Style Desk: How to wear bold prints

Style editors Deborah Fulsang and Tiyana Grulovic say good-bye to mono-colour and hello to floral, nautical and safari prints

Every month, get the inside scoop straight from Chatelaine senior style editor Deborah Fulsang and assistant style editor Tiyana Grulovic.

On 4/25/08 10:13 AM, “Tiyana Grulovic” wrote:
I’ve been itching to ditch my blah winter wardrobe in favour of some spunk and colour. I’m wearing a floral ruffled dress with a jacket today despite the overcast weather; it’s my attempt to bring back the sunshine. Blooms are everywhere this spring, from fashion to home décor. H&M recently launched a tribute collection to Finnish fashion company Marimekko using a wild array of their bold, bright, stylized flower prints. I’ve got my eye on a full, high-waisted skirt from the line that I’ll be pairing with a plain black tee and my new moccasin sandals.

What about you, Deb? What can’t you wait to slip into this season?

On 4/25/08 10:16 AM, “Deborah Fulsang” wrote:
I am a flower addict, whether in a vase or my closet. French Connection and Reitmans have a variety of full cotton skirts in cheerful flower prints that I’d team with a crisp white shirt or a close-fitting T-shirt. ­And Banana Republic has long, silk halter dresses with large-scale flower prints that I love. One in a mix of blues and greens is on the top of my shopping list. I want to wear it the first time we have friends over for a backyard dinner party.

As much as I like flowers, I’m still smitten with this season’s nautical trend and all of its fresh stripes in navy, sunshine-yellow, red or Kelly green and white. My favourite nautical look is a pair of full-leg linen trousers from Roots or Tristan worn with a French sailor-style horizontal striped T-shirt. Joe Fresh has irresistible ones for under $20 each. (I might have to pick up one in every colour.)

The flip side of the tailored, nautical trend is wild safari and all of the animal prints that go along with it. I’m a sucker for zebra and leopard prints, and great giraffe prints are popping up this summer, too. I think everyone should use caution there, though. One shot of animal print makes your beige items beautiful, too much and it’s a trend gone horribly wrong.

So Tiyana, are you in the animal-lover camp or not?

On 4/25/08 10:21 AM, “Tiyana Grulovic” wrote:
My Eastern European background demands a love for all things leopard print. Although my good taste only allows it in small doses. I love a hit in scarves or stacked bangles. If you’re going animal print on one piece (be it a dress, skirt or blouse), it looks best in a simple colour palette. Michael Michael Kors has a short little sheath in black and white zebra that’s amazing ­and would look good for years to come. I’d accessorize it with clean black and white pieces.

What about colour? Everyone always wants to know what’s hot for the season, how do you wear this year’s bright hues?

On 4/25/08 10:25 AM, “Deborah Fulsang” wrote:
I think you hit it on the head with the small doses idea. It takes a woman with some serious style to mix bright colours in one outfit. ­It can work, but the danger is that everyone will be overwhelmed by your outfit and not notice the woman inside it.

For most of us, one great bold colour per outfit is the way to go. Mix it with a neutral: for example, a fuchsia top sparks up chinos or navy trousers; a bright yellow dress requires skin-tone hued shoes and bag. If you adore colour and want to mix it, my advice is to stick with shades of similar value. Fuchsia with bright orange works; ­the legendary French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent mixed pink, orange and red to prove it. But then again, fashion is sometimes most fun when the rules are broken.

On 4/25/08 10:29 AM, “Tiyana Grulovic” wrote:
I agree. Just like mixing prints, mixing colours is Advanced Fashion. If you’re loving the colour, but afraid it won’t last into fall when colour tends to be more somber, stick with blues and greens. Bright blues, as opposed to pastels, can be mixed in with your basic black and grey come winter. Ditto the emerald and Kelly greens we’re seeing this season. Pair a dress or tunic with wool pants when the cold weather hits, and get more mileage out of your wardrobe.