Pattern mixing. It's everywhere. Personally I love mixing patterns. It's the ultimate fashion challenge and requires a bit of skill and knowledge. I see people mixing loads of wild and crazy patterns today that in the past would have been one huge "no no". Sometimes it looks fabulous, sometimes it looks like Pucci threw up on them. There is nowhere for your eyes to rest and it becomes one huge cacophony of confusion. Yes it's different, but I don't want to cause someone a seizure just by looking at me.
I do have one steadfast rule when it comes to mixing patterns, you still need to be seen, not the patterns. I think that holds true for anything we wear really. Clothes are fun but they are there to represent us. If all someone notices is the clothes then in my opinion we've missed our mark. They are meant to be an extension of who we are, not a walking advertisement for the clothing or in this case, the pattern making industry.
A couple things to think about when mixing patterns:
Balance, one larger pattern with a smaller pattern.
Add a solid colour to allow the eyes a resting place. This will also help "ground" your outfit.
Mix up your patterns. Don't go all over floral or all over stripes. Mix stripes and polka-dots, florals and plaids etc.
Go for contrasting colours when choosing your solid colour. It will make the solid colour look more prominent and visually pulls back the pattern.
Cool it on the accessories. If you've got lots of pattern and loads of accessories something is going to get lost along the way and undoubtedly it will be you. Either go really big and bold with one or two large accessories that can compete with everything else, or do what I often do and simply leave them out. It is easy to add on and keep adding, but it takes a keen eye to know when to stop. You need to be the focal point, not your clothes.
Lastly, before you head out the door take a good long hard look at yourself. Does anything look slightly off or weird? Do you feel "over done"? If so, trust yourself. You're the one that needs to wear this with confidence and if you don't feel that way you're never going to fool anyone else.