how to wear bold prints Looking to learn how to wear prints?  Bold prints are one of the hottest trends for summer.  However, many women admit that they don’t know how to wear prints simply because they aren’t confident they are choosing what’s best for them.  While prints can be a very personal choice (almost like choosing artwork for your body), there are some clear rules you can follow to know which if you should or shouldn’t wear bold prints.  All you have to do is take a look in the mirror and determine this.

Let’s start with some basic principles about how to wear prints

Print Intensity – Combining two colors together in a print creates a contrast between those two colors.  For example, if those two colors are extreme opposites (like black and white) you have created a high amount contrast, which gives the print a high level of intensity.  If, however, the color combinations found in the print are closer in relationship to each other (a combination of soft pastels, for example) you have created a low amount of contrast between the colors and that combination has a low level of intensity.

Here is an example of a high intensity print:

how to wear prints

Black and White Bold Contrasting Print (Milly)

You can see that when you put black and white together, it creates a bold, optic color combination with a lot of intensity.

This is an example of a low intensity print:

how to wear prints

Low Intensity Soft Print (Marc Jacobs)

When combined, all of these softer colors create more subtle amounts of contrast, therefore making the level of intensity quite low.

Personal Color Intensity

Just like color combinations in prints have an intensity level, so does your own personal coloring.  Intensity levels vary from person to person, and can be high, low, or somewhere in between, which would be referred to as medium.  Your own level is determined by the relationship of contrast between your hair, skin and eyes.

When learning how to wear prints, it is important to consider your own personal intensity level as you’ll always look best when your personal intensity matches the intensity in the prints you choose.

Let’s take a look at examples of some celebrities along with what type of print would be best suited for them based on their coloring.

High Intensity:

How to wear prints

Dita Von Teese, Cher and Lucy Liu all have fair skin with very dark eyes and hair that creates a high amount of contrast between these three features.

If your coloring is similar to these women, you will look great in  prints that have a high contrasting boldness and matches your high contrast coloring.

Medium Intensity:

All of these actresses are examples of medium intensity coloring. Jessica Alba’s hair and skin are practically the same shade but her darker eyes offer a bit of contrast to her coloring.  Marcia Cross’ fair skin and eyes are both light, but her medium auburn hair color creates a medium amount of contrast to her overall intensity.  Amanda Peet has light skin and light eyes but, in her case, it is her darker hair in the photo that creates the medium amount of contrast.

How to Wear Prints

If your coloring is of medium intensity like these three actresses, the best option is prints that aren’t too bold but aren’t too washed out at the same time.

How to Wear Prints

Low Intensity:

These softly colored lovelies, Alek Wek, Nicole Kidman and Jenny McCarthy, have a very low intensity coloring because the relationship between their hair, skin and eyes is so close.

How to Wear Prints

If your coloring is like this, the best prints  are color combinations that are very soft and subtle.

How to Wear Prints

So should you or shouldn’t you wear bold prints this summer?  Well, it all depends on how bold your are…coloring-wise, that is.

For more information on this topic, you can check out my book Style Rx: Dressing the Body You Have to Create the Body You Want.