Choosing Flattering Prints … Using Your Color Fan

Prints are at the center of many women’s wardrobes. If you have a Color Fan or other professional color advice you have a big head start on making optimal choices. There are several ways to use your swatches to check the potential flattery of a print you’re considering, whether you’re shopping for a garment or for fabric yardage to sew it yourself.

#1 – Compare your total Color Fan to the print.  Is the overall effect of the print about as warm or cool and about as bright or subdued as your total Fan?  Does the print have about as much light:dark or bright:dark contrast as you fan has?  If so it may just be a great choice for you.  You can see that balance in the picture below.color fan match1

#2 – Look through your Fan and see if you can locate strips that are similar to all the dominant colors in the print.  See how the warm reds, copper tones, ruck greens and various teal-y blues of the print are all found in the client’s fan below?

color fan match 3

#3 – Most quality color systems will include strips of color that represent the actual colors of your skin, hair, eyes and natural body red.  Fan out those strips and compare them to the print.  You aren’t necessarily looking for all those colors to show up within the print – that could get awfully limiting.  But you want the print to harmonize – or at the very least, not to clash – with the elements of your own coloring…

color fan match 2

So here is the client whose Color Fan blended so nicely with the sample print. Don’t you agree that it would be a lovely choice for her?

amy collage

About Nancy Nix Rice

I help other women feel confident about how they look every day - regardless of their age, budget, lifestyle or the size tag in their pants - so they put wardrobe concerns on the back burner and go share their gifts with the world.


  1. Elaine Earnshaw on September 3, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    Hi Nancy, I will soon be able to start my core wardrobe and I’m glad you have a bright navy fabric in a rayon, poly spandex, that complements blondes with blue eyes. I have just received Pamela’s pencil skirt pattern and pant pattern. I also have the pants pattern by McCalls designed by Palmer/Pletch. that you recommended. All I need is an over lay. I may get Pamela’s overlay jacket or something similar. (Do you have any other recommendations). I hope one day you will be down in St. Pete or Sarasota as I would love to meet you and maybe you would be able to recommend my color palette.

  2. Liz Schneider on September 23, 2016 at 1:05 am

    I love the colors of this woman’s fan, what a wonderful way to choose clothing!

    • Nancy Nix Rice on September 23, 2016 at 7:05 am

      It is amazing, isn’t it, how color makes so much difference in the flattery of our choices yet so many people pay almost no attention to it? I think it’s because the old Four Seasons color concept was so limited that people decided the whole realm of color was therefore not valid. I love seeing people come to a new undestanding of it value!

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