Prints are a big direction for Fall fashion. Whether you’re buying garments or sewing your own, finding mountain-top choices in prints can be a huge challenge. Here are some examples of prints that showcase the wearer, and some tips on how to find those perfect prints for yourself.
Regardless of your political affiliation, it’s hard to dispute that the former FLOTUS looks knock-out in this Jason Wu design she chose for welcoming the new Canadian prime minister to the White House.
But even with her obvious figure assets and resources, some of her print choices are less successful.
The definition of a flattering print is that it puts attention on the individual woman and not on the print itself. In the top picture – although the dress is fabulous – your focus still goes right to Michelle’s face. But in the next examples you tend to notice the prints instead, barely focusing on her face at all.
The secret to print selection is to repeat elements about yourself within the design. For Michelle in the Jason Wu, the background color is about as deep and rich as her personal coloring. The print colors echo the level of light:dark contrast level between her skin and hair. And the motif shapes relate to the sweeping lines of her hairstyle.
The pastel squares of the second print are far too pale for her coloring — see how her head appears to be disconnected from the dress on her body? And the purple floral is overly bright, with a too-high contrast level that commands all the attention, overpowering her face.
Here are more examples of prints with “points of connection” to their wearers – these from a class on print selection that I taught for a women’s group.
See how the repetition of hair color, eye color, contrast level, hair shapes and other features puts each woman as the center of attention? In each case, the person and the print just seem to match each another.
Of course you’re not limited to prints that repeat your specific body colors. If you have a Color Fan you can use it as a road map to other successful print color schemes. You can read more about that in this blog post.
One color consultation client came up with this clever trick to simplify the process when you’re buying fabric to sew for yourself … and she shared the pictures to show just how effective her trick can be.
Print yardage often includes a color chart along the selvage with a dot of each dye color that appears in the mix. Celeste used those color dots to compare with the strips from her color fan. That method is especially useful in analyzing monochromatic prints like these.