A beginner’s guide to wearing bold prints

spring's happiest prints

There’s something about spring that calls for fun and whimsy.

When nature begins to shake off the frost and bloom in brilliant color, I find myself reaching for vibrance too. And I’m not just talking about spring florals! Lately, bold prints of all varieties have been calling my name. Have you felt the urge too? I’m not usually a big print person, but I loved this dress the minute I saw it. The birds made me smile. It was elegant-looking, yet cheap (just $20). However, I wondered… Could I could pull this bold print off? Was it too over the top? Those doubts didn’t last long.

There is a recipe to making loud patterns work!

If you’re ready to spice up your home decor or closet with a dose of spring pizzazz, here’s a quick guide on how to style bold prints, plus a round-up of my favorite Amazon finds of the season. I realize I’ve been writing about fashion quite a bit lately, so for those of you who love the decor/travel posts… Rest assured, I’ve got some fun stuff in the pipeline, including a look at how we transformed the exterior of our 1912 home and tidbits about our next family adventure (we’ll be living in Tuscany for a few months to teach a study abroad course). But, back to the topic at hand.

How to style bold prints

Funky, loud patterns can easily drift into “over the top” territory. However, when used in moderation, they can look super chic. Art principles really come into play and can help you balance your image and silhouette. So, let’s dig into a few rules of thumb to get you started:

Choose a classic silhouette: Artists will tell you a masterpiece has just one focal point. Fashion is similar. If the pattern of your dress is bold, let the print steal the show. A classic cut or silhouette will prevent your artistic look from veering into costume-ish territory. For instance, the pattern of this dress is unique, but the cut is timeless and sophisticated. Reminds me of Old Hollywood!

how to style bold printsBird Print Dress ($20!) | Bow Pumps | Clutch (similar)

Opt for minimal accessories: If you’ve got an aviary on your chest, you don’t need much else! But jokes aside, if you are donning a loud pattern, it helps to keep your accessories simple and classic. When outfit elements fight for attention, you tend to get lost in the shuffle. Consequently, I styled this with subtle, nude accessories (a gold bow pump & clutch) to create a more stream-lined look.

bold prints

Add denim, a jacket or a cardigan: If you’ve found a print you’d love to try, but are a little hesitant… Just add denim or another layering piece! It easily dials down the intensity of an outfit and makes it appear more casual and laid back. For example, you can toss a denim jacket over an elegant dress for a street style vibe. Another option is a pair of jeans with a dramatic, boldly printed top. A simple cardigan in a coordinating color will also take some of the oomph out of bold prints. As a result, you will look polished without appearing like you are trying too hard.

bold prints

Start small & build up: Not ready to go all-out with a dress in a bold print? That’s okay – and totally normal. You can bring bold prints into your life with a bag, a head band, even a shoe. It’s a great way to test the boldly printed waters.

Dress Details:

At $20, this dress is one of those rare Amazon bargains that really knocked my socks off. The material looks expensive, the seaming/detailing is top notch and the retro silhouette is quite figure-flattering. It runs a bit large, so read the size guidelines closely. Also comes in a bold black/white floral print. Would be perfect for a wedding or tucked under a sweater/blazer for creative work places.


Now, as promised, here are a few other Amazon pieces you’ll find are totally worth the money!

This peplum-style dress is a stunner for work and just $30 (in this particular color). It also comes in short-sleeve variations and other shades. The waistline-detailing really makes a bold statement and the fabric is good quality, nice and thick with a touch of stretch. For my news pals, this style is on-camera gold! I also love the cap sleeve red and white version.

Pom-poms… enough said! I mean, seriously, how fun is this number? It’s an easy-breezy vacation/summer dress, $22 and a great cut for petite ladies. I’m around 5′ and it hits me right at the knee level. The material is linen-like, but not sheer, as it has a second layer in the skirt.

At $20, this navy cocktail dress presents an especially polished picture. The fabric has a wonderful stretch content and the cut/color are very flattering. Also comes in black and burgundy. Runs quite small, so be sure to size up. For instance, I ordered the Medium and typiclly wear an XS or S.

Still can’t believe you can find a suit of this quality on Amazon for under $25! Excuse the awkward mirror selfie, but this pom pom bikini impressed me so much I just had to share it with you. (Sadly, we are light years away from beach weather here in Indiana! So, this is the best image we can get – lol!)

This suit is well-constructed, has super cute detailing and the high-waist style offers nice coverage for those of us who feel a bit over exposed in traditional bikinis. Fit is fairly TTS. However, I thought the top ran a bit small. If you are curvy up top, you might want to size up. This one is so awesome, I own it in 3 colors. You can snag the red and white striped version for just $9.99!



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