How to wear prints and patterns at any age

Print is everywhere this season. Big and bold, bright and cheerful, ditsy and muted, there’s something for everyone. But where to start? Let me guide you through the pattern minefield with my handy tips below. Also, I found a brilliant article in The Independent.

If you think that curtains, cushions and chintz furnishings wear print and pattern well but you wouldn’t dream of donning them yourself, you’re not alone.

So many women prefer to live in a terminal state of simplicity out of fear of looking too young or too frumpy but, believe it or not, bold prints are more wearable than you think.

Prints are one of those cyclical trends that never really goes out of style, but hearing that they are all over this season’s garb can strike fear in the sartorial hearts of those of us who are reminded of our grandmother’s decorative drapes.

move over leopard…

Snake print blouse

Yes, our love for animal print never seems to tire, does it? This season it’s all about snake print. Its fuzzy pattern and often muted colours makes this a great option for ladies with ‘soft’ colouring. Choose a base colour that complements your skin tone, it doesn’t have to be the usual grey/green/brown offering.

polka dots and spots

Expect to see lots of spots this spring. Remember the iconic brown and cream dress from Pretty Woman? Well, it’s back. We’ve already ‘spotted’ this colourway in bikinis, swimsuits, skirts and tops. A very feminine print that some would say is timeless, so check the back of your wardrobes before you go out and buy new. Spots are very flattering on curvy figures.

scarf print

There’s a new, busier, pattern on the block this season. Say hello to the scarf print. Not for the faint-hearted if worn all over, but great for creative style personalities who will be more than happy to mix with strong colours, textures and other prints. If you fancy print-clashing, make sure there’s some sort of cohesion, such as a common colour that ties the pieces together, or similar sized prints.

If that’s a step too far, you could tie a scarf print twilly around the handles of your handbag – or even your wrist – for a very chic look.


Geometric patterns are ideal for hiding the not-so-perfect bits of our bodies – they are the masters of disguise. Straight body shapes such as rectangles will love this design as it complements their angular body shape but hides the mum-tum. Choose your colours carefully and you will have a winner in your wardrobe for years to come. Those with a strong look such as ‘clear’, ‘cool’ or ‘deep’ colouring will look fabulous in contrasting colours, whilst ‘soft’, ‘warm’ and ‘light’ colour groups will be far more at home in tonal shades.


For the last few years we’ve enjoyed wearing blooms. Say goodbye to the deeper backgrounds as we welcome fresher shades this spring. They can be difficult to pull off, though. It’s really all about scale. Petites may want to avoid huge prints as they can overwhelm a small frame. However, larger figures will pull these off a treat.

Anyone, at any age, can wear pattern. The trick is as simple as not overdoing it.

If you’re new to wearing prints, ease yourself in by updating staple pieces in your wardrobe. Team a patterned midi skirt with a plain T-shirt or a patterned crisp shirt with a pair of wide-leg trousers to the office – this way you get the full impact of wearing something bold without looking like you’ve tried too hard.

Instead, wear your prints with neutral colours to make them feel less intimidating. Or, if you feel like making more of a statement, pick out a colour from your print and carry it through elsewhere in your ensemble.

Alternatively, accessories are a subtle way to include pattern in your wardrobe. From shoes to bags, belts and scarves, a small dose of print will instantly make your look more interesting.

Let me help you find your perfect print or pattern. Shape, scale and style personality are all covered in the style consultations. Click here to find out more.

Best wishes from your image consultant in London and Surrey

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