Spring means renewal and rebirth, which makes it a perfect time to try a new style. Ready to play?
Florals, polka dots, geometrics, tribal symbols, abstracts, paisley, embroidery and embellishments inundated the runways, and now theyre ready to make their way into your closet.
Why not put a fresh spin on your patterned pieces by wearing them head-to-toe? With a few tips, you can mix patterns without them overwhelming you and without looking clownish.
Designers and retailers are showing us how. J.Crew paired a Liberty-print floral suit with an embroidered button-up blouse with eye-size flowers. Wal-Mart is packaging tie-dye skirts with African-print totes in its Empowering Women Together line. Proenza Schouler made grommets cascade to the hem of its photo-print dresses for spring. Printed pants are everywhere, often shown with patterned tops.
If you know your colors, you can wear prints together, and you dont have to clash they can complement each other, said Lola Olufolabi, who with her husband, Yemi, owns Exotique on West Main Street in Durham. I see it as a form of art.
Print and pattern dominate her boutique, which has pattern-dappled sundresses from Ghana, bright brocades, iridescent wrap skirts from India and pieces made of mudcloth from Mali and woven Kente cloth, among others.
Arlene Goldstein, vice president of trend merchandising at Belk, gave a forecast for spring that listed the glam globetrotter as a major influence this season. That includes African textiles, tribal patterns, animal prints and Missoni-inspired color-coordination.
Belk is full of patterns, print and color this season, and Goldstein says mixing prints and pattern gives each piece extra oomph.
Color, pattern and texture are what make the looks this season, she says.
To mix with panache, choose prints that contain the same or complementary colors, Olufolabi suggests. Two prints that have a brown background can coordinate if one has a blue print and the other has orange, because those colors go well together.
The Pink Hanger in Charlotte takes the guesswork out of mixing prints.
We arent doing different prints like mixing tops and bottoms that have different prints, says Jennifer Ugland, store manager. Some of our tops have mixed prints in one piece: The front of it is a floral and the back is polka dot. In another, the middle (section) is a paisley and the sleeves have elephants. For our customers, they want to be trendy, but they want it a little toned down.
Ombre jewelry gives the effect of a print without being too aggressive, she says, and the store has bags with Aztec prints that are popular. Ugland says her own closet is full of printed tops and jackets with prints, which she layers with subtler patterns like gray leopard.
I think as long as you play around and it looks good, its good, she says.
Olufolabi notes that mixing prints is a nod to tradition; she lived in Nigeria, where patterns are embraced, and England before moving to the U.S.
The wearing of prints isnt a trend in Africa; its very traditional, she says. The rest of the world is very comfortable wearing color and mixing different kinds of prints and patterns. I dont know why people are more reluctant here.
Weve gone the whole winter wearing dull colors, neutrals in gray and brown. Theres no better time to use your prints because everything is coming to life.
Sheon Wilson is a personal stylist and image coach. Reach her at sheon@SheonTheStylist.com or twitter.com/sheonwilson.
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