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Prints Charming: How to Wear Them

9/15/2016

Prints Charming: How to Wear Them

Unless you've got completely unshakeable self-confidence, chances are there's some item of clothing or style that you're hesitant to try out. Maybe you think it wouldn't suit you, or that it would make you stand out too much, or maybe you simply don't know how to style it. Prints fall into this category for many people. Most of us have something striped or polka dotted or floral in our wardrobe that we shy away from. But prints aren't that difficult to wear. Follow these easy tips to take your style to the next level.

Choose a Larger Print to Look Slimmer

Choose a Larger Print

You've probably heard that horizontal stripes can make you look rounder, but did you know that small prints do the same thing? A tiny, detailed pattern draws the eye across an outfit, so if you're trying to appear slimmer, make sure you pick a bigger print like thick stripes or large shapes.

Check out this picture. Those large shapes offset his frame, minimizing it, and making him look slimmer.

Don't Mix Prints

Don't Mix Prints

Wearing more than one print in the same outfit is a move reserved for super-savvy dressers. If you're trying to build your confidence, stick with a single printed item to jazz up your style without fear of clashing or looking over the top.

Simple stars paired with a complex, vaguely African, geometric print? It's so bad, it can't even be worn ironically.

Match the Print Color

Match the Print Color

A common mistake is making the color in the background of the print the basis of your outfit. Instead, match the color of the print itself. If you're wearing a shirt that's white with blue stripes, choose a pair of blue pants rather than white. This keeps consistency throughout your outfit without becoming overwhelming.

Notice how the sport coat matches the pink/red shade of some of the squares, rather than the blue background. This is a matter of complimenting colors instead of matching.

Layer Up

Layer Up

People often avoid prints because they simply stand out too much. If you're feeling like more of a wallflower, put a solid-colored layer on top of your print so that it isn't overly obvious. A patterned collar peeking out over a plain sweater or sport coat looks great without becoming overpowering.

That's definitely a busy pattern on the shirt, but paired with a complimentary sport coat, it serves as an interesting accent without being jarring.

Start Small

Start Small

If you're dying to try prints but just don't have the confidence, start small by including a printed accessory like a pocket square, tie, or scarf. If you keep the printed item small and subtle, then it won't overpower your outfit. However, it will help to build your experience and knowledge about how to style other printed items.

This one is easy. Prints can be as loud and busy as you want in accessories, and as long as you choose your colors correctly, you're usually good to go.

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