There's a reason TV shows dress obnoxious characters in loud prints. Garish graphics on clothing can make the wearer seem unsophisticated. But prints are the party animals of your closet and should be a part of your wardrobe rotation. Without them, sartorial boredom sets in. Here's how to select ones that won't have casting directors eying you to play an overbearing aunt in some goofy sitcom.
- Smaller, tighter prints look better on older women than larger, boisterous prints. "Choose an abstract animal print or a small-to-medium geometric or floral," says Alexandra Becket, who designs textiles for clients such as Anthropologie and St. John Knits.
- Look for prints with a pop of color on a neutral base of brown, gray or black. "This will ensure that the printed blouse or dress will blend nicely with the trousers or jacket you put with it," Becket says. "You don't want your print to take over."
- To minimize your size, choose subtle prints in dark colors. "Prints can flatter shapely women, but you don't want to attract attention to a problem area. So keep the print two-tone."
This weekend, weed through your closet. Any prints that fall into the too-big, too-colorful or too-wild category should be donated to a thrift store. Or cut them up and repurpose the fabric into throw pillows.