You probably have something with color blocking detail in your closet from past seasons. This trend has gone the way of all popular trends but designers, always searching for something new, are now introducing “print blocking”. Fashion rule has traditionally turned up its nose at mixing prints but this trend is defying those old “no-no’s” from your mother. Men have been combining patterns for several years and executing it tastefully for the most part. For example, wearing a striped suit with a striped shirt in a much smaller scale and different color intensity, plain tie and a print pocket square. The new print-blocking in women’s wear moves far beyond this understated example. Designers are pairing multiple different patterns and colors together for more of a “Little House on the Prairie” look. In other words, you made it out of scraps of fabric being saved for a quilt.
You will need to be more of a creative dresser to pull off this look. Traditional, romantic, elegant or dramatic types will probably not find this a look that work for them. It might look like fun in the store but once home nestled in your closet with styles that really reflect your signature look, it will shout that it doesn’t belong!
As fashion director Roopal Patel at Saks admitted, “It can be overwhelming. You’re drawing a lot of attention to yourself.” That said, neither is this one of those garments that you can wear over and over by changing accessories to create a different look. Everyone will remember when you last wore it! These very busy multi-print garments need to be paired with neutral accessories, allowing relief to the eye from all the busy-ness.
The examples shown are more subtle than what one might find at Anthropology. The dress with the flaired skirt is a combination of only two patterns, well coordinated with each other. The skirt detail adds another point of interest so further pattern would have probably been too much.
The simple sheath uses more pattern detail for this very simple design. Neither dress needs jewelry. Both could be worn to the office and would be appropriate for a professional office setting. The patterned top by Etro is very busy. This might be better paired with neutral slacks or skirt. A bold personality and strong coloring is a must to pull this off.
Accessories jump into the print-blocking arena as well. This beautiful Ferragamo bag is a statement by itself. To choose something like this, it must be the whole focus. This is definitely not the “take everywhere” handbag many of us rely on. This bag will be beautiful with a solid, neutral outfit and neutral shoes allowing it to take center stage. That look will bring tons of compliments!
Pattern blocking doesn’t resonate with me as I find it too busy. I do think the handbag is beautiful but personally would not make that kind of investment in an accessory that had such limited versatility.
You will be seeing more print blocking in stores. If you love the look, pick the one you truly love and enjoy! This will probably not be a staple in your closet to enjoy for several seasons.