Style Tip – How to choose and wear prints – and boy, what a selection there is this season!

I was talking on the Radio yesterday about gifts.  One of my aims was to persuade men to buy great gifts for their wife/girlfriend/partner.  My suggestions were a) Mulberry handbags, b) shopping days with me, c) to get them to ask their wife/partner/girlfriend what they would like, rather than guessing and getting it wrong, d) giving them gift vouchers so they could choose their own presents.

Hopefully the men of the West Midlands will now have a better idea of how about going to buy their other halves decent presents! Naturally I should qualify this by saying that Mr SG doesn’t need any guidance on this subject (as I am sure is the case of many men out there).

The presenter was brilliant – very funny.  Anyway, if you would like to take a listen, you can do so here – my feature was on at 1.05 hours into the programme.

I am getting ready for our long weekend away – the final short trip of our “Portfolio Holiday”.   This trip is taking place on a barge, along with another family of five. I think as I mentioned in another post, the boat we were meant to go on sank. I am still not quite sure how that happened, given that the water in a canal is only about 4ft deep and that there isn’t any tide, wind or waves. Anyway, a replacement has been found and we will be heading off tomorrow so I will be taking a mini blogging holiday until we return on Monday.

So today’s post is all about prints. From Jacquard at Miu Miu, to Chinoiserie at Proenza Schuler, to Houndstooth, Brocade, Animal, Winter Floral, Digital prints and Geometric prints at Prada and Jonathan Saunders – prints graced skirts, trousers, shirts, jackets, shoes and bags on the catwalks for A/W ’12, as they will the High Street too.

I could easily spend a week or more writing about the different prints – but I shall aim to keep it brief. 

I spotted this woven print front cardi £40 at Warehouse in John Lewis.  I loved the pretty colours in it.                                              
                                                        woven print front cardi
Here is a closer shot of the print. It would be easy to pick up any of the colours in the print – or to just team it with jeans if this was a first foray into prints.


Not dis-similar to the print above, these Printed Silk Trousers by Malene Birger £225 would work well with a plain knit or cream blouse.  Wearing print on your bottom half can take some getting your head around – and they can require more styling with heels etc – but they can make a great change from plain coloured bottoms.

    BY MALENE BIRGER - Printed silk trousers


These Sub Zero slim fit trouser £82 from French Connection are lovely in real life. There’s a closer shot of the print on the site, so it might be worth following the link. Neither floral, nor animal print, they are just something slightly different – with a great colour palette to them.

Sub Zero Slim Fit Trouser

This Gita V neck flare dress £179 from Reiss is really flattering – with a navy background, v-neck, nipped in waist and slight flare to the skirt.  The lighter print in the centre of the dress draws the eye inwards and the positoning of the stripes is really flattering.  So all in all, from a styling perspective, it’s a winner.



Reiss Gita Dresses


This printed blouse with applique around neckline £29.99 is from Zara. The darker background makes it a really stylish, and subtle, option.

Leopard print has been around for seasons and will continue to be for many more no doubt, so this Zara leopard print sweater  at £25.99  should stand you in good stead for many winters to come.

                       LEOPARD PRINT SWEATER

People can be unsure as to how to wear prints and clients of mine will often ask me for advice. So here are my top tips for buying, and wearing, prints:

  • Our reactions to prints are individual and instinctive – often because they remind us of something from our past – a dress when we were young, a fabric print in our Grandma’s house, something we wore in our teens etc.  Only buy something with a print if you really love it;
  • Be prepared for others to comment on the prints that you are wearing – it often happens, so be confident in your choices and don’t be put off by what others say –  otherwise, you may find yourself only wearing something once!
  • If unsure about wearing prints, start off tentatively with a scarf, belt or bag;
  • A light print on a dark background is more flattering than in reverse;
  • A large, bold print can drown a smaller frame but equally it can be very dramatic. A low grade print which contains several shades of the same colour is much easier to wear;
  • Print will draw attention to the areas on which it is worn. Digital printed pencil skirts are stunning on those apple shaped ladies who have narrow hips and long, slim legs (Karen Millen is great for these). Conversely, a bold floral print is stunning on blouse on a pear shaped lady;
  • Unlike a floral print, it is difficult for a digital or geometric print to be “grannyish”.

The topics of prints could go on for ever and ever – as could the prints that I could feature – so if you have any queries, please just drop me a line via FB, email or twitter.



  1. schoolgatestyle
    August 16, 2012 / 8:19 pm

    Great tips on wearing patterns…I think our Primark jeans are a great example – I always get a reaction when I wear them. You are right about being confident about people approaching you and commenting! Enjoy your long weekend – sounds lovely…Avril x

    • StyleGuile
      August 16, 2012 / 8:28 pm

      Hey Avril – good to hear from you. Loved your post in your shorts – you should get those lovely legs out more often! Glad you had a good time away. x

  2. Applebypie
    August 16, 2012 / 10:03 pm

    That sounds good – I'll have a listen. My husband still tends to 'panic buy' for me the day before birthdays etc, despite me dropping hints and buying my own main present most the time! Sigh! X

    • StyleGuile
      August 21, 2012 / 8:04 pm

      …but at least he buys!

  3. Thea
    August 16, 2012 / 10:08 pm

    Oooh – a nice round up, thanks.I like the Warehouse cardi, and the Zara botanic print blouse is lovely :-)But what IS this trend for wearing things half tucked in / half hanging loose??Have a fun boating weekend!

    • StyleGuile
      August 21, 2012 / 8:06 pm

      Hi Thea – we had a great weekend thanks! Oh yes, the half in half out look – so contrived but all the bloggers are doing it now. I did it for a laugh on an old post – and I did look totally ridiculous!

  4. miss b
    August 17, 2012 / 10:00 am

    Interesting post! So true that the addition of a patterned scarf is often the best way to initially wear prints. I must admit this summer I have been influenced by the huge array of bold and subtle designs from digital to big floral blooms and I even invested in some floral skinnies- quite a move from my love of mostly neutrals with pops of colour and print!

    • StyleGuile
      August 21, 2012 / 8:07 pm

      Hi miss b – loving the sound of the floral skinnies! I can't wait to get back into the stores to see all the printed trousers – I am thinking brocade or geometric and have my eye on some fab Primark ones. What about you?

  5. Poppy's Style
    August 17, 2012 / 10:19 am

    Great post – you may have seen from mine I am getting more confident with prints – especially trousers – maybe verging on a tad cocky and in your face with my tropical Zara trousers lol:) Love your tips here – 'tis all about loving it and feeling great!

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