If you don’t generally like wearing prints, because of their benefits, I hope you will at least consider a few of these 7 reasons to include prints in your wardrobe. Perhaps you haven’t thought about prints as a way of stretching your wardrobe, but you might after reading this article.
My clients either love prints or do not like them at all, with possibly a stripe here or there as an exception. If you are print-averse, I get it, but remember not all prints are colorful and bold. New to the fashion scene is the increasingly popular snake skin which is more subtle with neutral tones.
Be open to at least consider prints because of the benefits not only to your closet but to your own coloring and shape. Prints can accomplish any or all of the following 7 reasons to include prints in your wardrobe. They …
- Stretch your wardrobe, creating more outfits with fewer pieces
- Extend the wear of sleeveless pieces to three seasons for warmer climates
- Create the perfect value contrast for your personal coloring
- Achieve your desired color contrast (amount of color in an outfit)
- Camouflage by making fluffy areas look smaller
- Make areas that are small appear larger (small bust, narrow hips for a V shape body, etc.)
- Help blend a slightly ‘off’ color of an old favorite piece that no longer matches current trend colors.
Prints Expand and Bridge
Prints create more outfits with interest than sticking to only solids. And, prints can carry an article through multiple seasons, especially here in the south.
Variation 1: Wear a sleeveless print top in the summer with a skirt, shorts or cropped pants.
Variation 2: Add a long sleeve t-shirt under it and a belt for a nice transitional spring look.
Variation 3: A jacket as an outer layer can take it into the fall.
Variation 4: Use shoes to uplevel the style with heels or wedges, or pair with sneakers and utility pants to keep it very casual.
Not only does this one print top (below) create 8 outfits, but it bridges from spring to summer to fall.
Print outfits are a great way to achieve the value contrast best for your coloring. Value contrast has to do with the difference between the lightest color/neutral and the darker color/neutral in your outfit. For example, the print outfit below has a high contrast with a dark navy background and burgundy with light white flowers. The medium value marine blue leaves in the print, brings the contrast to medium high, which works perfectly with my own personal coloring.
Wearing only solids to achieve the value contrast best for your own coloring gets boring. Use prints in your outfits to create some variety while achieving your best value contrast.
If your personal coloring includes more color than neutrals, you will look best in multiple colors in an outfit. A small print item close to the face can bring multiple colors in one item. That often feels more tame to women who prefer to wear only neutrals, but doing so will wash out the brightness of their eyes or hair color.
All Prints Are Not The Same
Even if you don’t typically like prints, there are safe prints to experiment. There are adventurous prints and tame prints. Adventurous prints I describe as colorful and busy with not a lot of background, referred to as a dense print. A dense print makes the area is rests upon look smaller.
It’s not necessarily the size of the print, but also how close together the print is that creates the illusion of looking smaller. Clearly print outfits bring an advantage when they can make your challenge area appear smaller or larger, whichever you prefer for your shape. You just have to know what kind of print to place where to achieve the desired results.
Most of my clients are completely intimidated or simply do not prefer busy, high-color intensity prints. Dense, colorful prints are not the best place to start if you want to experiment with wearing prints. The combination of busy and colorful takes some courage to try if you are used to solids.
Dense prints can make a fluffy area appear smaller, which is great for someone with an overly endowed bust. Many women mistakenly think that all prints enhance an already large bust. The reality is that a print can make a small bust appear larger and a large bust appear smaller.
Tame prints are not as busy, meaning they have a lot of background. When the design is far apart leaving a lot of background, it is a sparse print. A sparse print enlarges, not necessarily due to the size of the print, but rather the volume of background.
My V shape clients can easily put a sparse print on a pair of pants to help balance their broad shoulders. Or a Pear shaped figure can place a sparse print on her top (better yet, horizontal stripes) at her shoulders to balance out her hips.
Neutral or monochromatic prints come across as more ‘tame’ than a multi colored print. Monochromatic is all one color or even different shades of the same color like the skirt below.
Experiment With Prints ‘Safely’
In addition to adventurous and tame prints, consider the size of the article itself. A floral midi length dress is a lot of print compared to a scarf, headband, or a belt. To experiment with the advantages of print outfits, start with something safe.
Go for a small and inexpensive item first, like a scarf, belt or headband. Then if you like that, scale it up to a larger article, like a kimono or dress.
Print Type: Plaids, Geometrics, and Florals, Oh My
The type of print can also have a bearing on your like or dislike of a print. Geometrics like chevron prints, stripes, and plaids are generally more tailored and feel safer. What’s not to like about a navy and white soft flannel plaid shirt over your favorite leggings or jeans? Polka dots have a vintage vibe to them, coming in large or small dots. Small dots can look juvenile. Stripes seem to be the entry point for prints.
Print outfits in floral are not just for ‘old ladies’ but do tend to be chosen by women who prefer a feminine look. They are definitely not as tailored as geometrics. Combine the florals with stripes for a really edgy look. The floral kimono below is a sparse print.
Scale Prints to Your Frame Size
To balance your frame, match your print size to your own frame size. If you have a small frame and wear a print with large palm fronds, it will overpower your frame. On the other hand, putting tiny prints on a taller larger sized frame will actually make that frame appear larger than it is.
The small flowers clustered together in the above kimono creates a larger print. It reads as both a small and medium print. The scale of this floral jumpsuit below is a little larger for my petite frame. Since I wore heels to push me into a medium height, the medium to large scale print wasn’t terribly overpowering.
Another advantage of prints is safely combining more than two colors at a time, if you like wearing a lot of color. Designers are skilled at mixing cool and warm colors together, or triadic colors (three different unrelated colors from the triad on the color wheel). Let’s say you already have a pair of pants or top in a color from a few years back. If you want to pair it with something newer, a print is a great way to blend with another color that is slightly off.
Try It You Might Like It
If you don’t usually incorporate prints into your wardrobe, give it a try in a small dose with a tame print. And if you do wear prints, are you getting the print advantages discussed here? I hope I’ve given you a few ideas for experimenting with print outfits.