I know I’m probably being a bit presumptuous here publishing a look-book that consists mainly of floral, thus very summery, prints: however, I think we’re all in need of a bit of a boost after the recent bout of crappy weather. In an act of fashion rebellion against the thick jumpers and hooded coats that deserve to have stayed in the winter season, this blog post features a collection of outfits that all incorporate bright prints into their design. One of the major things that I noticed when I was rummaging through my wardrobe was the sheer range of printed clothing that I had hanging on the rail- and surprisingly, how a few of these prints actually complemented each other.
So, deep breath, I’ve made the bold decision to suggest the mixing of prints. Yup, you heard me right, print mixing. Before today, I would never have felt confident enough to wear more than one print at a time. However, I now declare myself a convert. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think it’s never a bad thing to dress outside of the box and challenge yourself to wear something that pushes you to be more confident.
When I first plucked these trousers from the sale rail in Topshop, I was a little bit dubious. The bold, autumnal print caught my eye as soon as I stepped into the store, although I wasn’t completely sure if it was for the right reason. However, I can now firmly say that these trousers were £10 well spent. The light-weight fabric is perfect for a summer day, and is very versatile in its ability to be dressed up or dressed down.
Here, I paired them with a black bandeau piece (Primark, £5.00) and a mustard strapless top (Boohoo, £4.99): both tops help complete a look that is sexy yet classy, which could easily be worn to a summer festival or an informal family gathering. Finished off with a simple choker, these outfits can look polished without looking like you’ve tried too hard. Oh, and the main benefit? The trousers are comfy as hell.
Sidenote: Pairing flared trousers with a pair of platforms really elevates the look
Cherry Polka Dot Print Skirt (Collectif, £12.99)
Those who have read my first blog post (‘How to Wear Dungarees without Looking like a Character from a Steinbeck Novel’) will know that I love everything vintage. It’s therefore no surprise that I absolutely had to buy this 50s style pencil skirt when I found it in one of my local vintage haunts. I’ll be honest, it’s certainly not what you would call an ‘everyday’ item, with its bold cherry print, decorative bows, and cinched waist. However, I think this is what makes it so visually appealing. I wore this outfit with a pair of red stilettos to my GCSE certificate evening years back, and despite a few trepidacious looks from some very conservative parents, I received many compliments that really boosted my body confidence.
A floral pencil skirt like this can easily be worn with a corset-belt to emphasise the hourglass illusion that it creates with the figure. You’ll see this belt feature a LOT in the upcoming outfits, so mentally prepare yourself.
I’ll be honest here, I’ve actively avoided wearing floral dresses since I started uni in September, mainly because I felt that my new classmates (not forgetting my module tutors) would think me childish and naive. Believe it or not, I used to wear floral dresses almost every day during my time in Sixth Form, so it brought back a few memories donning these floral beauties again.
Looking through my dress collection made me realise that I shouldn’t care what the people in my seminars and workshops think about how I dress, because you know what? It doesn’t matter! Inject a bit of colour into your summer lookbook with some cute little floral dresses, they definitely don’t disappoint. Worn with a pair of heels, these dresses can easily be made to look sophisticated and mature without making you look like Norman Bates’ mother.
Both dresses featured are Topshop products, each costing between £10-15.00.
In order to inject a bit of youth into the dress, I experimented by pinning up the front and holding it in place with a corset belt: dresses with an asymmetrical length can look very sophisticated whilst still showing a bit of leg
It’s taken me a while to figure out how to wear this playsuit without feeling like a dowdy housewife or a Cath Kidston bag on legs: however, I think I may have finally cracked it.
The solution? A black lace bralette and a black belt. Simple, yet instantly effective. The sweeping neck of the playsuit allows the edges of the bralette to peek through the fabric, creating a look that is playful without becoming overtly sexual. Paired with the black belt, both accessories juxtapose the creamy floral print and give it a far more modern and arguably indie edge.
Final look: Grandma with attitude
I am prepared to debate with anyone who claims that knee-high/thigh-high socks belong only with school uniforms and fancy dress costumes. Yes, they may not be as comfortable or as practical as tights, but they have the potential to make arguably boring dresses and skirts look fun and inviting. They make a very bold statement, meaning that wearing them can prove to be a real test of confidence: however, printed socks look super cute when worn with skater skirts and floaty dresses.
As you can observe in the images below, ditching a cardigan for a crop leather jacket can completely change the vibe of the outfit, giving it a punk edge that is reminiscent of outfits you might see in 80s throwbacks such as The Breakfast Club (always a classic).
On the topic of printed tops, I don’t really think there’s much room for error. A cute little crop top, such as the ones featured in the pictures below, can be worn with pretty much anything, including jeans, shorts, and skirts. During the summer season, I personally prefer to pair them with a long maxi skirt, as this can help create an hourglass figure without the use of a belt. Whilst these print tops would look equally as fashionable with a pair of denim shorts, I feel that wearing them with a longer skirt can create a look that is slightly more sophisticated and appropriate for an evening event (although yes, the slit that features in my skirt is ever so slightly risque).
Sidenote: The maxi skirt featured here is a Primark product, which I decided to ‘alter’ by adding the slit (hence why the lining looks a tad rough around the edges)
Print shorts are perfect for a summer’s day. Providing both comfort and cuteness to any outfit, shorts that pop with their print take the classic denim short one step further. Wearing a little crop top or even a balconette-style bralette alongside a pair of these shorts completes a look that is both playful and very 60s looking.
This is where things start to get a bit more wacky, because I’ve experimented with the mixing of these print shorts and a couple of print tops that you might not necessarily have thrown together. If it offends you visually then I apologize in advance.
Applying the same method with the outfit featured above, I played with the pink tones of one of the ice-cream prints and paired the shorts with a tie-top that consisted of a completely different yet similarly coloured print. To some, this look may horrify, and I agree that it’s perhaps a little challenging to take on. However, I believe that fashion is all about raising bars and breaking limits, and so I definitely wouldn’t discard this outfit in fear of mockery.
Rocking several prints that, on the surface, may appear to clash or resemble a look from Dale Winton’s ‘Supermarket Sweep’, makes a brave statement that will have people envying your fashion-forwardness and wishing that they had the balls to try it themselves.
For the final installment of incorporating print into a summer outfit, I decided to focus on an accessory; the humble scarf. I’ll admit, I haven’t worn a scarf as a fashion accessory for years, as they were getting a bit of a bad rep due to their popularity amongst 90s tribute bands and Kelly Clarkson impersonators. Having said that, I thought it would be a nice tribute to the printed scarf to incorporate it into an outfit without it becoming the defining feature. Gaining inspiration from the Hippie movement of the 1960s, I decided to use the scarf as a loose belt, wrapping it through the waistband of some low-rise jeans that are good to wear during those breezier summer days.
Added bonus? If you start to get a little bit chilly, you can simply untie the scarf from around your waist and wrap it around your neck: no more need to worry about having to drag a scarf around with you if you get too warm and want to give your neck some fresh air.
So that’s it for this post folks, thank you so much for giving it a read. I hope you’ve found some inspiration in here for your summer wardrobe, or at least feel more confident in your ability to rock some printed clothing this year!