg with a shirt from Kenzo, both of which have a monochrome foundation. So even though its an outgoing look, the colours help the prints to blend. There's no need to accessorize too much either as the clothes are doing all the work here; and the same goes for shoes.


Keeping to one colour in a minimal style will complement the boldness of the outfit.

39th Annual People's Choice Awards - Press Room Emma Watson

Poppy Delevingne and Emma Watson are both fans. And taking some celeb-style inspiration from Diane Kruger, stripes and simple prints are totally allowed, once the print is not too complex and we still stick to the common colour rule.

Left: Printed Shirt, €46, Littlewoods; Striped Skirt, €380, Raoul at Arnotts Left: Printed Shirt, €46, Littlewoods; Striped Skirt, €380, Raoul at Arnotts

When choosing a stripe, try a vertical or diagonal stripe which may be more flattering. It can elongate rather than widen (my hips hate horizontal stripes, Diane's shape gets away with it easily).

In terms of shapes, structure is important here. Clashing works well on collared shirts and box-shaped tops, as well as pencil and tulip shape skirts (as seen on Poppy Delevingne).


So what do you think? Is this trend just too difficult or are you brave enough to take it on?

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