Prints Primer: How To Wear A Little Or A Lot

There’s nothing that can replace a crisp, white top or sleek, black blazer, but we like to think of prints as the spice of life style. They’re interesting, they’re fun, and this season, they’re everywhere. Of course, rocking a stripe or a flowery pattern to perfection is easier said than done…until now. We’ve pieced together the ultimate guide to wearing prints for those testing the water as well as those not afraid to go wild. 

Beginning with three perfectly on-trend graphics of the season — plaid, wide stripes, and flomo (a floral/camo hybrid, of course) — we’re walking you though the must-try looks for every conform zone. Whether you’re a minimalist who’s taking it slow or the color-crazed eccentric who can never have enough, consider this your prints playbook that’ll flavor things up no matter what your taste.

1

Plaid

The Test-Drive — Begin with just a peek of plaid. Layer a button-down beneath a cozy knit and statement necklace for a getup that doesn’t scream Al Borland (unless that’s what you were going for).

bebe Multicolored Geometric Statement Necklace, $39, available at bebeL.L.Bean Kingfield Flannel Shirt, $39.95, available at L.L.BeanCurrent/Elliott The Stiletto cropped low-rise skinny jeans, $93.60, available at The OutnetMM6 Grey Sweatshirt, $195, available at Shop NouvellesWhistles Kir Royale Suede Boot, $247.50, available at Whistles.

2

The Main Feature — Pick an eye-catching tartan plaid of rich blue and green and top it off with sophisticated pieces. A chic blazer, shiny loafers, coordinating handbag, and, naturally, a bit of bling will do just the trick.

Ted Baker London Rufia Double Button Jacket, $295, available at Ted BakerPixie Market Diamond Mayan Cuff, $16, available at Pixie MarketEcote Perforated Palm Tree Loafer, $34, available at Urban OutfittersCoach Legacy Leather Penny Shoulder Purse, $198, available at CoachZara Tartan Cropped Trousers, $59.90, available at Zara.

3

The Full Throttle — Yes, you can mix different kinds of plaids. The key is to find two prints that complement, not contrast, each other (the hints of black and red in both these pieces have got that covered). Keep the remainder clean, with just a burst of brightness from your heels and et voilà: instant plaid perfection.

Delia’s Moto Plaid Wool Coat, $49.50, available at Delia’sBanana Republic, Sarrah Pump, $110, available at Banana RepublicDries Van Noten ‘Sylvian’ Brocade and plaid silk-blend skirt, $773.32, available at BrownsGiani Bernini Flap Triple Entry Crossbody Handbag, $57.99, available at Macy’sMauro Grifoni Long Sleeve Sweater, $185, available at Yoox.

4

Wide Stripes

The Test-Drive — The perfect way to incorporate a new trend is with an accessory. This crossbody may be small but it will add some oomph to your favorite everyday jeans-and-chambray mix. Throw in a feminine necklace and platform shoe to balance the borrowed-from-the-boys look.

Isabel Marant Eddie Shirts, $315, available at La Garçonne Dorothy Perkins Blue deck shoe flatforms, $57, available at Dorothy PerkinsJack WillsHollingworth Chino, $89.50, available at Jack Wills;J.Crew Crystal and Cabochon necklace, $45, available at J.CrewRalph Lauren Nautical Canvas Crossbody, $795, available at Ralph Lauren.

5

The Main Feature — A striped blazer can bring your go-to, work-ready ensemble to the next level. While much of your outfit will remain quite basic, top it off with subtle pops of color that tie in with your one, major standout piece. 

Reiss Slim Leg Trousers, $170, available at ReissUniqlo Women Heattech Turtle Neck T-Shirt, $14.90, available at UniqloNasty Gal Libertine Pump, $150, available at Nasty GalSea NY Striped Blazer, $604.39, available at Oxygen BoutiqueBCBG Harlow Leather Envelope Clutch, $148, available at BCBG.

6

The Full Throttle — Just because you’re piling on a hearty dose of stripes, doesn’t mean you’ll resemble a circus tent. Pick pieces that vary in stripe number. For instance, a single-stripe sweater with a multi-striped skirt. Color-block your extras accordingly to give your outfit instant wow-factor.

BaubleBar Tanzanite Cushion Cut Studs, $40, available at BaubleBarAcne Layla Flag Colour Block Skirt, $460, available at My WardrobeAdidas Honey Stripes Mid Shoes, $60, available at AdidasTopshop Knitted Textured Crop Jumper, $64, available at TopshopModcloth Ask for the Maroon Bag, $69.99, available at Modcloth.

7

Flomo

The Test-Drive — Flomo (the camouflage-like floral) is a newer trend, so start with a small print in a darker shade. This pretty sweater will blend perfectly with other flirty wardrobe staples, such as a pleated skirt, ballet flats, and structured crossbody.

Madewell The ankle strap wedge, $118, available at MadewellHansel from Basel Wool Rib Tights, $36, available at La GarçonneMiss Selfridge PU Pleated Skater Skirt, $44, available at Miss SelfridgeWarehouse Floral Print Woven Front Jumper, $50.50, available at House of FraserKate Spade New YorkBow Terrace Leigh, $298, available at Kate Spade New York.

8

The Main Feature — We’re huge fans of statement coats that easily make you feel chic without much effort at all. Slip into this flomo number for a powerful pastel look that will transition from this season to the next.

Mossimo Women’s Metallic Coated Skinny Denim, $27.99, available at TargetMarc Jacobs Cashere Skull Cap, $36, available at Marc JacobsAllsaints Silk Biker T-shirt, $68, available at AllsaintsTopshop Bright Floral Boucle Coat, $158, available at TopshopVena Cava Paco Boot, $196, available at Gargyle.

9

The Full Throttle — Head-to-toe flomo is not for the faint of heart, so try a structured suit that will keep the focus on the print and not all over the place. Top with neutral and minimal details, as well, so as to let the flomo get all the attention without looking too over-the-top.

By Malene Birger Salisca floral-print silk-twill blazer, $565, available at Net-A-PorterBy Malene Birger Regal floral-print silk pants, $375, available at Net-A-PorterMango Metallic Oversized T-shirt, $34.99, available at MangoFrye Jilliian Oxford, $168, available at ZapposASOS Cut Out Stripe Cuff Bracelet, $17.54, available at ASOS.

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