Mixing is great. Whether it be drinks, playlists, singles, or your outfit, combining different things that compliment and contrast each other adds spice to the ordinary, and razzle to the dazzle.
Mixing your looks is a creative process that requires a focused editorial eye and a confidence measured by knowing what you like, and why you like it. When you successfully master the art of mixing, you graduate to the next level of fashionista.
There are several ways for a fashionista to practice mixing. Retro with fashion forward is my particular favorite, and likely the easiest to pull off. Start with one retro center piece, and build your outfit around it. Mix colors or prints in the same outfit. Different magnification or hues will match up well with each other, assuming you remain open minded and forget everything you were ever taught about not combining prints. It does take practice, as does anything worth doing right. Remember to forget the rules, rely on your instinctual taste, and keep your editorial eye in focus. Don't ask yourself what others will think, ask yourself if you can own it. If the answer is yes, then why not go for it?
Matching is where we fashion sense is born. Accomplishing the matching game is like winning at Memory. While in it's simplest form, matching is simply putting together pieces that look the same, there is something to be said for a monochromatic look. You might think matching is the easiest to accomplish, and in most examples, you would be right! However, when matching a monochromatic outfit, beware not to go too matchy-matchy. All one shade can be dangerous in color, and even in neutral. Once it gains momentum toward downhill, it's hard to turn it around. Try mixing different shades of the same color for a stronger and simultaneously softer affect to the monochromatic look.
Of course, there are plenty of other ways to match without going strictly down the one color alley. There are dozens of examples of fashionable sets that are sold in the market. Sweater sets were popular in the 1950s and are a definite sexy throwback in todays fashion game. Paired with a skinny belt, the sweater set offers a retro nod to a conservative outfit. Jewelry is often sold in sets, and while perfectly fine worn as a matching ensemble, do yourself a favor and practice your mixing by breaking these sets up and wearing them with other garments or jewels. Cardigans and jewelry are no brainers, and an ideal stepping stone to working the versatile potential in most every wardrobe.
If you've never heard the term "it doesn't have to match, it just has to go", then it's time to perk up your style ears. While mixing and matching are fine and dandy, effortless style doesn't require such fine tuned definitions, acting in place of our long lost rules. As long as it goes, it doesn't matter if it's mixed or matched. The average naked eye can tell if something goes, so rely on that style instict, that fashionable gut feeling that says you've got a winner, and then be confident in your choices, which are inevitably a reflection of you. Nothing says smart like a well put together statement of a first impression.