Seen on the Spring 2019 runways of Louis Vuitton and Burberry, mixed prints are making their way into everyday ensembles and gymwear, too. “Incorporating prints into one’s athleisure wardrobe has become more prevalent than ever,” says Lisa Chiswick, a New York City-based buyer for The Shop at Equinox.
"It’s an opportunity to express yourself in a way that you may not feel as comfortable doing outside of the gym. Animal prints and camo continue to be the number one prints we're loving for workout looks."
Figuring out how to match patterns together isn’t always intuitive, but there are some simple tricks you can use to create of-the-moment outfits that won’t give off the vibe that you got dressed in the dark.
Micro prints pair well with large-scale ones, since there’s less visual competition between the two. Animal prints and florals are a staple combination, but geometric patterns—like stripes and polka dots—are also easy to mix and match if you follow this rule. While some runway looks feature clashing colors, picking two pieces in the same color family ensures they’ll look good together. A muted animal print sports bra feels wearable for the color-shy. Throw a super soft sheer tee, like this, on top for extra coverage during post-workout errands and knot it at the waist to show a peek of abs. Complete the look with a pair of second-skin-like leggings featuring oversized blooms.
When done with the right pieces, wearing the same print in two different hues comes off as edgy. To execute this look well, pick one piece in a neutral and another in a color. This heavyweight cotton t-shirt gets in on the tie-dye and 90s-revival trends at the same time. Wear it for active recovery workouts with these shorts. Built for distance running, but suitable for weightlifting, bootcamp, and more, they’re equipped with built-in compression, four pockets, and a key hook. Add two printed pieces with solid accessories that coordinate with one of the colors already in your outfit, like these supportive trainers.
For those new to mixing prints, sticking with black and white is a near foolproof way to experiment. Keeping strategy number one in mind, choose two patterns in different prints and scales, then add a colorful accessory to brighten things up. This flattering cropped sweater has zippered chest vents that allow you to customize the fit and the level of ventilation. Pair with a subtly patterned bottom, like these black leggings with tiny printed palm trees that give a tropical hit of style in the dead of winter.
Adding a printed shoe (or gym bag, baseball cap, headband, etc.) is a simple way to get another motif into your outfit—especially if you’re working with two very different prints in varying color palettes. Tops and sneakers, leggings and headbands, and leggings and hats are all combos that work well. Show off the print of the season, camo, by wearing this sleek sports bra under a low-armhole tank top. Then, pair these animal print sneakers—the pattern is color-blocked with black, so they are versatile—with any neutral bottom, like these mesh-inset shorts.