Those who lived through the fashion perils of the 80s and 90s may have a downright phobia of prints. But after a decade of solids dominating the runways and fashion magazines, “non-print” prints are making a solid comeback. Target was one of the first to jump on the trend with a licensed line of Liberty of London prints from the famous UK retailer’s extensive catalog of prints, which were the hippest floral patterns on the market back in the 1960s. J.Crew has followed suit this season with a similarly licensed line of Liberty of London patterned swimwear in its current catalogs. Leopard has been making a roaring comeback this year across apparel and accessories, driven by hot, high-style items like Prada’s haircalf leopard-print handbags. The rise of patterns in accessories is moving into apparel this season. Still, non-print prints are often the way to go when it comes to a patterned dress.
What is a non-print print? Think of a fabric that is dip dyed in the style of Prada patent leather bags from a few seasons back with a ombre print, or a tie-dye pattern as seen from designers including Michael Kors. Ethnic, batik-style block prints are also ones to watch this season—pop into your local Banana Republic and you will see runway influences interpreted in a series of block-dyed scarves. This tropical ombre-print dress is sure to wow on your Hawaiian honeymoon or at a local bbq.
When it comes to wearing these types of prints in a dress it is essential to follow the rules. Generally, smaller prints flatter petite women, and the taller you are, the bigger and bolder a print you can wear. Same goes for a slender, small-framed woman versus a plus-size beauty; stick with a print that flatters you first and foremost.
Next, keep the color palette in mind; if mustard yellow is not a good color for you as a solid, you can bet that a print featuring the color is not a wise purchase decision. Some ombre prints work figure-enhancing magic, with lighter colors at areas you want to emphasize, darker areas over areas like the hips that you want to draw the eye away from.
Unless you’re model thin, you might not want to wear horizontal stripes. Still the same way zebra stripes and leopard spots work to camouflage animals in the wild can help camouflage figure flaws, while lending a sexy touch to otherwise staid designs. This Tony Bowls design is sure to bring out the animal in your admirers.