You do understand that I will not, EVER, try to convince you to wear any garment with something written on it? Good... I'm sick beyond belief of shirts with silly phrases written across one's bosom...
This might be a good way to add a little something to your current season wardrobe in order to get through the rest of the season, or conversely to find something to spice up the base wardrobe that already have lined up for the upcoming change of weather.
(And if you want to browse HUNDREDS of printed tops - get thee to House of Fraser, where they have tee shirts printed with postage stamps, or little stick figures swimming, or heaven knows what. And I can vouch for their service to the United States.)
For the newcomer to prints and patterns
Wearing only solid colors is easy, and tempting - I know that for years Eileen Fisher only MADE solid garments. So if you're new to the concept of wearing a printed item, something fairly mainstream like dots is a good place to start...
|Black and white– Vero Moda; layered – Jane Norman; Sheer shirt – Jane Norman; ombre spot zip tunic – Mint Velvet|
A low-key color scheme, in a geometric pattern, can feel comfortable too.
|Half-moon top – Mint Velvet; fan print tunic – Biba; Abstract sleeveless – Warehouse; mandala print – Mint Velvet|
For someone ready to take off the "print" training wheels
Stars! What a tremendously fun idea! I have never owned an Equipment shirt (their sleeves are MILES too long for me), but I know people who wear them and collect them with enthusiasm. I've got to admit that they make some really wonderful patterns...
|Blue stars – Equipment; black & white stars – Equipment; Tank – Saint Laurent; multi-colored – Sonia Rykiel|
Another thing to look for is a "nature" print that's not flowers. Butterflies and leaves are tremendously popular, but the dragonflies here are pretty nice, and that moon tee shirt is still easy to wear, in great colors. And peacock feathers are pretty genius!
|Swallows print – Oasis; abstract bird print – Dickins & Jones; Butterfly sleeveless – Oasis; dragonflies – Sugarhill Boutique|
|Navy butterflies – Equipment; peacock feathers – Saint Laurent; Moons – Diane von Furstenberg; green butterflies - Equipment|
For the expert print wearer
These tops will add a lot of zing to an outfit, but are still grounded in neutral colors, so they integrate easily into a well-established core wardrobe.
If you've always been intrigued by pattern mixing, but never been able to manage it with two printed garments, finding a top that includes more than 1 print is a great way to test that idea without a lot of risk.
|Mixed print top – Desigual; navy and white – White Stuff; Border print sleeveless – Oasis; border print cap sleeve- Wallis|
Heart prints! Nothing really outlandish about a heart, but I very seldom see anyone wearing anything at all like this. And man could I have fun with that Alexander McQueen tee shirt...
|Ivory with blue – Dorothy Perkins; white with black shirt – Equipment; Ivory with coral – Dorothy Perkins; bright graphics – Alexander McQueen|
If you look long and hard enough, you'll find that there are prints incorporating all kinds of inanimate objects. You have to be sure that you really LOVE the print, or you run the risk of wearing something that makes you madly uncomfortable. While I could easily wear any of these, I might be more uncomfortable wearing a top with a print of - fire hydrants? Some prints can be almost offensive, if you look closely - shop with care.
|Sleeveless Paris print – Kitsune, faces print – Stella McCartney; Sailboats – Equipment; green apples – Peter Jenseon|
You KNEW you'd see paisley here - I adore paisley. Amazing color combinations can be found in paisley garments; if you're looking for unusual colors pulled together into one fabric, this is a good place to start.
(wouldn't the top from Warehouse, at the top left, be a good way to bring flattering colors nearer your face while still wearing black trousers?)
|Ombre-toned top – Warehouse; pink, black and white top – Oasis; green paisley – Oasis; placed pattern - Warehouse|
And for the truly outgoing among us (raise my hand!) there are gorgeous geometric patterns around. Comme des Garcons is know for this kind of thing - although they're definitely "investment-grade" purchases.
But really, that blue top isn't terribly brash, is it?
|Triangles blouse – Fausto Puglisi; circles tee – Comme des Garcons; Sheer blouse – Comme des Garcons; blue tunic – Diane von Furstenberg|
I'm a big fan of texture, so I don't wear a lot of prints, beyond stripes. But I'm willing to keep an open mind, and an open closet door!
Do you wear prints? Any particular kinds?
p.s. - If you are looking for more color inspiration, check out the Vivienne Files Images and Color Schemes document in the Planning Documents section of the website.
p.p.s. Serious question: Do you want/need me to write anything about the Nordstrom Pre-Season sale? Some of you have mentioned it to me. I don't usually address it, because I don't really like to push you into purchases just because something's marked down. (and yes, I give up quite a bit of income by ignoring this sale). But if you feel that you'd like my guidance in finding gems among the masses of sale merchandise, I could certainly do that for you!