Swimming in Prints


If you feel like a salmon swimming upstream when searching for a print that will work for you, you are not alone.

Designers have fallen in love with the new digital print technology.  Each season we have seen more and more unusual prints and the fall collections are awash with them.  These prints are not just an accent, but the entire garment is solid print, making it much more difficult to wear successfully.

Let’s look at a few examples and see if my comments resonate with you.  The first dress by Alice + Olivia is quite a good look on this model.  She would need a strong personality to match her strong coloring, but, that said, I think it works.  As I have studied the dresses, I feel that the more visible skin, helps stabilize the allover print.  In this case the shorter skirt and “V” neck are important not to have the print overpower.

This same principle applies to next dress by Oscar de la Renta.  Notice how the black bodice, tights and shoes stabilize the print.  It is really beautifully done and could be worn by a variety of different people.  He also offers the same print without the solid which I think would be much more difficult to wear.

This allover print by Erdem would require a larger than life lady in stature and presence.   This print would “wear the wearer” in most instances.

One sure way for most people to incorporate prints into their wardrobes is with a scarf.  The soft colors of this scarf beautifully complement this model’s fair coloring. Scarves have been big fashion item for the last few seasons, offering multiple ways to wear them and multiple variations for a simple base garment.  Having  a selection of great scarves in your best colors will add great mileage to your wardrobe.

Summing it up, the goal is for you to wear the print and not the other way around.  One way this can be accomplished is to find the right balance between an allover print and the need for relief through more skin exposed or combining it with a solid. Intensity of color should match the intensity of the wearer.   The blink test serves as a quick check to see if a print overpowers or not.  Standing in front of a mirror, close your eyes for a moment then look at yourself.  If the garment is the first thing you see, it takes center stage away from you.  You should be the center of attention with what you are wearing supporting you!

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