7 Mar 2019

Prints Charming: How To Wear Print When We Don’t Like Print


Prints? Some love them and some don’t.
I am probably more in the “don’t” than “do” category but there are exceptions. Seeing someone wear a fabulous floral dress and I wonder why I am not; a geometric blouse and I really feel like I am missing out.

Prints are difficult to get right and there are so many awful ones. The colours are dreadful, the pattern unfriendly and you end up looking a mess. The day starts out with the best intentions and by mid-morning thoughts are only on the slick and the simple. “Why am I wearing this” screams silently and essentially your day is ruined. Sounds dramatic, sure but it happens to me when I get waylaid by the wrong print.

There are prints and prints.

Leopard is legendary and in my mind doesn’t really count as a print. Think geometric and our minds conjure up the swinging ’60’s. Geometric can be fabulous if the print is friendly.

Florals are a little tougher to get right. Dolce & Gabbana understand floral print as well as anybody  – what’s not to love, especially in the summer?  Maybe the price? They do make me long to wear a flower spattered dress and promenade through the streets of Naples or picnic in the depths of Tuscany. Theirs is a romantic take and one that has me dreaming. The vision is successful; it is the execution that is though.

We all can’t be covered in head to toe pattern and look fabulous. It takes flair, personality and a pretty good shape. A blouse of the other hand is a way to get your floral fix and retain confidence.

Prints can go horribly wrong whereas a plain is a safer option. Undoubtedly true.

It might sound boring but a good plain is worth a thousand bad prints and yet, the right print is a game changer. Venturing into prints, this coming season prints are out in force is best done cautiously.

I started with the leopard and animal prints and became tempted by the geometric pattern. I’m still cautiously optimistic when it comes to floral. They don’t make up much of my wardrobe but relaxed and more casual styles for the summer do make an appearance.

I see some women gloriously showing off their pattern with 100% self-confidence and exuberance. They are sympatico with their look, which means the sense of who they are, and their style is at the forefront. Prints are a lot to do with confidence. And yet, I can’t always identify with such bravery.

I’m a bit-size kind of print person.

I find the classic, the simple and the plain elegant but and it’s a looming but it does get uninteresting to wear the same day in and day out. As we become experienced in knowing what we wear, investments are cautious and spending big on a “maybe” is not something I rush in to.

Prints are charming, beautiful and when worn in the right way a knockout. Like all fashion decisions, the key is to adapt them for us. xv

Prints Charming

play it safe 

caroline rose blue leopard  ||  paige leopard tie neck

geometric & florals 

annie bing tile  ||  maje logo pattern  ||  gucci strirrups print  ||  lafayette 148 embroidered sleeve  ||  adam lippes floral  ||  gucci floral crepe

this feature contains affiliate links

images, glen luchford for gucci bloom

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In This Post:



Kathleen Botsford

Now Voyager was one of my favorite movies and I remember the scenes after Bette Davis’ transformation especially. She had turned into a beautiful swan under the tutelage of Claude Rains but all of a sudden, she was the dowdy auntie again. I don’t know how many times I watched that movie before I realized it was the print dress that was causing my concern. I remember this scene everytime I think of buying prints and I am extra careful.

Michelle à Détroit

Prints? Only in Florida or any tropical location and only one piece, such as a sweater or skirt. Otherwise, I am 99% solids. I agree with you on leopard prints, Vicki, but again only piece worn at a time.


Tropical destinations and warmer weather make prints seem more possible, although its the dreary days and nights when we most probably need a dash of vibrancy ..
Go slowly and one at a time… always my motto ;)


I dipped my foot in last year with a subtle print blouse. This season, I’ve bought into the floral on a plain background – black being my favourite. An all over print…head to toe…let me ponder that one.

Michelle à Detroit

Re: Carnal Flower, I have been a perfume addict since the age of five. I have a love hate relationship with Carnal Flower and most of the other Malle editions. CF is just too, too much for me. I’ve worn Lipstick Rose and Iris Poudre in the past but I tend to tire of the Malles after a while. It’s too much to spend for an abandoned 3/4 full bottle. That said, CF is definitely a statement perfume. For many it works beautifully.


Oh yes prints can be scary! My very chic 65 year old sister maintains prints appear on certain women of a “certain” age. I think she’s being a little harsh. A little leopard goes a long way and can make you feel rather bold- in a lovely way!
As for florals- I walked into a Dolce&Gabbana store in Melbourne and felt a rush of blood to the head! It was thrilling and so so pretty. My purchase was a silk scarf of pink full blown roses on a black background. I adore it and it gives me a rush of pretty whenever I wear it. Fab with black, Grey and very gorgeous with a soft blush pink winter coat.


Adore Dolce&Gabbana floral prints ! But they’re not for me, sadly. Your D&G scarf sounds heavenly though! I think scarves are the way to go for pattern and bursts of print colour for those of us who don’t wear overall prints. Best wishes, Pamela


I’m not a print person. It’s like I have an allergy to them A couple of years ago I strayed off course and bought an Ulla Johnson, long dress with tiny, tiny little flowers. They almost didn’t qualify as a print, and it’s one of my favorite dresses, but I can’t make myself do it again.


Love the small floral print wrap dresses on my old 20 something self. At this point, prints give the ‘dowdy aunt’ vibe. Plain pieces with a print accent works for me.

Kathleen, thanks for the reference to Voyager. I think I will watch it again this rainy weekend and be on high alert for the print dress!


Good morning Vicki!

You and I are the same in so many ways. I tend to be wary of oversized prints and if I do wear prints, they can’t be too colorful! I feel that my small frame can’t handle large prints, though I do find them pretty on someone else! However, there are exceptions and here is where a good designer comes in. The right color combo with the proper size of print is a work of art. Oh, that photo you have up is so inspiring!


Love “Now Voyager” too and seeing Bette Davis turn into a swan. But no wonder young women took up smoking in a big way. Every time they said “Let’s have a cigarette on it”, they made it look so glamorous. But three of the older generation of my family died of lung cancer and my mother suffered from emphysema. So that bit of dialogue gives me the horrors every time. Best wishes, Pamela


I ADORE prints! I love a simple top with a floral maxi skirt, or a floral dress worn open like a duster over jeans and a tee. I suit a small floral in a more muted tone, and love brands like Doen for their feminine prints. I think there’s something quite whimsical about a print, it makes me feel as though life is a little more interesting. I love a bohemian feel for the same reason. I don’t know why people are so frightened of print. The trick is getting colour and size right – I can’t do geometric or anything too big or bright – but I think there is the perfect print for everyone.


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