After playing around in my closet mixing, matching, and trying to find the perfect contrast of patterns and prints, I discovered a few key tips.
Avoid Crazy Costume-y Pieces. Stay away from prints, colors, and fabrics that remind you of a clown. For me, this included a bright-red dress with huge white polka dots. Avoiding overly costume-y pieces will make the mixing-and-matching process much easier.
Pick One Easy-On-The-Eyes Pattern. Choose one print or pattern that can be categorized as more demure. This can translate to a softer, more neutral color palette, or just a pattern that's easier on the eyes, like thin stripes, black, cream or navy florals, teeny-tiny polka dots, and black-and-white geometric prints. Pair these less frantic patterns with one that's more bold, bright, and "out there." Mixing the two will give you the "pattern-on-pattern" look without looking too clownish.
Go Monochromatic. Choose different patterns in the same color. The playfulness of the look will come through without being overly abrasive. Some great examples of this are a navy silk button-down blouse with white polka dots paired with a navy skirt with purple, cream, and green floral details.
Experiment With Printed Accessories. If you’re still apprehensive about looking like a clown, wear one patterned garment and mix and it with patterned accessories, like mint-green and pink floral socks, or navy, turquoise, and black Aztec socks with floral Mary Jane’s, American flag Converses; a patterned bag or clutch is always a nice touch, too. Word of advise: Make sure to not wear them all at the same time.
I hope this helped. I’ll see you next week for more tricks of the trade!