When I see a printed scarf or blouse, I can’t help counting its colors, noticing flaws, and looking for repeated motifs. I’m not a fussy or obsessive person, really I’m not! It’s just that I once worked as an assistant designer and spent 8 hours a day looking at prints. I helped our designers choose artwork and worked with our fabric manufacturer to print them onto fabric. It was fascinating to see a painting of flowers turn into a pattern on silk. It was even more amazing to see the flowers “come back to life” in a flowing dress. Have you ever taken a close look at the prints you own? Ever wondered how they came to be?
Your printed clothing probably began in an artist’s studio as a small painting or digital design. From that artwork, the artist created a “repeat”, which is a plan it to be printed repeatedly on a roll of fabric, without any gaps. Then the design was passed onto the fabric manufacturer who used silk screens, engraved rollers, or digital methods to transfer the print onto fabric. People often ask me if designer clothes are really worth their price, and explaining how prints are made, helps me illustrate my answer (yes). For example, Hermès creates unique limited edition scarves and uses silk screens to hand print them. Each color they use requires one screen. A scarf that has 50 colors can take 800 hours to create. Affordable brands are often “inspired” by these designs, and create similar looks using less color, less detail, and cheaper fabric. Since it’s very difficult to trademark designs, copycat fashion is more common than you think. So if you’ve ever wondered why a fashionista gives up 5 months of café latte purchases to save up for an Hermès scarf, it’s because the workmanship and quality are truly exquisite.
This spring, there are a few types of prints, I think you should have in your closet. Keep reading, and then come back here when you’re done, to click on the links.
Florals are always abundant in spring collections, and this year is no exception. This year, there are 3 in particular that are “must buys”!
Tiny florals such as this scattered daisy print from J.Crew, or this flutter sleeve dress from Banana Republic are fun to mix and match with other prints. I also love this Rebecca Minkoff ruffled floral dress, perfect for a spring party.
Garden florals on white backgrounds, for example, Tory Burch’s iris print, or Alice and Olivia’s Wildflower print are refreshing during spring and summer. Ann Taylor offers an affordable floral print on white in a bell sleeve blouse.
Florals on dark backgrounds, such as this printed mini dress from Zara, or this wrap dress from Anthropologie, look great for spring with lighter colored accessories. This is my Anthropologie dress that I wear in the fall with black boots and a wool coat, and in the spring with peach and blue accessories.
Use prints to wear colors that you love but don’t usually wear. If you need some tips on how to wear colors that don’t work for your complexion, read my 3 Colors To Buy Before Spring Arrives post. (Hint: prints are one easy method).
Checks and Plaids
We often think of plaid as a fall and holiday print, but this year it is staying around for spring.
Gingham checks are more traditional for spring. I just found this one at J.Crew, on sale, but I also love this tie sleeve one from Banana Republic.
Spring always inspires the French girl style boat-neck stripe t-shirt. This spring, look for the more unusual vertical stripes. There are some fun versions of the basic cotton button down shirt in mixed stripes, wrap styles, asymmetrical cuts, and shirtdresses.
I bought this striped dress from BCBG, last year and can’t wait to wear it again in the spring. There’s a similar blue shirt dress online on sale today.
Which prints will you add to your closet this spring? Comment below, and don’t forget to sign up for e-mails so that you don’t miss my next post.