Thursday, February 4, 2010

My second request: A guide to prints

A friend from high school (hi Randi!) asked me the following question about prints and I shall do my best to use the lessons I've learned from countless hours of What Not to Wear and magazine reading:

"I want to ask you how to get over my fear of printed fabrics. I dont' know what kind of prints work for my body type. Vertical stripes make my already long torso look too long and horizontal stripes are a no-no. I don't know if I should do big print or small print and I suck at matching them. Help me Cardigan Junkie!"

First of all, I think anyone can wear prints as an accent regardless of height or size.  A horizontal striped cardigan worn open over a solid tank doesn't have the same impact as a regular sweater and doesn't make you look wider.  The long length of the one below will work best on taller frame and someone with a long torso could definitely pull it off.  ($29.99 at Martin&Osa)

A tone on tone, allover print also works on anyone, it just depends on the fit.  I think prints become unflattering when the top or skirt fits too tight or is too big.   The orange top above could work on anyone (I'd layer a cardigan on top, of course)   It's currently $69.50 at M&O but will get marked down...  be patient.  :)

I also think that florals can be great as long as they aren't too Hawaiian or old lady.  The sweater below could work on anyone, regardless of size, when paired with dark jeans or worn over a sheath dress.  ($98 at Anthropologie... expensive, I know)  The key is not covering your entire body with flowers but using it as an accent.

And speaking of dresses, the two printed ones below from Ann Taylor Loft (both $89.50, not on sale yet)  are universaly flattering because the cuts are forgiving.  As long as they're not too tight, they won't make anyone look bigger. 

 As far as prints to avoid, I'm not a big fan of vertical stripes.  They can look nice on tall, thin frames if the stripe are narrow enough, but if you are blessed with boobs the stripes tend not to run straight up and down and thus draw attention to your curves.  Small floral prints also tend to look very Little House on the Prairie if they're not paired with the right pieces.  Cool indie girls can rock vintage inspired print dresses, but I lack that je ne sais quois and look like I'm channeling Laura Ingalls.  Be careful.

I hope this was helpful!  Send me any other requests and I'll be happy to take a stab at finding you some screenshots.  Also, please follow me if you're a reader.  I want to know how many people actually see these posts ;)


  1. Thanks so much! I really like the orange top and the anthropologie cardie. I'm trying to be a little more brave in my wardrobe choices. Solids get a little boring after awhile. - Randi

  2. is it just better that i ask you to make me over...i'll need to drag you shopping when i have money =)

  3. Actually, I'm looking for someone to let me make them over for under $100... I think it'll be a fun challenge :)



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