How To Wear Prints

It's official: prints are the new plain. It's time to ditch the monochromes and elegant tonal colours and stock your wardrobe with lashings of bright, bold, colourful patterns. This spring expect floral splashes, animal prints and geometric shapes to come in all guises, shades and textures as designers such as Oscar de la Renta and Marc Jacobs look to India and Africa for a heady mix of printed inspiration.

If that sounds like an excuse to unearth your 70's sundress, throw on the leopard print and recycle your curtains, then be warned: wearing prints is no easy ride. Like most perennial trends, there are rules that must be followed. Luckily, the high street has a dreamy selection of printed pieces which, if worn properly, will raise your fashion status no end.

For print virgins, start slowly, use a dark or neutral base and add colours and designs in small doses. Start with a print you feel comfortable in, and then work this into your accessories with scarves, belts, bags or shoes. As your confidence grows begin thinking about printed shirts or fine knits. Remember,

the darker the print background the more flattering the look.

Small, petite figures should stay with small, discreet prints.

Larger ladies should also stay clear of bold prints or broad stripes. They will only make you look bigger. Stick with floaty soft shapes but avoid over- sizing. Again, this will only add bulk. An all-over pattern will constantly divert the eye across the body, camouflaging problem areas such as big hips, and remember to stay with one printed item per silhouette.

Large floral or graphic prints look best on the lower half of the body teamed with a solid colour on top. If you have a boyish figure, you can get away with bright large impact prints on top. Again, team with one solid colour on the lower half. Pear shapes can also wear prints on their top half as it's a great way to draw the eye away from the hips. Prints are fashionable, but they will draw attention to you - especially where you need it least. Only wear prints on your best parts. Remember, subtle prints are kinder to your body image.


- Large prints and horizontal stripes are fattening.

- An all-over design keeps the eye moving and camouflages lumps and bumps.

- Petite and shorter women are flattered by small, low-contrast prints.

- Taller, though not wider, bodies can take prints with more contrast.

- If you are new to wearing prints, go slowly. Dark plaids, when confined to one item and teamed with a solid garment, suit everyone.

- The darker the print's background, the slimmer the look.

- Prints look better on fluid styles - tea roses don't look so good stretched over ample hips.

- Stick to one printed item per outfit.

- Large florals and bright geometrics look better on the bottom half with a solid colour on top (great camouflage for those with large busts).

- Boyish figures can handle busy patterns on the top half, as long as they keep the shape simple and balance the effect with a solid-coloured bottom half. Pear-shapes can also go for prints on top, to draw the eye away from the hips.

- Fuller-figured women look best in drapey fabric prints, but avoid too much volume as it adds bulk.

- Leopard print should only be worn with black. Gold or wooden accessories are best with this daring pattern.

cocopops40 cocopops40
36-40, F
Mar 3, 2010