5 Ways to Power Clash Like a Fashion Pro

If our mothers taught us anything, it’s that stripes and florals are great on their own, but together, they’re a sartorial nightmare. To be honest, it’s some advice we’re starting to reconsider.

More and more, fashionistas are letting their inner Carrie Bradshaw out and doing the unthinkable: pairing prints and colors that don’t necessarily appear to match. Sounds like the recipe for a fashion disaster, right? Maybe. But if it’s handled correctly, the power clash can be just the thing to break you out of a sartorial rut. It communicates confidence, bold personal style and, above all, individuality.

Here, five tips to master power clashing like a pro.

baby blue and bright red power clash outfit on victoria beckham1
Stephane Cardinale/Corbis/Getty Images

They don’t call Victoria Beckham Posh Spice for nothing. It might not be intuitive to pair baby blue with tomato red, but as you can see, it totally works. If you’re not ready to mix prints with panache just yet, simply pair two unexpected colors and build from there. In addition to blue and red, might we suggest purple and red, yellow and burgundy, green and pink or orange and blue?

Work Your Way Up To Prints

A cursory scroll through Blair Eadie of Atlantic Pacific’s Instagram proves that she’s a master at making two disparate patterns work within one outfit. Take, for example, this all-stripes-everything look. One wouldn’t assume that thick black-and-white-striped trousers would play well with the thin red bands on a mint-hued sweater, but it happens to be a successful pairing. It’s all about the cohesion between prints and, of course, the eye-catching accessories in coordinated hues (like that bucket bag) to tie it all together.

cate blanchett power clashing oceans eight
Alessio Botticelli/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Play With Texture

Cate Blanchett has had a long love affair with power clashing. Whether she’s starring in a film, walking a red carpet or grabbing a coffee IRL, the woman knows how to pull together a daring look. I mean, how can you not marvel at the cheetah-floral-aubergine creation that the 49-year-old Ocean’s Eight star rocked on set? Thanks to the heft of the fur coat, airiness of the silk scarf and sleek quality of her suit, the result is effortlessly boho chic.

sarah jessica parker power clashing in two different plaids
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Go Monochromatic

If you’re a Carrie, chances are you likely have power clashing on lock. Here, Sarah Jessica Parker models an unexpected power clash in two different shades of blue plaid. Choose a base color and add different shades in varying prints to make it all fit together. If SJP can rock two different plaids, so can you.

sophie turner power clashing at louis vuitton
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

When All Else Fails, Lean Into Maximalism

Would we think to pair a loud tweed skirt and printed silk blouse together? Probably not. But when Sophie Turner sat front row at Louis Vuitton’s 2019 Cruise show, that’s just what she did. This combination might not work for everyone, but you can pull off anything with a little dose of confidence (and good tailoring). Love two eye-catching pieces in your closet? Throw them on together and let your outfit do the talking. The more divergent the better.

Now, go forth and power clash!

Lex Goodman

Cat mom, yogi, brunch enthusiast

Lex is an LA native who's deeply obsessed with picnics, Slim Aarons, rosé, Hollywood history and Joan Didion. She joined PureWow in early 2017.
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