By: Callie McBride
When it comes to fashion, its too easy to stay safe with solid colors and traditional outfits: a t-shirt and jeans, a babydoll dress with flats, or a simple polo and cargo shorts. While relying on fashion staples can be a lifesaver for those days when you don’t feel like trying or have no time to experiment in the closet, you would be sorry if you slowly began to only wear those simple basics. I’ve fallen victim to purchasing the same loose tees in grey, navy and black and sticking with familiar jean cuts and plain shoes in the past. I’ll admit it: I’ve become a plain Jane! Step one is admitting you have a problem, right?
Since making the big move to Manhattan, however, my sense of style has changed. I am constantly surrounded by incredibly high-end, unique, one-of-a-kind fashion statements that make me want to take more risks and really develop a personal style for myself. One component to clothing that I have struggled with in the past is prints: mixing, incorporating, picking them out…I always felt stuck! Now, I am trying to be more bold and just go for it. I’ve put together three looks that incorporate prints in different ways: subtle, classic, and what I like to call a “print party.” I hope these examples will help you get out of your comfort zone when it comes to your own style!
If prints still scare you, (like they sometimes do for me) then start out by slowly adding them into your wardrobe with a few pops of color and pattern here and there. This Rachel by Rachel Roy shift dress is plain yet elegant, and the strips of color on the back give it a fun, sexy element.
There’s no better way to jazz up a solid colored dress than with crazy colorful shoes, right!? My Cynthia Rowley for Target wedges did the trick.
Often times prints can be worn in a way that emits a certain attitude: plaid denotes laid-back living, stripes give off a young and fun feel, and hawaiian print shirts say, “I’ve got my SPF, my underwater camera, and my fanny pack: let’s do some sight-seeing!” To be absolutely sure that you give off the right attitude when rocking prints, opt for a classic look. Guys, this could mean a cool seer sucker suit or flamingo-dotted cargo shorts a la J-Crew. Ladies, the quintessential classic look (in my opinion) is a high bun, a girly dress, and some killer pumps.
My vintage J-Crew dress with spotted stars is a comfortable fit, which allows me to be a bit more daring with the print. The Steve Madden vegan suede platforms aren’t too shabby, either.
Once you’ve mastered prints, you’re ready for an all-out explosion. Confession: I had a little help with this one. My ever-so stylish friend Katy noticed my drab fashion slump and enlisted her keen eye for fashion to help me out. She dragged me to the nearest Anthropologie, stuck me in a dressing room, and showered me with dresses, pants, and tops that I would have never thought to try on. The outcome!? Total print success!
Neon and two separate florals? Yup. I did it. The bright Anthropologie sweater, Anthropologie floral jeans, and Urban Outfitters flower-printed blouse blend together to a girly yet cool look that could translate from day to night.
Moral of the story? Don’t be afraid of prints; embrace them! You’ll feel instantly stylish and interesting in opposition to your grey-hued hesitant peers.