Not only do prints elevate an outfit, wearing them correctly can actually help enhance and complement your figure by balancing proportions or providing subtle distractions.
Yet, the ability to rock prints isn’t a birthright – it takes
some ok, a lot of trial and error before nailing it perfectly. Which is why we’ve gone ahead and done the leg work, so all you need to do is a) read this guide and b) hit the shops.
As a general rule of thumb…
Like how black is universally slimming, the type of print you choose can play with the perception of volume. Large prints and horizontal strips tend to increase volume, where small prints and vertical stripes decrease volume. For example, if you are pear shaped (wider bottom), you’ll want to pair a top with larger prints with a black skirt.
You should also consider how the scale and density of a print can affect your figure. You should choose a print that relates to your overall body scale: Larger facial features work with larger prints and vice versa.
If you are naturally slim, you can pull off sparser prints (the eye slows down and makes the body appear larger) but if you are looking to appear slimmer, denser prints are more flattering as the brain will not “stop” and view the print as a whole.
You have wider hips
Body shape: Your hips are wider than your bust (pear or triangle shape)
Print tips: Ideally, you’ll want to stick to neutral coloured bottoms that cinch in at the waist and flare out toward your knees (think A-line skirts or wide legged pants) paired with a top that either has horizontal stripes or larger prints. If you must wear a print, make sure the motif is small, like polka dots.
You have a larger bust
Body shape: Your bust is proportionally larger than your hips (apple or inverted triangle)
Print tips: The general idea here is to balance out your top-heavy figure, which means focusing on putting all the volume from waist down. Opt for high-waist pieces with a flowing silhouette (maxi skirts, flared pants or A-line skirts) with brighter and larger prints, and pair it with a solid-coloured top. Horizontal-striped skirts will work wonderfully to balance out your proportions too.
You are long and tall
Body shape: Your bust and hips have similar measurements (rectangle)
Print tips: Lucky you – your height and silhouette means you can virtually rock all prints on various cutting of clothing. Think oversized florals on maxi dresses, miniscule checks on shirt dresses and even mixing up your prints. Just remember to accessorize with a belt or rock separates so you can emphasise your waist.
You are short and petite
Body shape: You stand under 165cm and generally have shorter limbs
Print tips: Large prints can overwhelm your proportions, so it’s best to stick to smaller patterns and prints like mini polka dots and thin stripes. Vertical stripes are your best friends as they will help elongate your form when paired with heels.
If you’re a fan of bold, large prints, you don’t have to shy away from them, just pair it with a neutral top or bottom.