Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!” Robin Williams
Ever dreaded the long, dark winter months and felt uninspired with your outfit choices? Does even your comfiest sweater and jeans combination finally just bore you to death? Are you tired of trying to figure out how to hide your thermal underwear under your party dresses?
We all know that winter can be kind of a drag. The days get shorter, the layers get heavier. Then the new year starts, but winter is far from over. Now the cold and snow really creep in, and you start searching everywhere for the first signs of spring: Did I hear a birdie tweet? I could swear there were at least 10 more minutes of daylight today….
Then, at long last: Light! The first flowers start to appear. Leaves push forth, green and fresh. Those really are spring birdies cheeping outside your window (not just a lorry in reverse). And the days finally become longer and more golden.
Spring is my favourite time of year and also the time where I long for colour and fun in my wardrobe. My maxi dresses inch forward to the front of the wardrobe in anticipation of warmer days. I start experimenting with ditching my woollen socks and giving my newly pedicured toes a little daylight here and there. At the first signs of spring, I want to celebrate the awakening of nature with a whole new wide-awake wardrobe. I yearn for exciting pieces which reflect my mood. And, what better way to express the hopefulness, the excitement of spring than with the perfect spring print?
The good news is that prints are still big news, both on and off the catwalks. And the upcoming spring prints are as exciting as ever. In fact, prints for spring are looking bolder, stronger, jazzier! Designers are also breaking the conventional rules of print by mixing different patterns together, coordinating and even clashing.
I’m thrilled by the profusion juxtaposed prints out there right now. I’ve always been a big fan of mixing a leopard or a stripe with a floral print, but now it seems that between innovative designers and the relaxing of the laws set by the fashion police, I have even more leeway. So where to start?
Though most print rules can be thrown out the window this spring along with your woollen hat, I wouldn’t say it’s entirely a fashion free-for-all. The wearing of clashing prints has to be carefully considered so as to avoid looking like Winona Ryder at a sample sale or you dressed in the dark.
Floral prints are always a go-to for spring and a great place to start when mixing prints. Blooms can be big or small, digital or ditzy, bright or pastel. There are colours and scales to match everyone’s tastes. Some fashion advisers suggest that petite women go for smaller flowers and that larger buds are best for a curvier bod; however, I don’t place too much weight on this rule. In fact, I think it’s fun to mix florals in different scales.
Florals also look great with all of the stunning graphic, tribal, digital or psychedelic prints—to name a few– on the runways and in the shops. Many advisers suggest mixing a bold graphic, abstract or tribal print with a floral or animal print. Because flowers and animal prints are instantly recognisable, they give the eye something to latch onto and help to anchor the look. When mixing two colourful prints, make sure they are in some kind of harmony: choose base colours that work with one another. It’s probably best that the prints you wear echo or complement each other in at least one colour so that the busy-ness definitely looks intentional and studied.
If you want to detract attention from your thighs and bum, it is recommended that you wear a bolder print on top and a subtler print below, or mix two prints on top and keep your bottom half basic. If you’re a little scared of this whole mixing prints thing, try dipping your toe in the water by mixing prints in muted tones such as black, navy, grey or tan. Similarly, a black and white floral print often looks both crisp and zingy against a brighter print. Or choose a dress already made up of mixed prints – there are loads of beautiful ones on offer right now.
Another way to play with contrasts is to wear a striped cardi or Chanel-style tweedy jacket over a print. A cardi with texture or more than one colour of yarn in its weave works wonders with a cool print. Contrasting accessories with a print is yet another way to clash with prints in fun ways without committing to wearing actual clashing garments. Try bright snakeskin heels or a leopard skin clutch with a printed dress. Sport an oversized print scarf with a striped top. The possibilities are as limitless as your imagination.
As hard as it is to believe, spring is just around the corner. If I may continue my earlier nature theme, It’s time to start planting the seeds of ideas so that our warm-weather wardrobes are ready to bloom forth. And what better inspiration than our own back gardens? There colours and patterns overlap in ways that are daring and unexpected and yet… just work.