This is a question that came up recently in my Style Club and I decided it’s a good topic to share with you too.
There are a gazillion You Tube videos on how to successfully wear different prints in one outfit but the advice is mostly by fashionistas rather than trained Image Consultants. This means that the advice they share is (perhaps) more exciting and on trend but with the (HUGE) downside that 98% of the women that try it, end up feeling despondent. Most of you are not 6ft tall waifs.
I know that you appreciate useable advice that makes you look and feel more confident, so these are MY tips for mixing prints if that feels like something you‘d like to try.
Warning: there are a lot of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’!
- It helps HUGELY, if you already know your best colours, shapes, style and scale. If you don’t, make some time to find out, either by consuming the vast amounts of free content I’ve produced on my website and Facebook page, or by booking in for a consultation or joining a program. I know I’m a stuck record but having this nailed (for life) can be life changing!
- Have a common colour running through the prints. It doesn’t matter which you choose (ideally one that flatters your skin tone) but a common colour will create flow in the outfit and bring some uniformity. If you are taking baby steps, make the common colour a neutral.
- Use some block colour in your outfit (non-printed fabric) to break things up if it all feels too much. Again, one that you know flatters your skin tone is ideal.
- When it comes to the size of print to wear, choose one that goes with your personal scale. Your ‘scale’ determines the size of prints, embellishment and accessories that work best with your body and style. If your scale is large, follow that through in all the prints. They don’t need to be exactly the same size but I don’t agree with mixing very small with very large like the fashionistas*. And of course, if your scale is small, stick to smallish prints, medium, medium…you get it? Scroll down to find out about ‘scale’.
- The type of pattern you’ll wear well, depends on your clothing style and body shape. If your bone structure is curvy (waist and hips), look at patterns with curved shapes:
- Polka dots (best for ‘girly’ style)
- Florals (best for ‘girly’ style)
- Animal print (best for dramatics)
- Paisley (best for naturals)
If your bone structure is straight (thicker waist, slim hips) you’ll likely suit straight shaped prints:
- Zig Zags
- Mixing together curved shapes with curved prints and straight with straight works very well. If you know that your figure is straight on top and curved on the bottom (I call that straight pear) then you can successfully mix straight tops with curved shaped prints on the fabric of your trousers/skirts.
- If your clothing style is very classic, please don’t feel obliged to be doing any of this! Prints really aren’t your thing and that’s ok. Enjoy your clean lines and elegant neutral tones and leave this to the dramatics!
*The problem with wearing the wrong sized print for your scale:
When you wear a print (or accessory) that’s too big for your scale, it overwhelms you. It’s all people can see when you rock up. You disappear behind it. Definitely NOT the thing to be doing on an important Zoom call!
When a print is too small for you, you look bigger. Not something most of us want to be doing.
When a print is JUST right (think Goldilocks and the Three Bears), you look fab. You wear it well, it flatters your figure and looks more stylish than blindly following trends.
As a ‘real’ example, imagine a person with a small neat top half and a much wider lower half (typical pear shape), wearing a top with a large floral print with a pair of gingham trousers. The top half would be totally overpowered by massive florals and the hips and bottom appear HUGE next to the tiny check.
If you’d like to my help in experimenting with prints and finding the right style, scale and colours for your shape, take a look at my new Remote Transformation Session. For the full details, click here. Check my availability by dropping me an email.
- Personal Scale: Could this be why you don’t wear your jewellery?
- Introducing the Classic and Natural styles
- Introducing the Dramatic and Girly styles
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As always Helen, a useful post which will motivate me again to get out of my style rut. I travel to The Gambia, West Africa regularly and in recent years have stayed for three and four month periods. During my more recent stays I have relied more on wearing my African tailor made clothes and accessories which seem to sit right with my personality.
I returned to Lancashire on 16th March 2020 three weeks prematurely from my four month trip due to Covid 19 escalating in U.K. The early months of course had the most sunshine and I even wore one of my African dresses on a country park walk on the hottest day.
I suppose the dramatic change in weather i.e. constant rain have contributed to this rut.
Hope you are keeping well during this period, so far so good at this end.
How wonderful to enjoy your African dresses on a sunny day here. I bet you brightened up the mood of the park!