Every once and a while I get writer’s block, convinced that there just isn’t anything about fashion or style left to write about, that every topic has been covered and the well is dry.  It’s bad enough that many posts take hours to create, so to add additional hours of “What the hell am I going to write about today?” on top of it just sucks.  Eventually, after staring at my computer screen or walking away for a bit I come up with an idea and other times I get an email from a reader that saves me and inspires an idea. Today’s Accessorized 5 Ways is just that, a question from a reader who asked how to style and accessorize prints.  Whew.  Thank you, oh dear reader, for saving me time and frustration!

Here is her question:

 To avoid accessories (or at least convince myself that I need less of them), I usually buy prints (tops and dresses).  I vow to change my ways since these items are usually a little more limiting than all of the different ways a solid can be styled.  Having said that, can you please post a blog sometime on how to style prints?  Should I usually wear gold/silver accessories?  Does size of accessory matter?  Neutral shoes? Any advice welcome!

What a great question.  It’s bad enough that most women fear accessorizing but to add accessorizing prints into the mix definitely adds more stress.  If this is a problem you struggle with, here are some of my tips to help you finish the looks of your favorite prints and patterns using a coral necklace from Blu Bijoux.

Outfit #1- Treating a print like a solid

First, while this reader could definitely default and use gold or silver accessories as fail-safes to finish her outfits easily, she is missing out on easy ways to add some color to her looks.  In this first outfit, using this navy and white dress from Modcloth, I am going to show how dresses that consist of a neutral color and white or ivory can be treated like a solid instead of a print.  Take, for example, a black and white dress.  Doesn’t it look good with red or any other color?  Or this navy and white dress.  Here I treated it like a solid navy and added this coral necklace for a splash.  If you don’t like coral you can add any color you want.

To finish the outfit, I added nude wedges which, to answer the reader’s question, is another safe bet when wearing prints.  However, this dress could also be styled with navy shoes and even coral shoes.  However, I’d probably not because you want balance in an outfit.  Between the coral handbag and necklace, coral shoes would probably be a bit too much.

Outfit #2- To capture colors found in a print

In this outfit, the skirt from Boden has several colors.  A few weeks ago I wrote about how to use multicolored accessories as a road map for color combining in an outfit.  This is the opposite approach where you look to a print to inform your accessory choices.  Here the same coral necklace is used to pick up the coral found in the print and a sage Vince Camuto handbag works with the green shade of the skirt.

Using prints to choose the colors of your accessories is a great strategy, however, it comes with a warning: Just watch how much matching you do to avoid looking too matchy-matchy.  What I mean is, if instead of styling this outfit with nude Same Edelman sandals I could have used turquoise, and instead of this white t-shirt I could have used yellow.  While it all would work together it’s just a bit much.  Use your own discretion and preferences but, often, less is more.

Outfit #3- To pull one color from the print

Another way to accessorize prints is to extract just one color from a print and use it as an accessory color.  In this case the coral necklace works with the coral found in the blouse.  The outfit is finished with simple black capris, metallic sandals and a metallic handbag.  Metallic accessories are also great with prints as a no-brainer option.

Outfit #4- To bring color near your face

If you are wearing prints on the bottom, like with these J. Crew shorts, it is common to wear a solid colored shirt on top.  Another way to accessorize prints is to take a color from the print you are wearing on the bottom and bring it up towards the face.  Most women want to be remembered for them, not what they were wearing and by bringing a color of a print worn on the bottom near the face people will focus more on you.

Chambray shirts are great with prints because they work like jeans work, and jeans match everything.  And, again, to extract some of the colors of the print, I styled this outfit with navy sandals and a coral embroidered cross body bag.

Outfit #5- As a complement to other colors in a print

In this outfit I am accessorizing with a coral necklace but there is no coral to be found anywhere in the outfit.  Risky?  No really.  You don’t always have to have the color of your accessorizes found in the color of your prints, but what helps is when the print colors and accessory colors complement one another.  In this case, the green and blue of the print works with the coral.  Typically, a strategy like this is easiest when the prints are small or ditzy and there aren’t too many different colors found in a print.

To further bring in the coral, I added a wedge in the color and finished the look with a wristlet that matches the colors of the pants.

No doubt, you can always choose to accessorize prints simpler with metallic jewelry and accessories, neutral colored shoes and neutral accessories, like white, wood, and other natural shades.  But, if you want to take a look a farther these accessorizing prints tips should help.