Print blocking this season is the radical evolution of last year’s colour blocking trend as maximalist styling is gaining a lot hype and mixing prints is hot on every fashionista’s agenda. As this trend is a tricky one to pull off, certain guidelines should be maintained to ensure that you’re looking effortlessly chic and not like you’ve fallen into the bargain box at Penney’s.

Designers such as J.Crew, Rodarte, Rebecca Minhoff and Carven have showcased this look on the runways and we’ve seen its influence on many celebrities such as Diane Kruger, Whitney Port and Alexa Chung. If we’re not to take inspiration from these chic ladies, then who, I say? The possibilities for this trend are endless. It is a liberal development in fashion which may not appeal to the fashion conservatives, so look away now minimalists, print blocking is here to stay for Summer and Autumn 2012.

As a playful fashion movement, it evokes in all of us a carefree and more creative attitude towards our wardrobes. It allows for us to make new combinations in the way we put an outfit together, pairing garments which, in the past would have never occurred to us to even think about in the same outfit, to construct categorically stunning and eye-catching outfits by simply mixing prints. So sod the understated approach, embrace your inner Pippi Longstocking and bring her forth to fashion.

However, with a trend like mixing prints, there are some basic guidelines which should be considered to make sure you achieve more fashion genius and less infant who was let dress themself…

Choose one colour story per outfit; it is important that the colours in each pattern complement each other. Harmonious hues will bring the look together and repeat colours are vital to create a balance and direction in the ensemble, unless one or all of the prints are neutral colours of course. Monochromatic neutrals then, are a great way to ease yourself into this daring trend, when you’re not ready to think about clashing colours and patterns just yet.

Mix a louder print with a softer one; this will provide a focal point to a look which is essentially made up of different focal points. Competing prints will not work so allow for a softer pattern to blend with the more dominant and act as the neutral in the relationship. This varies the weight of the pattern and allows for blissful agreement between two otherwise leading elements of a look.

It is obligatory to keep your hair and make-up relatively simple whilst mixing prints; your clothing will be statement enough so expressive hair and make-up is likely to suggest a clown-like quality in the finished look. Accessories that match the tones in the outfit may work to complete a specific look but excessive jewellery is unnecessary. The patterns of the clothing itself is the statement so keep the extras to a minimum. The mixing of prints invites, in turn the mixing of textures which adds great depth to an outfit.

Treat some prints as neutrals; prints like leopard, polka dots and stripes are more familiar to the eye so can therefore be treated as solids to offset louder prints like florals and paisleys. Just ensure that you are balancing the prints and creating the right silhouette as you would with any other outfit.

Mixing prints is huge for Spring/Summer and its prevalence will continue on into Autumn, so experiment with different patterns, designs and textures and become comfortable with this concept of excessive visual splendour and break free from the conventional laws of dressing and embrace print blocking and your inner maximalist now.

Emma Nolan