Tips For Wearing Prints

Too many prints in your wardrobe can mean that you often stand in front of your closet saying, “I have nothing to wear!” That’s because prints and patterns are memorable, and they require a lot more thought than solids.

When I add a print to my wardrobe, there are several things I take into consideration. I ask myself: Does the pattern include print details such as a bold design that repeats across the bust or the tummy, or the behind? Who needs big flowers there? I also do not want to wear blocks of bright color that bring attention to those areas. The contrast of the prints matters a great deal. If you have soft contrast coloring and wear a bold black and white print, the print will overwhelm you. If you are petite, your best print will include designs that are no larger than your fist. I look best in prints that include my colors, blue, black, white, plum, and gray. When I mention “My Colors,” I am talking about the actual colors of my skin, eyes, and hair. I would never look my best in mustard, olive, or khaki worn near my face.

Now that I have all the solid color basics to fill any need, I am thinking about adding different textures and a few prints into my wardrobe. My fall checklist included a great daytime tote bag to go with everything, sunglasses, and shoes that are comfortable and appropriate for Autumn. The tote bag is by Zac Posen. The shoes are by Pierre Dumas. The sunglasses are by Kenneth Cole Reaction. The girlfriend ankle jeans are from Chico’s.

The Clara Sunwoo tunic has styling details such as high slits on the sides and a keyhole detail neckline, so I wore long slender silver earrings instead of a necklace. I could have done better here to tuck one edge of the tunic into my waistband to show the full length of my leg since long tunics make legs look short. When I wear prints, I make sure all the other pieces in my look are very streamlined and solid. I always feel as if a toddler dressed me when I try to mix patterns and prints. This tunic was a gift from

  1. Cute tunic, Susan. The toddler comment amused me because I live with one and you were spot on. Have a beautiful day.

  2. I wonder what happens if you get gifted something that doesn’t in fact suit you? This does of course. I love it on you.

  3. Great tips on how to choose prints. Especially about the colors and placement on the body. I’m wearing one now from Chico’s and it works for all of the above reasons! Thanks for such relevant information. You look wonderful in this outfit; just glowing!

  4. While I like prints, I have noticed that an awful lot of clothing with prints has a tendency to make one look like a nurse wearing print scrubs. Many V neck nurse tops feature colorful prints. We 60ish and older women tend to be told to wear loose fitting V necks – just like nurses wear!

  5. Susan – all the colors you will not wear, are “my colors” 😉 It would be fun for me to see your take on clothes in those colors.

  6. Lovely tunic and helpful tips and explanations, as usual. I recently edited things out of my closet that were not my best colors (red, white, blue, black, purple) including deleting prints that had large elements (I’m height challenged and remembered your advice.)
    Thank you, Susan! Everything now goes with everything else, so it has been easy and fun getting dressed since I did this!

  7. The top is very attractive Susan. If you have ever seen plus size tops they always have huge flowers the size of basketballs. I’ve always wondered why they do that. Do the new chicos jeans bag out and how do you make sure they don’t ? Do you buy them extra tight? They look perfect slim but not tight.

  8. Thank you Susan,

    I watched your video create different looks with the same clothing.
    You have been an inspiration.

    Best regards,

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.